...goes a long way, especially when I'm thinking about brands, brand management and the power of brands to build successful organizations and careers.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Me dost think thou protests too much about soccer

I'm backtracking on my earlier post that soccer's got a brand problem. If we use Kathy Sierra's love/hate model, I think soccer - specifically soccer in the U.S. - will be just fine. MLS fans are showing up, teams are starting to make some money and the soccer-haters are besides themselves.

Did you see them come out of the woodwork in the aftermath of the Men's National Team 0-3 drubbing in their World Cup opener. They fell all over themselves announcing that this proves that soccer will never make it here.

I think all it proves is that soccer is hated by a certain group, to the point of distraction. I think many baseball, basketball and hockey fans are coming unglued with the amount of publicity the sport has gotten and can't stand sharing the spotlight. Why would they be so vocal?

I watch the standings and will catch a few innings of Cardinals baseball game on TV, but I really don't care for the sport; I don't understand its nuances. The NBA is a snoozer until the playoffs for all but the most rabid of fans. And hockey on TV has never been a draw because you don't get the added benefit of the crowd that is every bit as important as the action on the ice. But you don' hear me or others slamming those sports in message boards or on blogs. I just don't care much for them.

To me, they're like Brussels sprouts, South Park and beauty pageants: they don't make it on my radar.

Soccer, on the other hand, is on the radar of many sports fans. And during this period of time every four years, the rest of the American sports landscape gets nervous that soccer, someday, may actually reach its potential here, too.

Update 6/19/06: It seems that a lot of people are taking notice. Check out the ratings...soccer during the day on cable is beating out hockey finals on broadcast in primetime!

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Photo: Reuters

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