If they come to Toronto….

Wed 13 Feb, 2008 at 12:10 pm 11 comments

Then I’m all for it! I have listened to lots of hot air from supporters groups on BBC’s 606. About 2 years back I said the NFL will go global and have teams in London, Toronto, Mexico, Munich and probably China. Proper football saw the cash cow and they want some of it too. The NFL sold out Wembly in seconds. David Beckham, an over the hill, over rated 30 something managed to cram 65,000 into Giants stadium when the LA Galaxy came. In Vancouver more people turned out to see Beckham than went to a CFL playoff game. Football/soccer, call it what you will, is the biggest sport in the world. It has the potential to be big (not the biggest, but big) in the USA. The problem is people will not be fobbed off with cheap imitations. Pre-season kick abouts are no good for the paying public, they want the real thing. That is why the Premier league wants to play a round of matches (their terminology, see how the North American language is creeping in) outside England. I think its a great idea (especially if they come to the Skydome!). The Premier league have witnessed the future. The success of the NFL in London and Beckham in America has opened their eyes to money and lots of it.

All week people have been lamenting the decision. It has been called outrageous, despicable, the soul of the game has been ripped out. Well wake up! The soul of the game was ripped out long ago, when Sky TV paid their millions little Englander gave away the football jewels to an Australian, things were never going to be the same. The reality is this, football is global. More people watch the game in China than the UK. People want to pay to see the top class product in a meaningful game. The NFL, NBA, even the NHL see it. Football has looked at the overseas opportunity and is not going to miss out.

Premier league matches will be played abroad. Maybe not within the time frame specified, but soon. By far the best article I’ve read on this is here. John Inverdale just about gets it right. With the advent of cheap flights, a game in New York is just about as accessible as a game in London.

Its going to happen. So get your Sky and Setanta subscriptions, football is truly going to go global. Just one final word – please come to Toronto – Man Utd v Man City at the Skydome, now that would be good

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Entry filed under: Random thoughts.

car update Still pregnant (39w, 4d)

11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. derekryanbrown  |  Wed 13 Feb, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    The other side of the coin:

    Tim, I can hardly disagree with your comments (excellent post by the way). First, your football knowledge for exceeds mine. Second, you are right: the 1992 inception of the Sky Sports (premier league) marked the dawn of a new era in the world of football in the UK, a world in which players make as staggering £40,000+ per week.

    Moreover, who wouldn’t want to see a match somewhere around the globe? From Beijing to LA to Mexico City, global premiership matches would sale out everywhere they were hosted. So it just makes sense in terms of £ (and $) to play a 39th match.

    However, my one major objection is the league fixtures. One of the many superior marks, to my mind at least, of the premier league versus America sports is equal fixtures for every team. 38 matches, one away and one home against each of the other 19 teams. All the subjective ‘strength of schedule’ talk that plagues US sports is completely sidestepped this way. So with the introduction of a 39th match, two main problems arise (neither of which am I the first to point out). First, what would happen if there were a 39th match for teams this year and Man United were given Fulham for their extra match, Chelsea got Middlesbrough, and Arsenal got Spurs? (I think Alan Hansen made this same point in his BBC article). Arsenal would hands down have the most difficult match, especially since the hypothetical points out the the possibility of a team in the thick of a title race having to play (1) a more difficult match than other contenders and (2) a local rival. Consider the opposite possibility: pathetic Derby this year have to play the likes of Chelsea or ManU a second time. Harsh. Second, and I’ve already alluded to this, the evenly balanced fixtures would be thrown off. In the end, I just don’t see it as an ideal change.

    I am, however, open to other proposals to make this viable. Are there others? I’m not sure. Is a 39th overseas match inevitable? I think so. Would I go to an ‘unfair’ Tottenham match versus Arsenal in North America even if it meant Spurs would have to play a harder schedule and be worse off because of it? Absolutely.

    Reply
  • 2. Peter  |  Wed 13 Feb, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    Then Man City can piss on Man U twice in Toronto

    Reply
  • 3. timothycairns  |  Wed 13 Feb, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    Peter – thanks for that – It has been some 36 years since City beat United at Old Trafford. Perhaps city would welcome the foreign venue as it might be another 36 years before they win again!

    Derek – I actually don’t think the proposal as it stands is viable either. I don’t like the 39th game thing. I actually do not think that the proposal will happen in the way it is suggested. I think that the more likely outcome is a European wide venture. I think that the group stages of the European cup might be farmed out and become almost a pre-season tournament or I could see a world club tournament that is better structured to be played all over the world during the regular season. I think this is more viable. What is certain is that English teams will be playing matches abroad in some shape or form within the next 10 years. I think John Inverdale is right – we need to just deal with it and watch it on tv! Sport (be it football, NFL, rugby or whatever) has long since stopped caring about the fans. It is time people realised that and dealt with it. Its sad, but true. So embrace the new era!

    Reply
  • 4. Dad  |  Thu 14 Feb, 2008 at 5:18 am

    What price loyalty? I have been a season ticket holder at Man. U for 25 years. I travel from NI on a regular basis (at least once a month) to see the Reds. Now my team seem to be interested only in money. Can’t be right!! What about the old values of building on the local fan base; tapping into the deep rooted passion for your team. North Americans, Chinese and others are only interested in the quick fix (no sustained loyalty to the team there) and are prepared to pay through the nose for it. Premiership teams are happy to take their MONEY!! Why don’t they all come clean and admit that the fans don’t matter anymore and that it is all to do with MONEY?

    Reply
  • 5. timothycairns  |  Thu 14 Feb, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    Dad,

    Next you will be writing “In my day we walked five miles to matches across fields in our bare feet!” Need to move with the times!!!!!!!

    Reply
  • 6. Peter  |  Thu 14 Feb, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    Dad, I think you’d be better spending your time watching your local team or are you that typical non Manchester manc!!

    Reply
  • 7. timothycairns  |  Thu 14 Feb, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    Peter, whoever you may be – think you are barking up the wrong tree. Dad only goes to European games and spends the rest of his time (every Saturday, week in week out) watching the greatest team in the world i.e. Glentoran!

    Reply
  • 8. Dad  |  Fri 15 Feb, 2008 at 11:51 am

    Well, as the great Premiership debate continues it would appear that the death knell has been well and truly knelled by the President of FIFA, Sepp Blatter (the most powerful man in world football). He rightly said, today, that the idea is an abuse of football and its fans. Thankfully he also announced that it won’t happen on his watch!! Steve McClaren has also contributed to the controversial subject by correctly pointing out that the 39th. game will create more problems than benefits. On the other side of the coin I am forced to agree with Wenger (Arsenal) & Grant (Chelsea) that the baby should not be thrown out with the bath water and that perhaps a little more thought and consideration may well produce a plan that will satisfy everyone. However, I doubt that that will be the case as it would appear, from Blatter’s comments, that the idea is effectively dead in the water.

    In reference to Peter – Timothy’s use of words such as tree and barking adequately fit the bill regarding Peter’s comments. I suspect that what I don’t know about football could be written on the back of a postage stamp. For Peter’s information I have supported my local team (Glentoran) in Belfast for over 50 years, since I was first “lifted over” at the gate as a small boy. Over the years I have been a steward, club secretary, company secretary and stadium security & safety manager. Recently I was a member of the steering committee which oversaw the celebrations for our 125th. year. During this time we brought the mighty Man. Utd. to Belfast for a friendly. So Peter I think that words like granny, sucking, eggs and teach spring to mind.

    Reply
  • 9. timothycairns  |  Fri 15 Feb, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    Would take with a pinch of salt what Sepp Blatter says – he is against because he either didn’t come up with the idea or his palm isnt getting greased. As I said, this 39 game proposal will never happen (and I suspect the Premier league knew that) but they wanted to get the debate going. Now we are heading toward a globalisation of football as an inevitability. I think its a master stroke on their part. Go for something everyone will dislike and get something tangible out of it

    Reply
  • 10. Dad  |  Fri 15 Feb, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    If “we are heading towards the globalisation of football” then possibly the best thing that could happen is for the top teams in every nation to be formed into a world league with promotion and relegation. Maybe that would satisfy everyone. Man. U. v Boca Juniors etc.?

    Reply
  • 11. Peter  |  Sun 17 Feb, 2008 at 11:23 am

    Dad, I don’t understand the concept of supporting 2 teams. It sounds a little like serving 2 masters?

    Reply

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