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Old 06-24-2010, 03:32 PM
 
203 posts, read 240,831 times
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In Europe, clubs are generally smaller than teams in the US. Only a handful of clubs have stadiums larger than 50K and roughly a dozen or so have a stadium 30K or larger. There are 98 teams in the 4 division league structure in England. Most stadiums dont have large parking lots like in the US and most fans walk or take public transport to games.

There is not franchising in Europe and there are no "trades" of players. The leagues are a union of 16-24 independent clubs. The clubs are not supported like American teams are. There are many factors that go into the support a club gets. Rangers in Scotland is supported by Unionists and Protestants. Celtic is supported by Irish immigrants and Catholics. In England, this is mirrored in Liverpool with the Merseyside Derby between Liverpool and Everton, though on a much friendlier scale. In London, the support a club gets is determined by neighborhood and clubs get a reputation for the social class and ethnicity that supports it. Chelsea was well known as a working class club until the new ownership. Spurs is known as the ethnically Jewish club as it is located in an area with a high Jewish population. Rivalries cut across family and neighborhood lines such as Birmingham, Aston Villa and West Brom. London has, I think, 14 league clubs in 4 divisions. Leyton Orient or Barnet is the smallest.

A big attraction in Europe is the countries are smaller than in the US. This means it is much easier to travel to away matches. Away supporters can contribute a large part of the total attendance, though in the minority. The local nature of the clubs means there is a lot of passion for the clubs and when clubs play other clubs there are political and economic tensions that make the rivalries personal. Many Yorkshire and Lancashire clubs such as Blackburn and Burnley have rivalries because some scabbed during the coal strikes in the 1980s. In Spain, Real Madrid was the club of the fascists while Barcelona was the socialist club. Similarly in France, Marseille is a leftist club and Paris-SG is a right wing club. Italy has Lazio, which is fasicst, and Inter Milan and AC Milan that are divided because AC Milan refused to use non-Italians. Mexico has a club called Chivas that refuses to use non-Mexicans and has its arch-rival Club America that is well known for bringing in foreign players.

American cities are too far apart and people havent lived in the same neighborhoods and areas for many generations. There isnt the same tension between working class and bourgeoisie like in Europe. This country is vast and cities are farther apart so traveling support is normally limited if not entirely non existent. People move around so much and mix so often that sports are not a religion. Sports are a way to relax. Football in Europe is very personal and serious. There is not a lot of relaxation because of how personal it is. Without that excitement, passion and energy in the crowds, soccer just becomes a boring sport most of the time. That is why soccer is difficult on a league level. Americans will watch EPL teams but the vast majority support Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool or Chelsea. Insert big club form other Euro leagues and add big Mexican and South American clubs for those immigrants and you can see that Americans follow the best teams because they are more exciting. The Champions League is wayyyy more popular than any of the league play in Europe because it is the highest level and generally more exciting. When Celtic took a tour of the US, they didnt draw anywhere as much as Manchester United and Real Madrid despite the large Irish population in America. Rangers wont even try to come to the US because their support is so poor in America.

Europe may have other sports but they do not have high school and college sports like we have. Soccer is king in Europe. There are other popular sports in Europe but lets get real: none come close to soccer. Sweden may love hockey but it is a regional sport in Sweden. Some areas are more receptive than others. Soccer is king everywhere. Same with cricket and rugby in England. Those sports are popular in some areas and less popular in others. Wigan is a very pro-rugby town but its football club doesnt get as much support as rugby does even with Wigan in the premiership in both.

In Australia, the A-League has a few clubs with good support but Aussie Rules and Rugby are far more popular than football. Australia is like the US in this respect. Australian cities are spread out and it is a young country with many immigrants. Melbourne Victory supporters do not hate Sydney supporters the same way Arsenal and Spurs supporters dislike each other.

Soccer in America competes with golf, bowling, winter sports, NASCAR, Formula 1, hockey, baseball, basketball, football and to top it off all sports at the high school and collegiate level. College and high school support in America is the closest parallel to Europe but with considerably less tension between the different supporters. They dont have to separate supporters with no-mans land and a team of police officers and set aside a whole area of the stadium for away supporters.

Soccer will be a big event sport. People wont even watch the qualifiers. The US team doesnt even like scheduling big matches in big stadiums. We play Mexico in Columbus, OH in a stadium that holds 20,000 in every world cup qualifying cycle because everywhere else Mexico gets a majority of the support and homefield advantage. US gets outnumbered support wise in every major American city. US fans generally dont show up for smaller nations such as Trinidad and Panama.

Soccer has a long way to go. DC United is one of the most well supported clubs in MLS and has the most amount of league titles and overall team honours including the only US team to win the CONCACAF Cup for best club in the region in 1998. Good attendance and what many feel are the best supporters clubs in America in the Barra Brava and Screaming Eagles. The team needs a new stadium. It cannot get the city or outlying suburbs to allow stadium construction or to assist in any ways with the infrastructure in the stadium. This same city begged on hands and knees for the Expos to move from Montreal and built a great new stadium in no time. If the best team in the American league by overall results over the league history cannot get a stadium despite good local support, how will the sport become big nationwide? How will those 2-3 New York clubs get a stadium when New York wouldnt even build a stadium for the Red Bulls? Most teams dont play in the city limits they represent and many that do have plans for suburban stadiums.

Soccer fans complain about using American football stadiums and baseball stadiums for soccer. Yet when a soccer stadium is built the politics of stadium building mean it is not in a central location. This means fans are left with a long drive to the stadium and this lowers support. People arent willing to go out of their way to support soccer yet in America. Most demand stadiums be built inside cities but offer no support for it and demand the best players be bought and European system used in MLS. This is not an easy situation for MLS to have so many demands and many economic and political considerations. In Europe, clubs grew more organically. Today in America is requires investment because people are not coming together to start clubs themselves. With a niche market, MLS owners will not want to spend 50 million to be relegated. American fans want the best players but most would be upset if their club was like Everton and finishing 5th place is the best possible result. American casual fans wouldnt support and celebrate 17th place like Europeans do or accept their team going to the minor leagues.
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Old 06-24-2010, 03:43 PM
 
Location: Dallas, Texas
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Very well said, mjs!
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Old 06-25-2010, 08:53 AM
 
Location: New Albany, Indiana (Greater Louisville)
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Another problem with a promotion and relegation system in North America --> the huge land area covered. If a team gets relegated in EPL there is probably another team 15 miles away that is still in EPL. EPL has 20 teams in an area the size of North Carolina. A relegated team in MLS could mean fans would have no other team within a days drive, or at least a few hours.
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Old 06-25-2010, 08:58 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by censusdata View Post
Another problem with a promotion and relegation system in North America --> the huge land area covered. If a team gets relegated in EPL there is probably another team 15 miles away that is still in EPL. EPL has 20 teams in an area the size of North Carolina. A relegated team in MLS could mean fans would have no other team within a days drive, or at least a few hours.
thats a culture thing tied in there as well though - in the UK if a team gets relegated fans in that area don't transfer allegiance to another local EPL team, they would continue to support their original team in the lower league. so while the larger distances would count against pro/reg in the US they don't have an effect in the UK
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Old 06-25-2010, 08:59 AM
 
Location: New Albany, Indiana (Greater Louisville)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjs1987 View Post
1. When Celtic took a tour of the US, they didnt draw anywhere as much as Manchester United and Real Madrid despite the large Irish population in America.



2. Most teams dont play in the city limits they represent and many that do have plans for suburban stadiums. Yet when a soccer stadium is built the politics of stadium building mean it is not in a central location.
1. Celtic are a Scottish team not Irish

2. Maybe I'm ignorant, but I thought MLS stadium site selection was modeled after most other places in the world where stadiums are never downtown but are in outlying areas. Correct me if I'm wrong but I can't think of any city centre stadiums in EPL
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Old 06-25-2010, 09:01 AM
 
Location: South Philly
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I agree with most of what you say except for these two points . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by mjs1987 View Post
The US team doesnt even like scheduling big matches in big stadiums. US gets outnumbered support wise in every major American city.
huh?
YouTube - USA vs. Turkey soccer May 29, 2010
This wasn't even a qualifier . . . just a friendly. This was at the Linc in Philadelphia a few weeks ago. Turkey had some supporters there but they didn't amount to more than the usual supporters section behind the goal.

Honestly, I wouldn't spend good money to go watch the US manhandle Trinidad or the Bahamas when I could just watch it on TV and bring home a six-pack for the price of a beer and a half at the stadium. Bring on a real challenge and I have no problem ponying up.



Quote:
Most teams dont play in the city limits they represent and many that do have plans for suburban stadiums.
That's part of the MLS business strategy. It has nothing to do with a lack of interest. MLS thinks that that its base is in the suburbs where most kids grow up playing soccer and where they figure the money for season ticket sales will come from. That's why they try to stick stadiums as close to interstate highways as possible. That might be true in certain markets but it's certainly not everywhere and that is something i think they should reevaluate.

The Philadelphia Union is taking a lot of heat from its supporters for not considering the transit situation a little better. They built the new stadium a mile from the train station and only recently coordinated a shuttle bus service from the much further bus terminal. Compare that to the Red Bulls who play a block away from the local subway station.

The Union hasn't even been around for half a season yet and they're selling out. Compare their attendance to the pathetic Sixers or to the Flyers before their mid-season turn around.
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Old 06-25-2010, 09:08 AM
 
93 posts, read 101,842 times
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1. theres a pretty well documented relatinship between Celtic and their Irish fans

2. many UK stadiums are centrally located! arsenal, newcastle, liverpool, chelsea, everton spring immediately to mind. I agree that with newer stadiums it can be hard to find centrally located and available land to build on, but still think most UK stadiums are central
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Old 06-25-2010, 09:14 AM
 
Location: Vermont
10,328 posts, read 11,265,820 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xica_da_Silva View Post
I've thought a lot lately about that 1980 US hockey team that won the Olympics and how that fired the imagination of so many of us who had never really been that interested in hockey before. It was so magical; people of my age will still get a bit teary-eyed reflecting on it, because it was one of those times when our country was at a very insecure place, with an uncertain future.
I feel the same way.

I also haven't watched a hockey game since then.

Soccer has been just on the verge of breaking out and becoming a major sport in the United States for forty years. I don't see any reason to think it's any more likely to happen this year than any one of the other last forty years. Even having women players stripping off their jerseys didn't do it.

I will say this though: if they bring those obnoxious horns back from South Africa I will never forgive them for it.
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Old 06-25-2010, 09:17 AM
 
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I think those horns will be staying behind, can't see them taking off in ANY country
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Old 06-25-2010, 09:37 AM
 
Location: Fishers, IN
6,495 posts, read 10,823,641 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solibs View Post
I agree with most of what you say except for these two points . . .



huh?
YouTube - USA vs. Turkey soccer May 29, 2010
This wasn't even a qualifier . . . just a friendly. This was at the Linc in Philadelphia a few weeks ago. Turkey had some supporters there but they didn't amount to more than the usual supporters section behind the goal.

Honestly, I wouldn't spend good money to go watch the US manhandle Trinidad or the Bahamas when I could just watch it on TV and bring home a six-pack for the price of a beer and a half at the stadium. Bring on a real challenge and I have no problem ponying up.
I attended two WC qualifiers last year -- U.S. vs. Mexico in Columbus at the Crew Stadium and U.S. vs. Honduras at Soldier Field in Chicago. The crowd for the Mexico game was easily 50-50. In Chicago, we were easily outnumbered by the Honduras fans, which blew me away. I was shocked that a country as small as Honduras could bring that many people to Chicago.

Then again, the thing you can easily tell about both the Honduras and Mexico fans -- the vast majority of them reside in the United States.
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