Finally the NHL can laugh at a sport about TV Coverage.

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The biggest international soccer game in the last 20 for the US team is not going to be on any English speaking TV network. The US vs. Mexico on August 12th will be broadcast in the US only on Spanish TV. The NHL’s deal with the Vs. Network doesn’t look so bad.

Maybe the Vs network was too busy covering the US Turtle Assoc. races to bother with US soccer. At any rate, any hope that the US performance in the most recent tournament has sparked massive interest in the sport can be put to rest. The question is with millions of young adults having played soccer in their very early life, why has soccer never taken off as a major sport?

The explanation is simple—we Americans don’t watch what we won’t win. In most of the world, the best athletes that a nation has become soccer players. Here, the best athletes play in the NBA, NFL, and MLB. As a result, we don’t win many international competitions. Americans don’t enjoy tuning in to see the US team get pounded by faster, more athletic teams from South America and Europe.

The MLS has done its best to try to tap into the adult population that played youth soccer. But it hasn’t worked so far. The best players in the MLS tend to be foreign imports. Even teams that do well in the league struggle to get attendance and sponsorships.

Analysis: I don’t believe that the MLS will be the key to US soccer expansion. The best hope for soccer in the US is that the Hispanic population coming from Central and South America will be the future of the sport. Those are very sophisticated fans and will not accept substandard quality play. They will watch soccer but it will be the MLS. It will be the Central or South American leagues.

In the future, the demand for soccer should grow. Maybe it will reach the level that the Vs. Network will be interested.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: US Soccer,NFL,NBA,MLB,MSL

Analysis: Congress is using the right approach against the BcS

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I don’t often have good things to say about Washington D.C. or the US Congress. But in this case, they are using the right approach in challenging the BcS—Follow the money.

Sen. Hatch of Utah undoubtedly has his constituents in mind when he pushed for hearings on the BcS. I have no problem with that. The current economic problems could have been avoided had not Congress tried to force social engineering into legislation on the US financial system. At least Hatch is not trying to buy votes by giving away money!

Most major football colleges are public institutions. They get tax payer dollars to help finance their activities including many athletic departments. It is the popularity of college football that generates money for the BCS. Because the “lessor” conferences are not included in the automatic cut of the pot of gold that BcS generates, they don’t share in the bounty unless one of their teams is in one of the games. Then they split a team share and not a league share.

There are some aspects of anti-trust law that could be applied to the BcS. That however must focus on distribution of money and not forcing college presidents to accept a playoff. Let’s face it. The Presidents’ excuses for not allowing a college football playoff contain less truth than the average speech by Castro. The excuses are a sham and if they believe that we accept them as truth, they must think we are a collection of ignorant jerks. Since many of us have had the “advantage” of being educated by the institutions they represent, it tells us a lot about how seriously they take their main business.

College Presidents, the ones that are primarily responsible for voting down any playoff system, are greedy pinheads. That is why I have suggested a number of times that if you want a playoff in college football, contact the big contributors and ask them to tell the pinheads no playoff no money. If enough deep pockets did that, we would have a playoff this season.

Congress will get the attention of the pinheads. Maybe it will lead to a more equitable division of the money but probably not. Maybe it might even lead to a change in the BcS that would come closer to a playoff. That is a long shot. At the very least, it will bother the pinheads. I can get behind anything that makes the seats of the pinheads a little less comfy.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: BCS,Congress,hearings,college football,playoffs

The world vs. Lance Armstrong

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The old joke about the French was “Why did the French plant trees along the Champs-Elysses? So that the German soldiers could march in the shade.” Now the joke has another ending. “So that Lance Armstrong can ride in the shade to another Tour de France championship.

Armstrong may well be the best thing and the worst thing that ever happened to the Tour. He has always captured the interest and some coverage and advertising money from the US whenever he has been involved. I guarantee that I would not spend one second writing about the Tour were he not in it. When he retired after 7 wins in 2005, the US and much of the world forgot about the race. ESPN, and the Sporting News Radio would spend a couple of seconds on it only when a winner had been crowned.

But things are different now. Armstrong has crept within a couple of hundredths of a second of the lead. Given his previous performance through the mountains and the latter stages of the race, if he’s even, he’s leavin’.

His story is remarkable. 7 titles despite fighting cancer and the French organizers doing anything they could to prove he was cheating. The French have been violating their own guidelines in an attempt to catch him with anything in his body that is not approved. The French just can’t believe that anyone has the drive to keep his body capable of such accomplishments. I can’t help but think that MLB should bring the French drug testers in to help with the steroid problem.

Armstrong is carrying the American Flag and his team on his back. He deserves all the attention he is getting and more. It is only the race that deserves to be ignored unless Armstrong is involved.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: Tour de France,Armstrong,Germans,cancer,steroids,MLB

Sports and Politics are a bad combination.

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I offer my readers my apology for missing some days in the last week. My mother in law passed away last week. Because my wife and I have known each other since 1963, I have had a long term relationship with her mom. She was as fine a lady and as good a person as has ever lived and she will be missed by all of us that loved her.

I mention this because she grew up in pre-war Germany. She was an athlete in Nazi Germany and was part of Hitler’s youth sports program. She told me about the combination of sports and political indoctrination that were equal parts of the program.

The 1932 Olympics were one of the most political games in that event’s history. She was a swimmer but was too young to be part of the Olympic team but saw her older friends pushed to the physical and mental brink and beyond to prove a political point. We all know how that story ended, but the point here is that the athletes paid the price to attempt to prove the validity of a mad man’s theory.

She also talked about the inept management of the program because it was run by political hacks rather than sports management experts. The athletes were the ones that paid the price for the waste and stupidity of politicians running the program.

Politics raised its ugly head again during the cold war. The US refused to send a team to the games in the USSR as a political statement against the actions of that government. The following games were boycotted by the USSR and its satellite countries because the games were in the US. The governments didn’t win or lose anything by their childish actions. The people that did lose the most were those men and women that had worked so hard for many years to be ready to participate in the games. Those athletes gave up their lives to prepare to participate in the Olympics and were then forbidden to go by a politician with a 4 year old mentality.

Those athletes that did participate lost as well. Because many of the world’s best athletes were from the countries that refused to participate, the metals that were won in those games were tainted. The winners realized that they had won against less than the best the world could have offered.

With the breakup of the Soviet block, we were able to see the price that individuals paid for the political aims of their governments. Steroids were a major part of the attempt by the Communists to win metals. The men and women that were forced to take them have suffered the consequences for the rest of their lives.

The most recent summer games in China showed another aspect of politics interfering with sports. Thousands of people were forced out of their homes to make room for the sports venues required by the games. Hundreds of others were jailed to eliminate the chance of demonstrations against the government. Given the political ineptness of the Olympic committee, I would not be surprised if the next site chosen will be either North Korea or Iran.

If the Olympics are going to survive, the site selections must consider politics. The games must be held in countries that can avoid political and social consequences. Until that happens, you can count me out of those that have interest in the games.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: Olympics,China,US,USSR

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