The Ship Be Sinking

Mouth Almighty

And one last thing about the Confederations Cup…

Seriously, can we declare a fucking moratorium forever on the endless bickering back and forth of “OMGZ sawker iz goings to catch on likes the NFL!!!one!” and “ZOMG sawker will never be populars in the USA!”. It’s beyond mindless, and both sides are like a shorthanded basketball team – they’re missing the point.

On one hand, you have the old sportswriter guard who insists that it’ll never make any kind of impact at all. To them, I invite them to look on message boards or go to one of the many pubs showing a game on Saturday afternoons. Sure, if you only factor in MLS, the sport is solidly behind 5th placed-ice hockey in the American sports pecking order (assuming it goes: NFL, NASCAR, NBA, MLB and then NHL in that order). But, I would argue that even with the minor revitalization of the NHL this past season, soccer would eclipse it comfortably if you include consumption of the main European leagues and the ex-pats folllowing the action in Latin America.

Meanwhile, to the ones insisting that soccer will someday possess the one ring to rule them all…well, that’s just the kind of institutional lunacy that barely requires a rebuttal.

It’s amazing to me how the discussion of soccer’s place in this country (as told through the lens of most of the MSM) is either “Can soccer be the number one sport in the country”, or “You soccer fans are all idiots for thinking it can be the number one sport in the country”. THERE’S 300 FUCKING MILLION FUCKING PEOPLE HERE, YOU DICKS! All sorts of niche sports survive and thrive here – indoor lacrosse, pro wrestling (not a sport, but it definitely has a hardcore audience), tractor pulls, rodeo, arena football, bowling, and on and on and on and on. Why can’t everyone just accept that soccer is casually followed by (x) amount of the populace and has a hardcore base of (y) of the populace, and leave it at that?

Why is it that a sport only matters if it’s the most-followed sport in the country? If 10,000 people are willing to pay to get in the door to watch something and if another 700,000 or so watch it on TV, then it matters to that 710,000 people. Why is this so difficult to comprehend? You can’t please all of the people all the time, and if the PTI crowd and the Jim Rome crowd and the whatever-else crowd don’t care about soccer, WHO FUCKING CARES? It’s at the level it’s at, and considering what earlier eras were like, that is still a positive achievement!

In closing, I leave you with Jim Cornette’s explanation of the four types of wrestling audiences. Substitute soccer for wrestling, and it’s the same idea!!!

The First Group: “There are this many people who come to see anything in a wrestling ring. They’re going to come to see anybody in boots and tights in a wrestling ring no matter what. They’re hardcore. They are on the internet. They want to come because either they can’t get enough wrestling or they want to bitch and complain about something and say how they could do it better.”

The Second Group: “This crowd likes good wrestling. Not old wrestling, not new wrestling, just good wrestling. There’s two kinds of wrestling: good wrestling and bad wrestling. I don’t care who presents it or what it is, that’s this crowd, that’s the second crowd. They want to see good wrestling and if you present a good product for an extended period of time to where it gets the point across, they will come to see you.

The Third Group: This crowd comes to see the star, comes to the see the big event. The Rock, The Steve Austin. Either somebody really gets hot like Hulk Hogan two decades ago or The Rock and Austin in the late 90’s or whatever. Or Wrestlemania is hot. That’s the crowd where no matter what you do they aren’t going to come all the time, and they’re not going to watch every week, but they know it is around. That’s the third group, the people who will come for the big shows or the big stars.

Everybody else in the world is in the fourth group. They don’t give two flying fucks. You could put a flying elephant in the ring, they don’t give a shit because it’s wrestling and they don’t want to see it. They want to see ballet, fly fishing and I don’t give a shit what else. You ain’t going to get them.

So you’ve always got these people [group one] right. And I’m not saying you should shit on them because they are your ticket purchasing patrons, but you have always got these people. If you’ve got a good product, you’ve got group number two so concentrate on that. There’s really no way that you control group number three because how do you just say ‘Ok, this guy is going to be the next Rock. Or the next Steve Austin or Hulk Hogan’. You can’t do that, they’ve got to come along. That’s when you get the really big house, record gates, whatever.

And the fourth group, who gives a flying fuck what you people want to see, if you people are going to god damn ballet, fuck you! Because we’re doing wrestling. And the people who try to say ‘Well, we’re going to give people who don’t like wrestling something to watch’. They’ve got something to watch, it’s on all the other fucking stations while your program is on you dumb son of a bitch! So why do you do shit that’s not related in any way to wrestling on a wrestling program. They don’t stop Saturday Night Live to have Curt Gowdy give the god damn Olympic freestyle skating report. The people watching Saturday Night Live don’t give two flying fucks about the god damn Olympic freestyle skating. So WHY DO IT is all I am saying?

You’ve got group one. If you’re good you get group two. When you’re lucky you get group three, and the rest of them it don’t make a fucking difference because they’re not coming anyway.”

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July 1, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. ESPN did a study about the sports landscape, and they had some surprising (at least to me) results which I heard on the radio recently:

    1. NFL
    2. College football/Baseball (almost a dead heat)
    4. Golf (this one surprised me, but it makes a lot of sense.)
    5. NASCAR
    6. NBA
    7. NHL

    Soccer is never going to break in there (well, OK, unless Gary Bettman lives forever) even if we win 7 World Cups in a row. And soccer fans have to accept that. Many do, but some don’t.

    But I do think soccer is less DIS-liked among the younger set in America. There’s a lot less knee-jerk reaction. I think if we hosted a WC here again, there’d be some legit excitement in your third group. Especially among our generation and younger.

    All I know is that when I went to work after the Brazil game, several people mentioned that they watched it, and for me, that had never, EVER happened before with people who didn’t previously identify themselves as soccer fans.

    Comment by TK | July 5, 2009 | Reply


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