The MLS Live Blackout Black Eye

Blackouts, don’t you hate them? Look at the above image of the MLS Live playoff schedule. Blackouts pepper the screen. I’ve been trying to figure out the MLS algorithm for them. As a longtime NFL fan, most local games were (and are) blacked out on TV if the stadium failed to sell out for home games. For MLS, the formula seems to be: if a local cable network shows the game, then it gets blacked out on DirecTV and MLS Live. If NBC Sports Network shows the game, then an entire country gets the shaft. If ESPN shows a game, then there’s no MLS Live option.

Why? Well, in short, because MLS wants to get on the Cable TV gravy train while it can. However, there are a few problems. Continue reading “The MLS Live Blackout Black Eye” »

The Crumbling, Decling Empire Clasico Recap Edition

During last Saturday’s clasico, my twitter feed was curiously silent. Was I in shock after the first half? Was I silently exuberant during the second? No and no. I was driving across Houston to my son’s game and then at a Halloween gathering. Thanks to Dishworld and BeIN Sports, I could watch the game later. Thus, I carefully avoided the excellent Guardian cellphone app, Facebook, Twitter, and incoming text messages and WhatsApp messages from the known entities.

Miraculously, I watched the game at midnight Saturday night and still didn’t know the score. However, the storyline and start were predictable. Continue reading “The Crumbling, Decling Empire Clasico Recap Edition” »

Cool Carlo and the Non-Clasico Clasico

The furling eyebrow. The non-abrasive press conferences. The jovial laugh. Carlo Ancelotti is definitively not Jose Mourinho. Thanks in large part to signings, he’s re-made the Real Madrid roster into an attacking 4-3-3 with little regard for, say, defending. Gone is the counter-attacking 4-2-3-1, the crossfield switches of Xabi Alonso, the darting runs of Di Maria, the lackadaisical drifting of Ozil.

Also gone, perhaps for the better, is the animosity for FC Barcelona. Continue reading “Cool Carlo and the Non-Clasico Clasico” »

A Look at Some Badge-Kissing Bandits Who Broke Your Heart

It’s easy to view modern footballers as soulless mercenaries, to assume they feel no emotion whatsoever for a club or the fans. But we don’t really know any and all footballers. What if they just crush a lot? What if they are merely Don Juans, men with feelings who just happen to fall head over heels for the newest club and immediately forget the prior one? That may cheapen their prior feelings, but it doesn’t deny they existed.

Thus, in that respect, I’ve penned a look at some bandits with the nerve to kiss our badge and then never look back. Continue reading “A Look at Some Badge-Kissing Bandits Who Broke Your Heart” »

More Reflections on the Galacticos 3.0

Being a Real Madrid fan means winning trophies, spending money on big signings, and winning even more trophies. You also get lots of shit when the expensively assembled team doesn’t win, but, hey, comes with the territory. What being a Real Madrid fan never meant before was this: selling key players in the prime of their career.

So what has happened these past two summers? Continue reading “More Reflections on the Galacticos 3.0” »

Yet Another Shameless Author Plug: eBook Rental Edition

Up until recently, my two eBooks, An Illustrated Guide to Soccer & Spanish and Real Madrid & Barcelona: the Making of a Rivalry, were only available for purchase on major retailers Amazon, iTunes, and Barnes & Noble. However, given the emergence of two eBook “Netflix” style services, that’s all changed.

Here’s the details. Continue reading “Yet Another Shameless Author Plug: eBook Rental Edition” »

Some Quick Tips for Soccer Stadium Etiquette

After decades of darkness, soccer has grabbed a solid foothold in the US. In recent times, more and more fans have grown enamored of the beautiful game. However, many have only seen the game on TV. They have questions about what to do and what not to do when going to games. Some harbor preconceived stereotypes and prejudices. Some are just worry-warts.

Luckily, as a fan who has seen games on four different continents, I’ve got two very easy rules to follow. Continue reading “Some Quick Tips for Soccer Stadium Etiquette” »

The Third Party Ownership Double Standard

This past weekend, the Brazilian national team beat Argentina 2-0 in a friendly in Beijing. With players based in Europe and South America, why on Earth did they travel so far to play one another? After all, the two countries are neighbors on the same continent. The simple answer is, of course, money. The more complicated answer lies in the CBA’s recent dealings.

Reuters (Andrew Downie to be exact) had an excellent article in 2012 about the CBF (Brazilian Federation) and its decision to sell friendly rights to ISE, a sports business corporation. Based on the terms of the deal, the CBF got a guaranteed payment of about two million per game. A fixed payment with no worries about gates – sweet deal, right? The devil is in the details, though. ISE got the right to pick the opponent and the venue.

And this business model, third party playing rights for national team friendlies, is even more worrisome than for individuals. Continue reading “The Third Party Ownership Double Standard” »

You Will Once Again Find My Writing Elsewhere…

Dearest reader,

You shall once again find my writing far from home – the lovely soccer TV show Soccer Gods (Mondays at 10 on the Fusion channel) has a corresponding site which has graciously agreed to host my slightly edited brainfarts on Mexican soccer. This is a regular thing. No, we’re not married – but we’re very canny about our Facebook relationship status. I’m also not reciprocating your pokes or your 2am “DTC” messages. Don’t be jealous. Just read these gems. Continue reading “You Will Once Again Find My Writing Elsewhere…” »