Archive for March, 2012

Jay Bell Is Fired Up for MLS on NBC

(Courtesy MLS

Jay Bell–who once castigated Fox Soccer–applauds NBC’s effort

The dynamics of MLS broadcasting shifted this offseason when NBC won broadcasting rights for MLS and US Soccer matches over Fox.  Through the bidding process and the early glimpses of NBC’s treatment of MLS, it seems as if the league’s new partner is embracing MLS more than Fox ever did.

I wrote on TSG about 18 months ago about Fox’s detrimental coverage of soccer, mainly on the Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Soccer Plus.  Things improved incrementally in 2011 with HD becoming more widely distributed and FSC’s improved coverage of MLS.  Soccer Night in America (not exactly a new idea) was an improvement in picture quality, commentary and discussion.

It’s hard for fans to be too displeased when you have the commentary of J.P. Dellacamera and Kyle Martino coupled with the sideline reporting of The Original Winger down on the Bumpy Pitch (see what I did there?)

Still, Fox never really embraced the league and has instead hitched the proverbial wagon to the English Premier League and the UEFA Champions League.  The network’s attachment to non-MLS soccer continued with an upset victory in claiming the rights to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

2014 will be a very interesting year for the future of MLS broadcasting when both deals with ESPN and NBC expire.  How will ESPN act on soccer going forward without rights to the World Cup?  Will NBC have seen enough evidence in the first three years to continue the partnership?  Will Fox jump back in?

For now, MLS fans can enjoy coverage on the NBC Sports Network and the occasional game on NBC (again, a step up from Fox).  MLS is now receiving cross-channel and cross-platform marketing that it did not receive from Fox.

NHL thrived on Versus.  The league gets better broadcast and informational coverage now, something that MLS fans are hoping to receive.  The channel has been re-branded as the NBC Sports Network and the early numbers have been less than desired.  If the MLS season arrives just in time to see ratings rise, then the relationship between MLS and NBC could grow even stronger.

That will be up to MLS fans.  They should be encouraged to watch the games, get their friends to watch the games, watch the talk shows and provide feedback.  It is up to MLS fans to prove to NBC that the investment in MLS was a fruitful one.

“We are Young” in MLS – by Fun by arkjayback

AVB (After Villa-Boas): The Next Chelsea Manager Will Be?

(Working on a piece we don’t want to rush….pairs with this question)

So much promise....


Pairs nicely with: Nyen: The AVB Doomsday Syndrome (December 2010)

The Weekend: Live Commentary

Mario Balotelli vs. Tim Ream, anyone? Ream’s second Prem examination is about to get under way.

Creamed at Citizens?

Quick Follow-Ups: Banner Day For The US, Runs The Table

The marble abides...

Abbreviated due to time constraints.

Okay, Porter, Sundhage, Klinsmann, here’s a directive.

1) Stand up

2) Raise hand

3) Bend elbow

4) Pat back

The US was in action yesterday and couldn’t have hoped for better results. The women, men’s senior side, and junior side kept a collective clean sheet and outscored their opponents in aggregate 8-0, as three wins were posted in three matches. US Soccer has suffered some difficult days and results over the past year, but this was the exact opposite.

Let’s just go bullet-by-bullet with some review:

Bradley worked well within in his role...

• Italy and Klinsmann have done you well Michael Bradley

No player was perhaps more impressive–in his improvement yesterday–than Michael Bradley. It’s not hard to look at Bradley and see that he took his dogmatic approach to practice and worked on the two parts of his game that have handicapped his collective work over the past two years: composure in advancing the ball and defensive discipline.

Yesterday was of course a single observation, but, offensively, skills were on display yesterday that have never been associated with the junior Bradley–most acutely looking up the field and looking to advance the ball in the face of high pressure.

Bradley was calm on the ball and more importantly seems–in respect to yesterday–that he has developed some range to his ball collection and distribution. The Chievo man used an arsenal of one-touch, two touch, box out and scuffle, crossovers, etc. to get the ball out of trouble on numerous occasions.

The key Bradley stat: 43 of 49 passing with only five back passes attempted and all missed passes were forward foraging. That’s stupendous.

A chain reaction of events seem to have drastically improved Bradley’s game.

First, was the dismissal of his father from the senior side.

That may be harsh words, but under Bob Bradley the younger was tasked with just way too much to do on the field. This was coupled with reward for making the safe pass, usually a back pass.

It was what was tasked of Bradley during the previous era and in turn he didn’t develop his game. A reporter once said that when Bradley went on trial to Aston Villa that he lacked the touch and vision on the ball necessary to succeed in the English game.

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