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Whatever Interests Me at the Moment

Talk about things which don't fit elsewhere

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Re: Whatever Interests Me at the Moment

Postby Lawrence on Tue Jul 15, 2014 12:12 am

Well, soccer still has a very long uphill climb to get established as a major sport in the U.S.....but unlike when I was a kid, it is now being played by all kids (at least in my neighborhood). As I kid, I don't think I ever played a game of soccer. In high school, it was only played in the girls' gym class, not the boys. It was considered a girls' sport.

What changed is that during the 1990's it started regularly being played by young kids. I think a major part of this was because it was a better sport for 4 to 6 year olds than any of the tradional American ball sports, as they required skills (and special equipment) that was beyond the real reach of kids that age. Given a field, two goals, and a ball, then 20 ankle-biters could run around for several hours burning off energy. From there, it has now developed into a sport that most elementary aged kids are familiar with and have played. This has not yet to be translated into any major league presence (note the figures from my posts below), but I suspect it will become one over time (will take decades).

Now, in all reality, my only interest in soccer is as a parrallel to how difficult it will be for F1 to be established in the U.S. One race, one team or one successful driver, is not going to begin to do it. It is going to take a long-term marketing effort and presence to get established. Much easier for Bernie just to shake down another mid-Eastern potentate for the cash to run a race.
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Re: Whatever Interests Me at the Moment

Postby Sakae on Tue Jul 15, 2014 7:29 am

Lawrence wrote:Well, soccer still has a very long uphill climb to get established as a major sport in the U.S.....but unlike when I was a kid, it is now being played by all kids (at least in my neighborhood). As I kid, I don't think I ever played a game of soccer. In high school, it was only played in the girls' gym class, not the boys. It was considered a girls' sport.

What changed is that during the 1990's it started regularly being played by young kids. I think a major part of this was because it was a better sport for 4 to 6 year olds than any of the tradional American ball sports, as they required skills (and special equipment) that was beyond the real reach of kids that age. Given a field, two goals, and a ball, then 20 ankle-biters could run around for several hours burning off energy. From there, it has now developed into a sport that most elementary aged kids are familiar with and have played. This has not yet to be translated into any major league presence (note the figures from my posts below), but I suspect it will become one over time (will take decades).

Now, in all reality, my only interest in soccer is as a parrallel to how difficult it will be for F1 to be established in the U.S. One race, one team or one successful driver, is not going to begin to do it. It is going to take a long-term marketing effort and presence to get established. Much easier for Bernie just to shake down another mid-Eastern potentate for the cash to run a race.


Soccer is in foremost a global sport, as opposed to Eurotrash as I heard several times on radio in Toronto, in which both genders can participate, old or young, and it offers boundless opportunity to spend personal time well. That fact of course is too much to absorb for some dwellers of a local village. To participate, passively or actively is a personal choice, as it should be, without dragging politics into it as anti-American movement, not that people haven't try it. What had rather puzzled me that no one asked (that lady) a question in response, are you really insane?
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Re: Whatever Interests Me at the Moment

Postby Lawrence on Tue Jul 15, 2014 4:05 pm

Sakae wrote:To participate, passively or actively is a personal choice, as it should be, without dragging politics into it as anti-American movement, not that people haven't try it. What had rather puzzled me that no one asked (that lady) a question in response, are you really insane?


Well, the reason politics got dragged into is because of the "soccer moms", a political demographic that first became discussed in the mid-1990s (in Colorado first). That demographic group (basically working mothers with young children that they were hauling to soccer games and other sporting events) was a group that conservative republicans were having a hard time reaching. So apparently, Ann Coulter's hatred of everyone who disagrees with her got transferred over to soccer. We shall see if soccer becomes a red state (republican) - blue state (democratic) dividing line. NASCAR sort of did (sort of considered a red state sport).

There are 19 MLS (Major League Soccer) teams in the U.S. right now. Of those 9 are in blue states, 3 are in swing states (Colorado, Pennsylvania and Ohio), 4 are in red states (2 in Texas, 1 in Kansas and 1 in Utah) and 3 are in Canada, so it does not appear that soccer has become part of political dividing lines in the U.S. Outside of Texas, there are no soccer teams in the "south" although some future teams are in work for Florida and Atlanta.
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Re: Whatever Interests Me at the Moment

Postby Sakae on Tue Jul 15, 2014 7:38 pm

On subject of soccer in NA - people were talking about how US needs to dominate the sport, before rest of public will catch on and become interested. My prediction is, that however is not going to happen because competition is huge, yet I am confident that US has enough capacity to be feared during occasional tournament, and also win from time to time major trophy, as it happened in hockey. What future holds regarding soccer in America is not clear, but fight for dough is fierce, and American style football is still main recipient of TV money, and as long congressmen and senators love basketball, football and baseball, soccer then has to wait.
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Re: Whatever Interests Me at the Moment

Postby Lawrence on Tue Jul 15, 2014 8:48 pm

Sakae wrote:On subject of soccer in NA - people were talking about how US needs to dominate the sport, before rest of public will catch on and become interested.


The U.S. does not dominate hockey, yet NHL revenue is more 10 times MLS, and it appears to be growing. It is very popular with kids also. I would not be surprised if it surpasses basketball over the next decade. Furthermore, there are hockey teams in North Carolina, Nashville, two in Florida, one in Texas, etc. So it appears to have broken down all barriers and all boundaries. It was definitely not a game invented or developed in the U.S.

The growth of hockey sort of defies a lot of the arguments people like make as to why soccer is not popular here, which are kind of the same arguments people like to make as to why Formula one is not popular here.


....and as long congressmen and senators love basketball, football and baseball, soccer then has to wait.


??? You think they really have any say in the subject? If so, how?
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Re: Whatever Interests Me at the Moment

Postby Balue on Tue Jul 15, 2014 10:34 pm

I guess a topic for its own thread, but briefly, why do you think F1 is not so popular in USA?
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Re: Whatever Interests Me at the Moment

Postby Sakae on Wed Jul 16, 2014 2:39 am

Hockey became popular in US after national team rose to prominence in Olympics, various Global tournaments, and of course NHL. That however applies again only to certain parts of the country. The league expansion, be it successful or failed, created a lot of not well hidden friction with Canadians, who were mad for not getting a team or two in their cities, whereas desert cities in US were entertained, regardless whether there was or wasn't interest in the game. There is a lot of local politics involved, as money are to be made in concessions and rental agreements.
F1 on the other hand is unique how it is represented, and for normal Joe (like me) is hard to understand its selling strategy. It comes to town once a year, makes a lot of noise (this year of course less) in one location, doesn't have any hometown driver or a team of its own ilk to cheer for, and then leaves again to be forgotten for next 51 weeks. I think interest is there, because seats are sold, but again it is very fragmented audience (country is huge after all) and members of the club get together only once a year, thus it creates illusion of disinterest. NASCAR on the other hand has its own TV outlets and shows on regular basis, and there are people who live on it. I would vote for something between those two extremes, as too much of the goods stuff gets boring after a while as well.
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Re: Whatever Interests Me at the Moment

Postby Lawrence on Wed Jul 16, 2014 4:30 am

Hockey has done a very good job of expanding out of its traditional base. From 1942 to 1967, professional hockey consisted of only six teams. It is currently 30 teams, mostly U.S based. Don't know enough about the expansion to say why it was able to get so established in the U.S., but I think it was a whole lot more than just the "Miracle on Ice". Basically I woke up one day in the 1990s and discovered a lot of my friends were following hockey, and for the life of me, I did not know why.

F1 on the other hand is unique how it is represented, and for normal Joe (like me) is hard to understand its selling strategy. It comes to town once a year, makes a lot of noise (this year of course less) in one location, doesn't have any hometown driver or a team of its own ilk to cheer for, and then leaves again to be forgotten for next 51 weeks. I think interest is there, because seats are sold, but again it is very fragmented audience (country is huge after all) and members of the club get together only once a year, thus it creates illusion of disinterest.


Yep, nice summery of the problem. They really don't have a selling strategy. A lot of the Americans I meet when I go to Montreal used to regulars at either Watkins Glen or Long Beach. So, F1 had built up a core following in the U.S., and then pissed it away (and we can thank Bernie for Long Beach switching to CART).

NASCAR on the other hand has its own TV outlets and shows on regular basis, and there are people who live on it. I would vote for something between those two extremes, as too much of the goods stuff gets boring after a while as well.


Well, I think I have suggested before that for F1 to establish themselves in the U.S. they need to place about four GPs here, and in the right markets (not whatever city council in the desert is willing to pay). I would argue for Long Beach (LA), Watkins Glen or New York City area, Miami, and one other spot (we shall see how Texas does). I think multiple spots are needed to generate enough interest to actually establish the sport. Of course, Bernie will also have to make less money, as the U.S. is not going to pay his exhorbanent fees. So this would require some long-term planning to acheive some long-term growth for the sport, but I think that is going to be hard for a 83-year old guy who primary goal this year is to stay out of jail.
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Re: Whatever Interests Me at the Moment

Postby Sakae on Wed Jul 16, 2014 1:13 pm

Four races in US you say (that would be five in NA)? Just from curiosity - as addition to current calendar, or in lieu of existing ones, and which races you suggest should be dropped?
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Re: Whatever Interests Me at the Moment

Postby Lawrence on Wed Jul 16, 2014 3:23 pm

Sakae wrote:Four races in US you say (that would be five in NA)? Just from curiosity - as addition to current calendar, or in lieu of existing ones, and which races you suggest should be dropped?


Well, does formula one really have a market in the mid-east, besides the very well-to-do shieks? They keep talking about the need to expand into new markets like Russia, China and India. Is Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia really part of their market? It that area such a significant market that they would rather be there then in the one country that makes up over 20% of the world economy and is the same size economy as the entire European Union?

Oddly enough the demand for formula one races is such that they appears to be able to continue to expanding the schedule. I have wondered if it would not work to break the series into a group of regional championships (Europe, North America, South America, Asia, etc.) that culminate to a world championship among the best teams from each regional championship. Sort of a two-part series. Right now, they are starting to bump into the limits of the number of races they can hold in one championship.
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Re: Whatever Interests Me at the Moment

Postby Sakae on Wed Jul 16, 2014 5:57 pm

Europe has now nine races, and should retain nine, if not ten races, for I would consider EU where F1's traditional customer base is. EU matches in size of economy US (depends who is counting), and undisputedly exceeds US in population, so that is not a very good yardstick for deciding such matters. With the exception of Japan, otherwise I don't actually care where they wish to go, but I have nothing against drawing in Arabic speaking nations. There is nothing wrong with that. (There is some debate going on about it, but for simplicity sake I am not considering Turkey as EU; at least not yet).

I think manufacturers will want to stay in China, Japan, India, and Brazil, so yes, three races on NA continent sounds reasonable to me.

Let us see here:
> I would drop Hungary
> Add France
> Consider rotation in one or two cases.

1. Spain - regular or on rotation with France
2. Monaco - regular
3. Austria - regular
4. Great Britain - regular
5. Germany - regular
6. No to Hungary
7. Belgium - regular
8. Italy - regular
9. Russia - TBC, but possibly regular
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