Archive for October, 2010

NFL = No Fun Live

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

I think today may have been the first NFL game I have attended as a fan since about 1996…no, wait, 2000 (thanks to my awesome girlfriend, Brenda). Anyway, I’m thrilled the Bucs beat the Cardinals in a wild game that maybe wouldn’t have been that wild if Raheem Morris weren’t the dumbest man in America. But I can tell you this about going to NFL games:

Staying home is better.

With a big TV, NFL Sunday Ticket and/or NFL Red Zone, your own food and facilities and no obnoxious fans of the other team, home is definitely the way to experience the NFL these days. Replay challenges – which seem to take forever on TV – take forever and a day when you’re in the stadium waiting for them live. Commercial breaks are death. They can try showing Red Zone highlights on the big screen, but it’s not the same. I can’t change the channel myself.

As pro sporting event experiences go, University of Phoenix Stadium was actually quite good (my expectations have been beaten into the ground, truth be told). The gameday staff at the stadium couldn’t have been nicer (genuinely nice, it felt like). Concessionaires were also very friendly and efficient (it’s a different company than works Diamondbacks games at Chase Field, which are the polar opposite) and the prices were actually reasonable. It wasn’t hard to get in or out of the stadium (mostly because we got there early and most Cardinals fans left with two minutes to go). We didn’t get harassed at all despite wearing Bucs gear, another polar opposite from Chase Field.

But home’s the way to go.

(Going to the game did spare me having to hear Chris Myers call the game. I’ll disagree with Bill Simmons that this is the worst call ever, but it’s fairly lame. It probably doesn’t make the top ten list of dumb things Myers has done, though. And, oh, by the way, Arrelious Benn pushed off. I didn’t see that live.)

Attack This, Knave!

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

I thought this was funny, and not only because Thomas Jefferson is my all-time favorite American:

Q And A With Peter Wilt: “The Goal Is Not Necessarily To Flourish, But To Entertain.”

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

Peter Wilt has taken on a new soccer challenge, establishing a Major Indoor Soccer League franchise in Chicago that begins play in a month’s time. The Chicago Riot was a late addition to the MISL lineup for 2010-2011, and Wilt’s experience running indoor and outdoor teams in Chicago, Minnesota and Milwaukee will come in handy as the team tries to establish itself in a niche sport in a crowded sports landscape. Ahead of today’s press conference officially announcing the team, Wilt addressed a few key questions about the Riot.

Q. Why was this team necessary?
A. It’s important for the future growth of the league that we have five teams right now. The league has made a commitment to more reasonable budgets and a long-term vision of regionalization. With five teams, it’s 25 percent larger than four and it’s helped certainly with travel for the other Midwestern teams, but really I think it’s a step in the right direction for 2011-2012. There are a number of investors groups in markets that are looking at the MISL and are very interested in joining in 2011-2012 including Wichita, St. Louis, Dallas, Harrisburg, returning to Monterrey, possibly Mexico City and even on the West Coast. I’m not saying that most or all of those markets are coming in next season, but I think if we show any sort of progress, you can have a good chance of having a number of those markets added for 2011-2012. So to show progress, it was important to have a fifth team.


Final MLS Attendance Numbers – Average Up 4%

Monday, October 25th, 2010

With Sunday’s conclusion to the 15th season of Major League Soccer, we can now look at the final unofficial attendance numbers for the league. Average attendance was up 4% over 2009, and the league broke the 4 million mark in total attendance for the first time ever, thanks to the addition of Philadelphia and a new stadium in New York.

Team G Total Average Diff
Seattle 15 542,600 36,173 +16.9%
Los Angeles 15 321,552 21,437 +5.0%
Toronto 15 306,795 20,453 +0.5%
Philadelphia 15 288,810 19,254 N/A
New York 15 276,616 18,441 +47.6%
Houston 15 259,645 17,310 +1.5%
Salt Lake 15 256,418 17,095 +4.4%
Chicago 15 237,216 15,814 +7.7%
Columbus 15 219,628 14,642 +1.4%
Chivas USA 15 218,629 14,575 -3.4%
DC United 15 217,978 14,532 -9.7%
Colorado 15 199,929 13,329 +8.1%
New England 15 194,802 12,987 -5.4%
Dallas 15 162,229 10,815 -13.1%
Kansas City 15 154,306 10,287 2.3%
San Jose 15 144,886 9,659 -31.6%
MLS TOTAL 240 4,002,039 16,675 +4.0%

Some notes:

  • Without Seattle’s home games, the league average was 15,375.
  • New York’s average jumped 47.6% thanks to Red Bull Arena, creating the largest new-stadium bump in league history (Columbus had seen a 44% leap when moving from Ohio Stadium to Crew Stadium in 1999).
  • Seattle opened up more seats and sold them, improving on last year’s record average by 17%.
  • San Jose’s 32% drop is due, in part, to the fact they didn’t play a couple of big games in Oakland as they had done in previous years.
  • The difference between weekday games and weekend games, which has been dropping in recent years, wasn’t very large this year, either. Monday through Thursday games averaged 15,154, while Friday through Sunday games averaged 16,979. Friday was actually the best average day of the week, with a 20,462 average in a small sample (7 games).
  • Home openers averaged 18,985; home finales averaged 18,522.
  • Repeat after me: there is no post-World Cup Bump. MLS averaged 16,472 prior to the World Cup, 17,228 during it and 16,721 after it. The median was significantly higher after South Africa than before, though (16,128 to 14,287).
  • October was the best month for average attendance, with an 18,016 mark. May’s 15,342 was the lowest average for a given month.

Long story short: MLS is doing fine, thank you. Don’t fret about every little number. 11 of these 16 teams play in viable stadiums, and the next three teams that come in will, too. Two others (Kansas City and Houston) have shovels in the ground, leaving New England, DC and San Jose as the stragglers when it comes to getting their own yards.

Whigs And Tories Were Unavailable For Comment

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

CNN Headline News invented a new political party this morning!

The Thrid Party? Is that the party for dyslexics?


Fun While It Lasted

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

And, just like that, the era of the new Rowdies appears to have come to an end.

FC Tampa Bay announced today they will discontinue use of the historic “Rowdies” moniker “until further notice,” though honcho Andrew Nestor points to “positive developments in this process” and says he looks forward to “a quick resolution.”

The team has been able to refer to itself as the Rowdies since starting play this year in the USSF Division II Pro Soccer League, but it couldn’t sell anything or have its players and staff wear anything that says “Rowdies” on it because the trademark to the old name is owned by a Texas company, Classic Ink, Inc.. A court ruling this summer upheld their ownership of the Rowdies’ trademarks (as well as those of the Chicago Sting and Minnesota Kicks, among others).

Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise, I don’t know. It doesn’t appear as if there are any chinks in Classic Ink’s armor on this, and a protracted fight doesn’t do anyone any good (except the lawyers, obviously). The old identity wasn’t really making the new club a huge success (as I thought would happen). If they stay FC Tampa Bay and have no nickname or rebrand as the Tampa Bay Corsairs or whatever, would they really draw significantly less than they did this year (3,800 a game)? Ralph’s Mob is going to show up anyway, and I’m thinking anyone who was coming specifically because of the history was a bit disappointed because the new club didn’t have anywhere near the flair or fun of the old one and they were playing in a baseball stadium.

It’s possible this could be resolved at some point soon. It’s also possible it could be a sign that maybe we should leave the past in the past. Memories are almost always better than reality anyway.

Top Of The World

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Well, maybe not. But here’s the view from the roof of the tallest building in Arizona, anyway. I had to go up there today for something for work. At 38 stories, the Chase Tower is the Grand Canyon State’s tallest building.

I have no idea why the audio dropped out on the second clip, but I’m not inclined to go back and re-edit it.

Programming Note

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Because I know Friday nights are a great time to stay in and watch sports on your computer, I’ll be calling the Liberty/Verrado high school football game tonight at 7pm PT/10pm ET live on

Go here to (hopefully) find the live broadcast of the game in about two and a half hours.

Taking Attendance 10/5/2010: D2 Down 5.5%

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

The USSF Division II Pro Soccer League season ended over the weekend (the playoffs start tomorrow) and, when all was said and done, average league attendance was down nearly six percent from a year ago, and at its lowest level since 2004. Here are the numbers:

Team G Total Avg. Med. Hi Lo Change
Montreal 15 185,952 12,397 12,443 13,034 10,864 +3.0%
Portland 15 160,899 10,727 9,017 15,418 5,808 +10.2%
Rochester 15 96,965 6,464 6,978 9,157 1,447 +0.6%
Vancouver 15 77,237 5,149 5,185 5,435 4,815 -3.1%
Tampa Bay 15 57,996 3,866 3,882 8,082 1,698 N/A
Austin 15 55,990 3,733 3,671 6,051 2,143 +25.5%
St. Louis 15 41,252 2,750 2,403 5,695 2,037 N/A
Puerto Rico 15 35,368 2,358 2,122 5,077 1,069 -28.4%
Carolina 15 33,611 2,241 2,212 2,879 1,426 -17.9%
Minnesota 15 20,608 1,374 1,429 2,310 588 -57.2%
Miami 15 18,809 1,254 1,126 1,855 742 +18.0%
Baltimore 15 16,122 1,075 1,029 2,348 507 -12.0%
USSF2 TOTAL 180 800,809 4,449 2,872 15,418 507 -5.5%

Some notes:

  • Baltimore’s numbers were down 12 percent from their D3 numbers of a year ago (step up a level, attendance goes down. Second team in a row to do that, how’s that looking now, proles?). Tampa Bay and St. Louis had no numbers last year because they didn’t exist and St. Louis and Baltimore may not next year (supposedly there’s a potential buyer in St. Louis. Good luck.).
  • Portland became the first D2 team not named Montreal or Rochester to average over 10,000 a game in the modern era. They really should go to MLS.
  • Nice work by Austin, up almost 26% thanks (in part, I would guess, ERic could set me straight) to the move from a high school football stadium to a better high school football stadium. Now the NASL (tee hee) says they’ll have a team in San Antonio in 2012, which would be a great carrot to try to get Austin to align with them if only (a) it was 2011 and not 2012, (b ) we had a reasonable expectation that there’d actually be a team in San Antonio in 2012 and (c ) we had a reasonable expectation there will be an NASL in 2012. Or 2011, for that matter.
  • Hey, look at Miami FC, up 18% from a year ago! Maybe Traffic is finally figuring it out*.
  • Biggest dropper: Minnesota, where the NSC Stars did less than half the numbers the old Thunder did, with the caveats that (a) the Thunder were lying and ( b) the National Sports Center had very little time between when they knew they’d have a team and when that team actually had to play. Still, they, like Carolina and St. Louis and Puerto Rico, are looking for investors to be able to play at the D2 level next year, while Baltimore is probably trying to return a bunch of stuff to Best Buy to get some cash in the door.
  • Montreal has now led the league in attendance for the last six years.
  • If you take away the top two teams (Montreal and Portland), the D2 average was just 3,026.
  • No, no World Cup bump, either. Despite what the NASL office (tee hee) would have had you believe, there was no residual effect (at least there’s no evidence of one) from FIFA’s June-July party. Attendance averaged 4,632 (3,886 median) prior to the World Cup and 4,321 (2,649 median) after it.

So, Portland and Vancouver are gone after this month, headed off to MLS. Montreal will follow after another year. Whatever Division II soccer looks like next year, I’m not seeing any particular causes for optimism that the numbers will be substantially different than in years past.

*No, they’re not actually figuring it out.

The State Of Division II Soccer In <140 Characters

Friday, October 1st, 2010

RT @TampaBayRowdies: Crystal Palace Baltimore did not bring any subs for this game and their Head Coach Jim Cherneski will be playing in the midfield.