2012 MLS Cup: 5 Hilarious Ways to Sell Soccer in the United States of America
After finishing a trade show in Las Vegas, I booked myself to stay in Sin City through the weekend of November 3rd to watch both Oregon-USC and Alabama-LSU. Seeing as how those games weren't until late Saturday night, I decided to sit down and place a bet on the MLS Cup action that Friday night.
Seattle was playing Real Salt Lake, and after placing a bet I truly tried to sit down and watch a non-World Cup soccer match from start to finish. This experience mirrored listening to Ben Stein give a two-hour powerpoint presentation on the history of banking.
The game finished in a 0-0 tie, meaning I have absolutely no idea what to report on the game's "action."
I tried, America, I really did. Instead of complaining about how strange I felt the experience was, I decided to take the high road and serve my country as best I can. Here are five hilarious ways to better sell the game of soccer in America...enjoy.
Intro: Don't Fight an Ailing Fanbase
While teams like Seattle, Portland and Los Angeles have no trouble selling tickets, a few fanbases around the league are holding the league's average down to just 18,807.
Like the National Hockey League, it seems as if the MLS board of directors believes in growing the sports' fanbases with nothing but potential. FC Dallas, San Jose, Columbus, DC United, New England and Chivas USA all finished with an average attendance below 15,000.
Take Phoenix for example: From October through April Arizona is a great place for "snowbirds" from the North to retire, which coincidentally takes place during the beginning of the NHL season. However simply because there are potentially hundreds of thousands of snowbirds living in the greater Phoenix area doesn't mean that the Phoenix Coyotes will even be close to becoming a passionate NHL fanbase.
In the NBA, a team like the Golden State Warriors never has trouble selling tickets despite missing the playoffs for the last five years. Like the Warriors of the National Basketball Association, Major League Soccer's Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders will never have trouble selling tickets.
What's even more interesting is that while Seattle sells over 40,000 tickets per game, the San Jose Earthquakes are building a brand new stadium with a maximum capacity of just 18,000.
Is this really the right direction for the MLS?
Meet my good friend Joey Chestnut, perhaps the greatest American competitor of all time.
Joey is fresh off his sixth consecutive World Hot Dog Eating Championship which, quite patriotically, is annually held on America's Birthday. Before "Jaws" began mopping every faux food eater, we were subject to the "new sensation" of Kobayashi, a native to our ally Japan.
As a young boy who watched my school's clock tick until lunch time, I always wondered why a true American would not challenge this Kobayashi character. Why, I thought, must our country be subject to importing champions on our nation's day of birth? Will there ever be a man born of Stars and Stripes that I can watch maul a plate of 50-plus hot dogs?
Along came Jaws, a Northern California man who was eager to rip Kobayashi's belt away and return it to its rightful place: America.
Since Joey began his Championship eating career, the American food industry soared to unimaginable heights thanks to shows like Adam Richman's Man vs. Food and the always-entertaining Epic Meal Time.
I propose MLS franchise owners spark American interest in the game of soccer by hosting some form of food challenge in which these two men share their talents before, during or after MLS games.
I once attended a National Lacrosse League match in San Jose, California, where Joey Chestnut slammed 10 pounds of mac n' cheese in just 12 minutes. It was the most remarkable feat I had ever witnessed at a professional sporting event—including Donte Whitner's explosion of Pierre Thomas this past January.
It is no secret that Americans love to eat. Have you ever had a hot dog at Wrigley Field? Those bad boys are good enough to make me fly to Chicago for opening day!
Imagine watching half a soccer team try to score a goal while the other half wipes out players with paintball guns, which would basically be a game of capture the flag with a soccer ball.
We could assign Chip Kelly to manage the Portland Timbers and have him devise strategic plays involving ex-military generals for the utmost excitement on game day.
Imagine the 44-7 lifetime Oregon coach sitting in his private hot tub in Eugene watching Rambo film clips on the clock instead of Marquise Lee and Robert Woods highlight film.
We could then mesh the NPPL—yes, the National Professional Paintball League—with the MLS.
"Say No to Flopping" Campaign
While the NBA has apparently tightened its "no flopping" policy, let's take a look at some of soccer's biggest stars testing their Hollywood skills.
It's disgusting, I know.
I propose that each MLS player blatantly caught for flopping must be subject to a form of community service or public humiliation.
Imagine Cristiano Ronaldo—world famous soccer star who could probably land any babe in the world—sitting with the President of FIFA and the President of Portugal and having to explain to a live audience why his shin hurt on this play.
Soccer is in no way a contact sport. It seems as if referees hand out yellow cards because a defender breathed on another player, or perhaps had too sweaty of hair.
Any sports junkies out there remember Italy's "historic" World Cup victory in 2006? Let's venture back to their second-round match against Australia that ended in Italy's favor, 1-0.
Skip this video to the 2:13 mark and watch the penalty call in the 94th minute of the game that ultimately gave Italy a game-winning penalty kick.
One flop lead to a free pass into the next round of the biggest stage in the sport.
In case you have no idea what being a "soccer hooligan" entails, brush up with Urban Dictionary's definition.
MLS writer Matthew Doyle claims "90 minutes of constant action with no breaks can lead to a, shall we say, 'focus' that is often lacking at other stateside sporting events."
I agree, Mr. Doyle, which is why I propose that every MLS team start some fan club as soon as possible.
Soccer hooliganism continues to evolve as new generations become more involved with the game of soccer, which means these hooligans are finding stupider and stupider ways to make the news.
"R" Rated Commentary
When I previously mentioned that I watch World Cup games, I honestly meant to clarify that I watch World Cup games strictly en Telemundo!
Why would I subject myself to Alexi Lalas droning on about how he used to look like basketball legend Bill Walton?
Instead, I enjoy a melody of words en Espanol despite the fact that I can only comprehend about 30 percent of the broadcast.
For the rest of the country that doesn't have a high school background with the Spanish language, I propose we hire comedians and entertainers with no soccer background to take over the broadcasting.
Imagine Samuel L. Jackson and Daniel Tosh swapping stories and curse words to describe an MLS match. Hey, it worked for the 2012 Barack Obama campaign!
@kevry88 on Twitter