Archive for the ‘Broadcasting’ Category

ESPN World Cup Promo: The Number 10

We’ll give ESPN a little love this morning since they quoted us this week and we’ve got an interview coming up with stellar MLS announcer, and former USMNTer, Kyle Martino. (If you have questions submit them below)

On an unrelated note, Miss Shin Guardian was going to throw away my prized vuvuzela yesterday. Then, according to her, “she quickly learned how important it was to me” when I decided to talk to her only through the vuvuzela all last evening.

(Miss Shin Guardian, “What’s your login for your TSG thing?”

Matthew, TSG: “Nice try.”)

TSG: ESPN Score Game Winner with Ad

It’s really just Soccernet in my book that’s not doing coverage justice.

ESPN scores, in our opinion, with a superb human interest commercial for the World Cup.

We actually have been chatting back and forth with their video makers and asked the question, “Can’t you guys use something other than U2 audio in these things?”

The answer: “Regarding U2, the U2 World Cup relationship is an extension from the successful World Cup 2006 campaign and broader details may be discussed in the future.”

Looks like Bono will be around for awhile.

We’ll also try to get our hands on a certain Landon Donovan copier machine Sportscenter commercial that was pre-aired before it was suppose to be.

Champions League Semi Final part deux – Bayern versus Lyon

Not winning any beauty contests, but these two were tearing it up until Ribery dismissal

Next week will be an epic two games in the Champions League. All 4 teams ooze class and style. Barcelona have it all to do at the Nou Camp and Lyon will feel comfortable at home knowing they have their fans behind them as well as not having to deal with Ribery. They still need to figure out how to stop Robben.

TWEET TWEET TWEET – What an exciting game. Both teams finish with 10 men and Robben, the obvious man of the match scores a goal to send Bayern off to Lyon in a weeks time with a slim 1 goal lead.

92:00 – Lahm is everywhere on the right side of the pitch as he sends in another great cross that causes panic in the Lyon 6 yard box. Its cleared but he immediately wins it back.

3 minutes of extra time

89:00 – In an effort to remind everyone that they can play too, Lyon string a nice attack and Bastos sends a daisy cutter inches wide of the left post of Butt. Really have no idea why Van Gaal would take Robben off. He was far and above the best player on the pitch and an extra goal would have been huge. Will he pay for his defensive attitude?

85:00 – As the commentators and I were simultaneously wondering if Robben is better now than in his Chelsea days, he gets the ball and leads a breakaway as he passes to Gomez who sends a poor ball back. Robben still controls it well and sends a stinging drive which is well saved by Lloris. Strangely this is the last action of the game for him as he is substituted for Turkish midfielder Altintop. Robben is obviously not pleased and lets Van Gaal know who in turn admonishes the dutch winger in front of everyone. That was poor from the Dutch manager.

82:00 – Lahm and Robben combine effortlessly as Lahm sends in a shot that caroms of the head of a Lyon defender and up in the air. The ball can still be won but “2 right feet Muller” sends a harmless header out for a goal kick.

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Some “Wow” Stats from US Soccer on Growth

TSG learned something new last week when we talked to US Soccer about a growing part of the USMNT fan base. That segment? The Hispanic fan who roots for a Mexico, a Honduras or a Costa Rica and the United States. More than interesting to us.

Still one of my favorite soccer pics of this year...HDC, January.

USSF sent us a few more stats here that, frankly, blew our mind.

A couple may be of interest:

• The broadcast of the USA vs. Brazil Confederations Cup Final on Univision beat both of Telemundo’s primetime telecasts of the Mexican national team friendly games the week before (Guatemala on Wednesday night and Venezuela on Sunday night) in both Adults 18-49 and Men 18-49.

• Univision’s delivery on the USA vs. Brazil match was approximately 75 percent of ESPN’s in households and all key demos, which is pretty remarkable given the relatively small size of the U.S. Hispanic population versus that of the non-Hispanic population.

• Also, the ratings for the first qualifying match between the U.S. and Mexico held in Columbus, Ohio, was seen in its entirety or in part by 10.7 million viewers on Univision. That was the most-watched sports event ever on Spanish-language television.

• The audience on Spanish-language television far outpaced ESPN2’s English telecast. Still, the 1.2 million people who watched on ESPN2 was the largest audience for any of the 26 qualifying matches the network has shown dating back to 2001, Nielsen said.

US Soccer & TSG: On Soccer Growth USA

Always kind of US Soccer to take TSG’s calls. We had a chance a few days ago to chat with them for a bit on a variety of topics.

Red Bull Arena: An encouraging and major sign of the times...

One topic that we brushed on more from a conversational perspective and less from an official statement of USSF is how the growth of soccer manifests itself in the coming years…and we learned something new as we meandered through that one.

Part of reason we asked the question was because we were about to publish our ways to improve ESPN article.

Here’s how it went down:


What is most important to the growth of soccer to the mass audience in America: brand advertisers, gate attendance, television viewing  or other? While they all go hand-in-hand–if you had to pick one that you could have/increase–which would it be and why?

TSG’s contention is that ESPN more than any other entity will have the single biggest say on how soccer grows in the coming decade.

The Gist from USSF:

USSF general message was this:

ESPN as an outlet to follow the game is important. The game is going to grow now and ESPN recognizes the growing fan base across the country.

The coverage of soccer and the interest level now is huge and ESPN is one of its the biggest vehicle and will be a big part of the growth in the next 10 years.

Also, Univision–don’t forget about Univision as well. There is a huge Hispanic market developing.

Actually, a big driver of growth for US soccer is coming from the Hispanic market. Many fans are now not just fans of one national team. It’s not uncommon to hear from a fan, “I’m a fan of US Soccer and Honduras.”

Why not root for both? (courtesy Matt Mathai)

“I’m a fan of US Soccer and Costa Rica.” Guatemala and Mexico as well.

There are a large number of Hispanic fans being converted to the US Soccer market and this is a huge opportunity that Univision realizes.


Wow, learned something new on that one. Thanks USSF. Next up for TSG? Reach out to Univision….

Debunking Erroneous Sentiment on CD9

My last column on ESPN for awhile…spilled way too much vitriol this week, my apologies for that.

Gosh, I love ESPN, just not the voice of one of their lead writers and I’m sorry to be combative here.

No one is expecting this in the short term. They're hoping.

I had a chance to review this article on ESPN on Charlie Davies and yet again I have a number of problems with the qualitative nature of this column.

My first question is: What audience is the writer addressing in these statements below?

So when this Web site reported in February that he’d be able to return much sooner than expected, elation followed.

Elation … and unrealistic expectations.

Precisely who is counting Charlie Davies absolutely in for the World Cup at this point? Who?

Just who has unrealistic expectations here? I’m not quite certain. Did you poll people? Where are you getting your sentiment from?

What you could say is that most fans are not yet counting him out.

How many casual fans or uber fans out of 100 did you poll that had that specific “expectation.”

Not TSG or our community as recently as today or others for that matter.

And some clarity on this statement:

What’s often overlooked is that these aren’t your run-of-the-mill soccer injuries that Davies has had to overcome. All common soccer knowledge of injury recovery timetables is irrelevant.

Once again, precisely who is overlooking these injuries. Who is? Nobody.


There are no expectations here, there is hope, positive sentiment, positive momentum and a dramatic story that has everyone rooting for a Hollywood ending.

They’re categorically not expectations.

And further, you’re missing the story, here.

That is, that a man who couldn’t walk in October, underwent five hours of surgery before anyone knew what is was on and who the U.S. Soccer Federation said had injuries that “were not life-threatening but ‘possibly’ career-threatening,” is back at it in less than six months.

That, ESPN, is already a miraculous recovery; the sentiment that your prose in closing nonchalantly tosses under the bus.


I’m not an optimist (well I am actually) but for this column my objectivity lies with the accomplishment and the hope that Davies has and has given those around him. Again, it’s not expectations; never was.

Here’s a better set of expectations, that one of the highest quality sports broadcasting company in the world seeks to publish knowledgeable, well-thought commentary by experts in the subject matter not who seek to be controversial merely for controversy’s (and their web traffic’s) sake.

I don’t want to tune it Soccernet to “see what they say next” that’s not what an authoritative source on soccer news should aspire to.

Here’s a thought. How about letting people know that Michael Bradley broke his nose today? or…

How about commenting on Clint Dempsey’s awesome Juve goal the day afterward like last Friday instead of six days later?

5 Ways ESPN Can Improve Soccer Coverage

Update: After reading our piece, ESPN has elected not to comment.

I got to thinking about this topic the other day on a trail run of mine.

I could have used an hour long documentary on this experience...

For those of you new to TSG, in a former life, I was the fact checker for the late Peter Jennings at World News Tonight on ABC (a great education in all ways), was an assistant on some news shows and then eventually got into the Web world through working for CNBC.

The amalgamation of experience, specifically the analytical addition of having reporting and metrics available through the web, has shaped my perception of what media is. That web move have prepared me for the world of interactivity and always-on data streaming that we see today in sport and across other news outlets.

Make it happen with soccer ESPN...

With these thoughts in mind, last week my mind drifted to ways that ESPN can improve their soccer coverage leading up to the World Cup and beyond.

First, you can already argue that ESPN’s cash and effort outlay outweighs the financial rewards on their bottom line. I think that one is easy to see.

ESPN has made some great soccer specific strides. Some of these are phenomenal: the ever-mentioned addition of Martin Tyler to add sophistication to the soccer broadcast this summer, the addition of hard-to-find games to the program at, and the integration of soccer scores on ESPN’s homepage.

By and large, we’re a fan of how ESPN has chosen to be on the vanguard of new media.

There is more they can do though…and here are some idea. Note, TSG reached out to ESPN for comment, however and somewhat ironically they are still working on feedback.

Madden, visionary on football and audience...

5) Pick up the telestrator

In sports, with a ball, say football, where there is an interaction of players with movement creating opportunities, the addition of the telestrator in the 1950s and the subsequent expert use by John Madden drastically improved game understanding and interaction with fans.

The un-interruptive nature of the soccer does not allow for the ease of the telestrator display, however there is no reason that ESPN can’t consider a box-in-box telestrator OR devote an area of Soccernet to in-game telestration. Soccernet already has textual game commentary and statistical in-game datafeeds, why not a telestator addition?

It would allow thousands of casual fans to learn the sport.

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