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Could U.S. Soccer Eclipse Basketball and Hockey? $200M Adidas Pact Suggests Yes
CBS News ^ | September 2, 2010 | Jim Edwards

Posted on 05/04/2012 6:46:20 PM PDT by MinorityRepublican

Adidas (ADS.DE)'s $200 million sponsorship deal with Major League Soccer shows that the apparelmaker has noticed sports marketing's best-kept secret: U.S. soccer's audience is threatening to eclipse that of the National Hockey League and the NBA. The crucial thing to note in the new deal is that the $200 million pact is worth $25 million per year through 2018. It replaces, mid-contract, a 10-year deal for $150 million, or $15 million a year -- a 66 percent increase in annual value.

Why would Adidas make this expensive move? Consider: The MLS isn't broadcast to a large audience on TV (you have to pay for Fox Soccer Channel to see many of the games). The mainstream press's coverage of U.S. soccer is patchy at best and actively disinterested at worst (this means you, New York Times). And there's a cultural consensus that soccer just isn't important in America (ask any football or baseball fan).

Under that radar, however, the game that ought to be called American football is growing like mold. Here are some recent average attendance stats for the major American sports:

NFL - 67,508.69 (2009 season) MLB - 30,213.37 (2009 season) MLS - 18,452.14 (2010 season, as of 04/11/2010) NBA - 17,149.61 (2009/10 season) NHL - 16,985.31 (2009/10 season) Obviously, there's a caveat here: basketball and hockey teams play a lot more than once a week, so their total attendances are a lot greater.

(Excerpt) Read more at cbsnews.com ...


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1 posted on 05/04/2012 6:46:25 PM PDT by MinorityRepublican
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To: MinorityRepublican

Real soccer fans are more interested in the EPL and the big Euro Leagues than the MLS.....watching the MLS is like watching a Single-A baseball game.


2 posted on 05/04/2012 6:48:56 PM PDT by dfwgator (Don't wake up in a roadside ditch. Get rid of Romney.)
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To: MinorityRepublican

I don’t think it would be hard to eclipse hockey. I think dodge ball could do that.

As far as basketball? I don’t think I’d like to see that happen. At least with basketball the total number of thugs is pretty much limited to those on the court. In soccer you could have 25 or 30 thousand of them in the stands.


3 posted on 05/04/2012 6:49:50 PM PDT by mark3681
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To: dfwgator

Yep. A bunch of my friends are rabid fans of Real Madrid lol


4 posted on 05/04/2012 6:53:40 PM PDT by MinorityRepublican
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To: MinorityRepublican

BWAAAAA! I played soccer in high school. It’s fun to play, but boring as hell to watch. I was lazy, so I chose to play goalie. Man! was that a mistake! I got the cr@p kicked outa me! But at least I wasn’t running up and down the field like a maniac,


5 posted on 05/04/2012 6:56:10 PM PDT by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra ( Ya can't pick up a turd by the clean end!)
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The only sport more boring than basketball is soccer. Fatal injuries in soccer can be caused by a feather dropping on someones head from a pigeon.

I am convinced that most goals scored are pure luck.


6 posted on 05/04/2012 6:56:52 PM PDT by dsrtsage (One half of all people have below average IQ. In the US the number is 54%)
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To: MinorityRepublican

More cash flow won’t do a thing to make soccer sensible.


7 posted on 05/04/2012 6:59:24 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: MinorityRepublican

Is the NBA about to fold? I believe that is what it would take.


8 posted on 05/04/2012 7:00:02 PM PDT by Ingtar ("As the light begins to fade in the city on the hill")
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To: dsrtsage
Fatal injuries in soccer can be caused by a feather dropping on someones head from a pigeon.

Huh?

9 posted on 05/04/2012 7:01:21 PM PDT by dfwgator (Don't wake up in a roadside ditch. Get rid of Romney.)
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To: dsrtsage

Is soccer boring? Never heard that before.


10 posted on 05/04/2012 7:02:21 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Let us prey!)
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To: dfwgator
Real soccer fans are more interested in the EPL and the big Euro Leagues than the MLS.....watching the MLS is like watching a Single-A baseball game.

By comparison, sure. But as a youth coach, there's something I can learn from watching all of them.

11 posted on 05/04/2012 7:04:11 PM PDT by Colonel_Flagg (Obama vs. Romney: Zero x Zero = Zero.)
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To: MinorityRepublican

This article makes it sound like $200 million is some huge investment in professional sports. Heck, Nike probably has paid one single retired basketball player (Michael Jordan) more than $200 million ll by himslf. $200 million is less than the top two American team hockey players’ contracts (Ovechkin and Yashin).

Oh, and it is not hard to have greater attendance per game with fewer games, fewer teams, and OUTDOOR stadiums versus indoor courts and rinks.

On the basis of per game attendance, NASCAR is probably the biggest spectator sport in the country, but that doesn’t even get mentioned by CBS, who thinks that soccer should be called American football. They better watch it, since CBS gets its top ratings these days from the NFL, and Fox’s turning point competitively came when they outbid CBS for NFC games.


12 posted on 05/04/2012 7:08:37 PM PDT by Dr. Sivana (There is no salvation in politics.)
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To: Colonel_Flagg

I can’t wait for the next few weeks, who will win between City and United, who gets 3rd and 4th, and who will avoid the drop.

I hope Spurs can make it, Brad Friedel is still a stud in goal.

And I am really interested to see in the off-season if Clint Dempsey will go to Arsenal, that is what I am hearing......you are going to start seeing more and more Americans making it big in Europe.


13 posted on 05/04/2012 7:08:58 PM PDT by dfwgator (Don't wake up in a roadside ditch. Get rid of Romney.)
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To: MinorityRepublican

Why is soccer continuosly pushed on us? There is no real market for the game in this country. We are a Football, Baseball, and Basketball(in that order) fanbase. Hockey to a smaller degree. Soccer cannot compete in the US market. In the words of my man Jim Rome “Soccer sucks, and we suck at soccer”.

Is it football season yet?


14 posted on 05/04/2012 7:11:56 PM PDT by sean327 (God created all men equal, then some become Marines!)
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To: MinorityRepublican

I can totally believe this. The immigration ( legal and illegal ) factor is coming into play by marketeers. Soccer is big everywhere but in the USA. As more immigrants come to the US the fan base in soccer will grow. It’s a slow growth market but it’s only going to get bigger and bigger. It’s pretty cheap to buy into it now and gain an edge over the late comers. Adidas is making a very smart move.

Looking at the other major sports markets in this country , it seems their markets are stagnant or shrinking. Why is that?....


15 posted on 05/04/2012 7:15:56 PM PDT by Bud Krieger (Another President , another idiot......)
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To: mark3681
I don’t think it would be hard to eclipse hockey. I think dodge ball could do that.

Not a chance. Hockey is still really a regional sport, but the NYC area easily supports three franchises with healthy attendance, Boston, Detroit, Philly, Chicago, Buffalo are all thriving hockey cities. And of course, since basketball has Vancouver and baseball has Toronto, once we throw the big city Canadian hockey teams in, it isn't even close.

Unfortunately, the NHL is REALLY, REALLY bad at marketing hockey in the U.S. But hockey on its worst day with the most inept management will still appeal to more Americans than soccer times 4.

Basketball appeals to a specific demographic for its core audience. There happen to be plenty of people in that demographic.

This is the third wave of "soccer is going to finally take its rightful place in U.S. sports" eras I have lived through. It will remain a niche sport for little kids, Latinos and euro-weenies.
16 posted on 05/04/2012 7:16:10 PM PDT by Dr. Sivana (There is no salvation in politics.)
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To: dsrtsage

Were I Czar, and I mean a real Czar and not a wimpy Obama czar, I would ban soccer and issue all the kids playing it lacrosse gear, making it the official alternate Spring sport to those who don’t want to play baseball. Lacrosse has everything soccer does not - it has scoring, contact, action, and it requires opposable thumbs.


17 posted on 05/04/2012 7:17:01 PM PDT by FreedomPoster (Islam delenda est)
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To: mark3681
I may be wrong about this, but I seem to remember reading somewhere in the last few years that the Stanley Cup playoffs can generate larger TV audiences than the NBA playoffs when you include both Canada and the U.S. in the comparison.

Hockey may never be popular as a "mainstream" sport, but that's fine. It's a "cult" sport that happens to be the best sport out there!

18 posted on 05/04/2012 7:17:18 PM PDT by Alberta's Child ("If you touch my junk, I'm gonna have you arrested.")
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To: Bud Krieger

I see a lot of people even here in Dallas wearing Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Manchester United jerseys now.


19 posted on 05/04/2012 7:17:41 PM PDT by dfwgator (Don't wake up in a roadside ditch. Get rid of Romney.)
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To: Dr. Sivana

MLS teams just don’t have enough tradition....that’s why the smartest thing the MLS could do is resurrect the Cosmos franchise in New York...what the MLS misses is real rivalries.

Having lived in Fort Lauderdale in the late 70s, I remember the rivalry with the Tampa Bay Rowdies, made Yankees-Red Sox look like nothing.


20 posted on 05/04/2012 7:20:20 PM PDT by dfwgator (Don't wake up in a roadside ditch. Get rid of Romney.)
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To: Bud Krieger

You might be right, but I also suspect that soccer is less popular among the children of immigrants than it is among the immigrants themselves. Let’s face it ... one of the things that makes soccer so appealing around the world is that it’s so cheap to play it. Once immigrants get here and they find their way into the American middle class, I think their kids end up with many of the same interests as their American-born peers.


21 posted on 05/04/2012 7:22:49 PM PDT by Alberta's Child ("If you touch my junk, I'm gonna have you arrested.")
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To: MinorityRepublican
Don't know if soccer will eclipse hockey or basketball, but I don't really care one way or the other. Glad to see some money flowing into soccer though. Love the game and I wish there was a close stadium that hosted some games where I now live. I used to go to lots of games when I lived in Southern CA. That is about the only thing I miss about not living there though.
22 posted on 05/04/2012 7:26:33 PM PDT by LuvFreeRepublic ( (#withNewt))
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To: dfwgator

I’d prefer Dempsey to stay with Fulham. I’ve never been a big Wenger fan and the Liverpool rumors I hear would be really disappointing as I have supported United for about twenty years now.

I’ve always said that if I were managing a national team and needed to win one game to save my life, I’d want Friedel between the sticks.

I also think Americans who want to excel in this game need to get to Europe. MLS isn’t good enough — yet — to develop our best players.


23 posted on 05/04/2012 7:26:59 PM PDT by Colonel_Flagg (Obama vs. Romney: Zero x Zero = Zero.)
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To: Colonel_Flagg

My dream would be to have Dempsey join Landon Donovan and Tim Howard in Everton.


24 posted on 05/04/2012 7:28:30 PM PDT by dfwgator (Don't wake up in a roadside ditch. Get rid of Romney.)
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To: Dr. Sivana
The biggest problem with the NHL has nothing to do with marketing. It's the fact that hockey does not translate well to television at all.

I can remember about a half-dozen cases in recent years where I took someone (as an adult) to an NHL game for the first time in his/her life. In every case this involved a person who never liked hockey but was willing to give it a shot, and in every case these folks became instantly hooked on the game. One guy was an immigrant from Europe who had been a soccer fan all his life, and he's never been the same.

The thing that he finds most fascinating about hockey? The speed, first and foremost, but here's his money quote: "It's so neat the way the players come on and off the bench even while the game is going on and the puck is in play!"

25 posted on 05/04/2012 7:29:56 PM PDT by Alberta's Child ("If you touch my junk, I'm gonna have you arrested.")
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To: Alberta's Child

But as more American players, like Clint Dempsey get big paydays in Europe, the sport will become more attractive to Americans, who realize there’s money to be made.....and there are a heck of a lot more professional soccer teams around the globe than for any sport.


26 posted on 05/04/2012 7:30:41 PM PDT by dfwgator (Don't wake up in a roadside ditch. Get rid of Romney.)
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To: dfwgator

Well, if the Liverpool rumors are true, Dempsey would never be welcome in the blue half of the city.

There’s also something to be said for club loyalty. Dempsey is a hero to those fans and he’s having his best year there. His goal against Juventus in the Europa League a few years ago was wonderful and I think cemented his reputation there.


27 posted on 05/04/2012 7:31:26 PM PDT by Colonel_Flagg (Obama vs. Romney: Zero x Zero = Zero.)
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To: Alberta's Child
I may be wrong about this, but I seem to remember reading somewhere in the last few years that the Stanley Cup playoffs can generate larger TV audiences than the NBA playoffs when you include both Canada and the U.S. in the comparison.

Well, of course most of Canada tunes in, especially in those years when Edmonton, Calgary or Montreal is a real contender. There were a number of seasons when the NHL STUPIDLY sold the U.S. national cable rights to the Home and Garden Outdoor network or some such, because it outbid ESPN2 in dollars. Way to grow that base and keep your fans tuned in!

When the Bruins, Blackhawks, Rangers or Islanders are in the mix, then you can throw in healthy viewing from a major U.S. market.

Many of the best basketball playoff games are played VERY late (Lakers home games) and that has to affect viewership.
28 posted on 05/04/2012 7:32:33 PM PDT by Dr. Sivana (There is no salvation in politics.)
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To: MinorityRepublican

If they were able to bottle and market someone like this here in the U.S., then we might have something:

Lionel Messi, easily the greatest player of all time.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrpBEmAxWYs

Watch and be fascinated by true athletic genius.


29 posted on 05/04/2012 7:32:33 PM PDT by bramps
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To: Colonel_Flagg

That would be disappointing if he goes to the Red Shite...

I would love it if Everton finished on top of them in the table, just wish they beat them in the FA Cup semi.


30 posted on 05/04/2012 7:33:39 PM PDT by dfwgator (Don't wake up in a roadside ditch. Get rid of Romney.)
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To: bramps
Lionel Messi, easily the greatest player of all time.

I like Messi, but greatest of all time? That's a stretch. Especially since he has yet to do squat for Argentina.

Cruyff is stil the greatest player of all-time, he literally revolutionized the game.

31 posted on 05/04/2012 7:37:34 PM PDT by dfwgator (Don't wake up in a roadside ditch. Get rid of Romney.)
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To: dfwgator

I am also a Howard fan so I agree with you regarding Everton and Liverpool. And as a United fan, Liverpool is sort of near the bottom of my list anyway :)


32 posted on 05/04/2012 7:37:46 PM PDT by Colonel_Flagg (Obama vs. Romney: Zero x Zero = Zero.)
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To: Alberta's Child
It's the fact that hockey does not translate well to television at all.

I've heard that before, and I remember Fox's noble but failed experiment with computers to make the puck more visible.

I have never found hockety to be problematic on TV ... IF YOU HAVE GOOD CAMERAS AND A STATION THAT KNOWS HOW TO USE THEM.

I am a lapsed Kings fan from the Triple Crown era. I lived in CT. The Kings would typically get second place in the Norris division (behind Montreal), and the Bruins would typically win the Adams division. Around Round 2 the Kings would play the Bruins. The folks at WSBK-TV38 were exceptional with their coverage. But when I stayed up late to watch the games in L.A. (where the Kings wore those crazy Dr. Dentons) the cameras were largely obscured by PEOPLE SITTING IN FRONT OF THEM! This was in the old forum, but for some reason the Lakers games in the same building didn't have that problem. The cameramen (or the guy at the switchboard) could not antipate where the puck was going. No zoom-ins behind the net. Awful. You'd think a big city based famous for TV and movies would have done better.

Of course, it might be better now. I haven't kept up.
33 posted on 05/04/2012 7:40:09 PM PDT by Dr. Sivana (There is no salvation in politics.)
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To: Dr. Sivana
Having lived in both Canada and the U.S., I've made this observation about the NHL and its business prospects:

One problem they face is that there are really only nine NHL teams with solid fan support ... these include the Original Six, plus Philadelphia, Buffalo and Edmonton. When I say "solid fan support," what I mean is that any of these teams could get 17,000+ fans into an arena to watch a home game late in the season even if the team is out of a playoff spot.

It's kind of startling, really ... especially when you consider how many Canadian teams aren't included (Ottawa, Vancouver and Calgary). These are among the vast majority of NHL teams who rely heavily on casual fan support that tends to diminish substantially if the team isn't successful on the ice.

This makes it incredibly difficult for the NHL to build a national fan base. So much of the game's appeal is regionally based and tied to long-standing rivalries that date back many decades (Toronto-Montreal, Detroit-Chicago, Montreal-Boston, etc.).

34 posted on 05/04/2012 7:46:33 PM PDT by Alberta's Child ("If you touch my junk, I'm gonna have you arrested.")
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To: dfwgator

As one who has stood on the Spion Kop with a red and white scarf at Anfield, the true Shrine of world footie, I place Everton on the same level as the NY Jets. That’s not a compliment.


35 posted on 05/04/2012 7:50:08 PM PDT by Ax
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To: dfwgator
I can't think of a single sport that grew a lot in popularity here in the U.S. just because Americans who played the sport had an opportunity to sign lucrative contracts in foreign countries. If anything, sports grow in popularity here in the U.S. as foreigners come here to play it. Hockey is a classic example of this.

Some sports even have local variations that are far more popular here in the U.S. simply because they have an American identity. NASCAR is a classic example. Look how thoroughly they've eclipsed both Formula One and Indy Car racing here in the U.S. over a matter of just a few decades.

36 posted on 05/04/2012 7:53:15 PM PDT by Alberta's Child ("If you touch my junk, I'm gonna have you arrested.")
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To: Dr. Sivana

I think wide screen HD has helped hockey more than any other sport.


37 posted on 05/04/2012 7:56:19 PM PDT by Controlling Legal Authority
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To: Dr. Sivana

I think wide screen HD has helped hockey more than any other sport.


38 posted on 05/04/2012 7:56:19 PM PDT by Controlling Legal Authority
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To: Dr. Sivana

I think wide screen HD has helped hockey more than any other sport.


39 posted on 05/04/2012 7:57:00 PM PDT by Controlling Legal Authority
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To: Dr. Sivana
It's definitely better now, and I'll tell you something else: You should see what NFL broadcasts looked like back in the early days of televised games. NFL Films has a DVD collection that traces the history of televised football, and it's amazing how ridiculous things were back then. Jittery cameramen, cameras that didn't work well in cold weather, poor camera angles, etc. were some of the early glitches they had to deal with.

Now, the NFL has taken it to the exact opposite extreme. It's so oriented towards a TV audience that attending a game in person can be a boring ordeal.

40 posted on 05/04/2012 7:58:18 PM PDT by Alberta's Child ("If you touch my junk, I'm gonna have you arrested.")
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To: dfwgator

Its Maradona for me, although clearly a total idiot off the field.


41 posted on 05/04/2012 8:00:40 PM PDT by safeasthebanks ("The most rewarding part, was when he gave me my money!" - Dr. Nick)
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To: Alberta's Child
So much of the game's appeal is regionally based

The NHL should embrace its regional appeal. Expansion into Charlotte, Dallas, etc. weakens the sport's overall appeal. I know, I'm a Kings fan, but LA is so big they can qualify just on NY transplants.

The season must be shortened, and started earlier, so that the most important hockey is played when there is conceivably snow located in some populated area at sea level in the northern hemisphere.

I would also like to see fewer overall teams, and fewer playoff spots. In the 70s, there were at one point 21 teams (after the Cleveland Barons merged with the MN Northstars) with 16 making the playoffs, including division winners in the Smythe Conference where not a single team played anywhere near .500! This made the regular season next to pointless. I would be thinking more along the lines of 24 teams with 8 making the playoffs. I might go as high as 12 if you provide byes for four division winners.

Now, I never figured out why the Nordiques and the Canadiens never turned into a rivalry, or the Winnipeg Jets and the Edmonton Oilers.I fear that new rivalries are much harder because of free agency, and the large influx of non North American players. It makes for better play, of course, to be able to get top Russians and Swedes, but it further weakens the meaning of team locality. Nothing prevents there being more Canadians on the Los Angeles Kings or the Charlotte Hurricanes than on the Toronto Maple Leafs.
42 posted on 05/04/2012 8:06:18 PM PDT by Dr. Sivana (There is no salvation in politics.)
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To: dfwgator
...Real soccer fans are more interested in the EPL and the big Euro Leagues than the MLS.....watching the MLS is like watching a Single-A baseball game...

Exactly. The biggest names in MLS (Beckham, Henry, etc) are basically cast-offs from Europe.

The MLS has no players of the same caliber as Messi, Ronaldo, Rooney and Van Persie just to name a few.

Speaking of The Beautiful Game, the FA Cup final is tomorrow. Should be a good game.

43 posted on 05/04/2012 8:10:06 PM PDT by FReepaholic (Stupidity is not a crime, so you're free to go.)
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To: Alberta's Child
Stock car and junk car racing is a new sport in India. You should catch some of the videos ~ those guys all think they'll be reincarnated so they do risky stuff NOBODY ELSE DOES ~ not ever.

Indian Figure 8 racing is the sport of mid-century Fur Shur.

44 posted on 05/04/2012 8:12:08 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: Dr. Sivana

Being a Kings fan from CT have anything to do with the New Haven Knighthawks, a Kings’ farm team.


45 posted on 05/04/2012 8:12:28 PM PDT by gusty
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To: Ax

It seems so long ago now, but imagine if Heysel had never happened..


46 posted on 05/04/2012 8:12:38 PM PDT by safeasthebanks ("The most rewarding part, was when he gave me my money!" - Dr. Nick)
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To: Alberta's Child
It's so oriented towards a TV audience that attending a game in person can be a boring ordeal.

That's what beer is for.

47 posted on 05/04/2012 8:12:51 PM PDT by MinorityRepublican
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To: Alberta's Child
It's so oriented towards a TV audience that attending a game in person can be a boring ordeal.

Not just boring ... impossible if you have nosebleed seats. My last NFL game was Cowboys at Rams. I was in Row VV on the 10 yard line. Kurt Warner was on the opposite 20 yard line, when the stupid center jammed Warner's thumb on a bad snap. I couldn't even tell that Jamie Martin was brought in. The Jumbotrons were busy showing the Cheerleaders, whose routines were comically inappropriate for the action on the field.

I will disagree about the game being boring if you have decent seats. I got to attend SB XXX (Cowboys-Steelers) and was 3/4's back of the lower deck around he 20 yard line. I couldn't folow the game so well when the action was on the opposite end of the field, but I greatly bing able o focus in on whatever I chose. I spent a lot of the game watching Deion Sanders' coverage, or the Steeler's O-line in action, etc. There is a lot of atheticism on the field that gets missed by necessity on TV.

I won't go to a modern NFL game, because I don't klike the new security measures. I miss my America.
48 posted on 05/04/2012 8:13:26 PM PDT by Dr. Sivana (There is no salvation in politics.)
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To: FReepaholic

The only question I have is which team do I want to win less, between Chelsea and Liverpool.

The thing that would suck is if Chelsea wins the Champions League title, and bumps the fourth place team out, especially if it’s Newcastle or Tottenham.


49 posted on 05/04/2012 8:15:32 PM PDT by dfwgator (Don't wake up in a roadside ditch. Get rid of Romney.)
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To: MinorityRepublican

Since they first attempted to make soccer a major sport in the U.S. going back to the late sixties, I’ve yet to hear one friend, family member, co-worker, or chance acquaintance talk about soccer. Not one time. How many of the hundreds of thousands of high schoolers who play on soccer teams play it after they graduate? Even in pickup games?


50 posted on 05/04/2012 8:16:21 PM PDT by driftless2
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