Randy Levine, President of the New York Yankees, Don Garber, MLS commissioner, and Ferran Soriano, Manchester City CEO. Photo: NYCFC/MLS
“You can choose to ignore it, compete against it, or embrace it. The Yankees embracing Man City signals the relevance of soccer in the U.S.”
Paul Swangard, Sports Marketing Director at the University of Oregon
The Yankees and Manchester City, two of the biggest global brands in sports, have formed a partnership to create an MLS soccer team called the New York City FC.
Yankees president Randy Levine said they will build a brand new stadium in Manhattan and begin play in 2015. “We know how to get things done in New York City. Like their late father George, Yankee owners Hal and Hank Steinbrenner are soccer fans. We are all in,” said Levine.
The Yankees will have a 20-25 percent stake in the team according to an insider familiar with the deal. The 27-time World Series Champions’ involvement in the sport is a signal of MLS’s growth and investment potential.
Manchester City finished second last season behind Champions Manchester United with the latter announcing today they will target the lucrative US market as their next area of expansion and open a New York office later this year.
“Soccer is moving away from being a niche sport and into the territory of competing with some of the top sports in the United States.”
Ed Woodward, Manchester United Executive Vice Chairman
In a $250 million dollar deal, NBC outbid FOX and ESPN for the U.S. TV rights to the Barclays Premier League for the next three seasons. “NBC reported peak viewership for our game against Chelsea last month was the biggest weekday audience since the Olympics,” Woodward said.
NBC has reported viewership growth of 78% (not a typo) above the ESPN and Fox average for the same opening weekend of the Premier League last year. For the first time ever, soccer from the most exciting European league is available to Americans without having to pay for a premium channel subscription.
“We’ve seen research that shows soccer is the second most popular sport to watch on television for 12 to 24 year olds in the United States. In the last three years, the number of people watching Manchester United in the U.S. has gone up by between 30 and 35 percent each year. The US market is under penetrated.”
Manchester United’s American billionaire owners, the Glazer family, who also own the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers are expecting to generate in excess of $650 million by this time next year with a significant portion of that revenue coming from commercial ventures in the United States.
Fresh off a ground-breaking seven-year shirt deal with GM set to begin in 2014, Chevrolet will become only the fifth shirt sponsor in the club’s 134 year history. The video below shows Chevy providing all the Man United first team stars with brand new cars of their choice.
The New York Yankees have embraced soccer’s impressive growth figures. Fact is, the MLS is now America’s third most attended sport with higher average attendance than the NBA and NHL. It has been since 2011.
Seattle Sounders FC draws 43,000 fans every single game with the numbers rising by 5-7% each year. That’s higher than every NHL team, twice as high as the most attended NBA team, and higher than every MLB team apart from two. One being the New York Yankees, which sits directly above the Sounders on the attendance list. Wikipedia – Average Attendance US Professional Sports Teams.
Choose to ignore it, embrace it, or compete against it. The Yankees invested in soccer.
Manchester City and Man United are expanding into the American market. NBC and MLS figures show the incredible growth and investment potential.
By combining the world’s most popular sport with the land of opportunity, soccer will no longer be just a niche sport in the US.
I love the last ten days of the summer transfer window. The last-minute scrambling for players; the smell of oil money in the air; the aura of desperation in the manager interviews; the rampant speculation, and the sheer controlled chaos of it all… there is just nothing like it in the world of football. BY THE WAY, MY RAMPANT SPECULATION IS AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS ARTICLE. DON’T MISS IT!
Anyway, I often feel like this short window gives me the most insight into a football club any given season. Think about it; when the transfer window opens, most fans expect their club’s primary focus during this time is singular: to strengthen its current squad. But in the closing minutes, hours and days of the deadline, one comes to a stark realization: the vast majority of clubs aren’t actually working on improving their ranks at all.
For every Barcelona, there are dozens, if not hundreds of clubs with vastly different realities. For these clubs, their primary concern in the off-season isn’t to improve the talent in their squad, but to mitigate or prevent their top players from moving to bigger clubs. More often than not, these smaller clubs are inept at preventing the sharks from the feeding frenzy that inevitably ensues. However, some clubs are so used to this constant barrage that they’ve developed a way to adapt, and in some instances, even thrive from the vicious cycle.
Take F.C. Porto, for instance. It seems that year in, year out, they find some young, talented, but most importantly, affordable South American players, adapt them to the European style of play, and then proceed to display that talent on the European stage. The following season, a big club comes in, and buys their top one or two players for €50 to €60 million; that money is then sent to South America in exchange for the next batch of Brazilian or Argentine stars-in-the-making.
Let’s face it though; F.C. Porto in one of the exceptions to the rule. Usually, the damage to the smaller club is significant, and on occasion, irreparable. And then, the following ensues:
Ahh… yes. The sudden, overwhelming fear of losing the superstar striker, or veteran club captain and rock central defender, with no apparent replacement in the pipeline. More often than not, it leads to hysterical or irrational behavior by managers, and boy, does that panic like to spread quickly!
Knee-jerk reactions to losing a crown jewel happen at every level in this sport, but they’re much more fun to watch at the top clubs. One of the most entertaining examples, for me, is the Liverpool acquisition of a certain British prospect named Andy Carroll, who arrived with another up-and-comer named Luis Suarez, to replace their main striker Fernando Torres. While Suarez has proved to be a talented footballer with many, many personal faults, no one can argue that the purchase of the British player was a well-thought out, diligently researched, and carefully executed plan, rather than a poorly thought-out act of desperation.
But losing a player isn’t the only reason a club panics, either…
Real Madrid. The prime example of how an image-driven club acts, sometimes foolishly, in the transfer market. Let’s be honest, folks: Real Madrid depends on results to be popular, as do most European powerhouses. However, their image is an even more-powerful motivator than positive results – and even titles.
Think about it: Gareth Bale is just the most recent example of Real Madrid’s never-ending pursuit of the hottest-talent, most flamboyant, show-stopping, shirt-selling players money can buy. I’ll give you another: Neymar. How long did we endure the Neymar transfer rumors? How often was he linked with Madrid or Barcelona before he signed for the Blaugrana side? And before Neymar… there as a guy named Ronaldo. Cristiano, that is. Not the original Ronaldo, who, was himself another player Madrid needed to acquired in order to uphold their Galácticos image. Kaká, Beckham, Figo… well, you get the idea.
Image is synonymous with popularity, which is the key ingredient in the business of football money-making. And when there’s money to be made, there is…
That never-ending desire to acquire massive amounts of wealth. As long as humans have walked the Earth, greed has been a constant. And when it comes to football, it is seldom forgotten and often taboo, but face it, people… it is present in every single transfer, every single sponsorship, every deal, every day, at every single club. And no one is better at the propagating of it than the players’ own agents.
Let me present you with a scenario:
Player X learns that Club powerhouse Y is interested in his services. Player X has 2 years remaining on his contract with Club Z, and is fairly happy at the club. Player X calls his agent, Agent G, to discuss the situation, and to seek council. What does Agent G tell Player X?
a) “You have two years left in your contract, and you are happy at Club Z. The fans love you. Stay.”
b) “You should do what makes you happy. Are you interested in moving? What do you want to do?”
c) “You should pressure Club Z into transferring you to Club Y, and here are the 17 reasons why.” (does not mention millions in commissions he will earn in the transfer)
Honestly, folks… how many times do you really believe a) and b) come up, as opposed to c)?
The Exceptions to the Rule
In football, as in real life, there are exceptions, of course. Some clubs really do pride themselves in improving their squad every off-season. Take Manchester United, for example. This is a club that invests in high-profile players, sure, but in the last few decades, they have also invested in young players with tremendous margin for growth and development. The current rumor is, of course, that Wayne Rooney might leave the club. But in all honestly, does United management worry about losing Rooney the same way that Arsene Wenger worried about losing Robin Van Persie to the Red Devils last season? Or as Vilas-Boas worried about losing Bale the last couple of seasons?* Or as Brendan Rodgers hopelessly loses sleep, to this very moment, not knowing whether Suarez will leave the club?
No. I don’t suppose they do. And neither do their Manchester City rivals, who take a different approach, but to the same end: throw endless piles of money at proven talent, so that you have a better chance of winning titles in the future. Just as Chelsea have done in the recent past.
In the end, all of this uncertainty – this cesspool of vicious rumors, corruption, greed, and self-serving behavior – ultimately is good for the game of football, and for us, the fans. How boring would the sport be if no player ever left a club for a hated rival, or if they spent their entire careers at just one club? The beauty of the game lies partly in the acquisition of new players with the potential for individual greatness or better yet, the opportunity for positive club results.
Bring on the controlled chaos!
*Important note: I mentioned AVB worried about losing Gareth Bale in the article above, but I have to emphasize a key point: I believe the way he’s gone about not only mitigating Bale’s departure, but actually improving his squad this season has been brilliant. What a contrast to his London counterpart, Arsene Wenger, who shows signs of desperation again this season, just as he did a year ago. To be fair, it is much more entertaining to watch the Gunners manager’s approach…
My Predictions for the Next 10 Days:
Gareth Bale and Luis Suarez move to Real Madrid. Ronaldo and Benzema are unhappy; the first goes back to Manchester United, and the second to Arsenal. Wayne Rooney gets his green light for the Chelsea move he’s wanted all summer, and Demba Ba pays the price with a loan spell somewhere less glamorous.
No one wants to play for midtable Liverpool, so they spend their Suarez money on a bunch of Andy Carroll-like players. Arsenal spend all their remaining money on Cabaye, when they really don’t need another midfielder. That’s okay, though. They got Benzema. One striker to fix all their woes. They forget they need quality in the back, too. No Europe next year, but that’s not happening in the next 10 days, sorry about that.
Manchester City are laughing at everyone, because they bought several proven footballers to improve their squad early on in the transfer window. They’re not panicking – they can focus on early-season form and team chemistry under a manager who can actually control players for a change. So can Spurs, who spent their Bale money wisely before the guy even left the club.
Barcelona already got their Neymar. He is the most wonderful thing to ever happen to the club… other than the Messiah.
Bayern Munich went all praying mantis on the rest of the league (mainly Leverkusen), flew under the radar in the summer, yet managed to distance themselves from everyone else on the planet, if that was even possible. They don’t even care there are 10 days left before the deadline.
Everyone who moved to France is happy, because their wallets are really, really fat, not because the quality of the league is any good. A few unhappy players will move from English clubs to French ones when all the dust from the big moves settles. Think Nani, and the like.
Julio Cesar signs for Benfica this weekend. Yeah, I know… who cares?
Where is Wayne Rooney going to land this summer? Rumors have placed him at Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, Arsenal, and even at cross-town rivals Manchester City. The striker insists that he hasn’t asked the club for a transfer, but the latest gossip says the request is coming soon. I believe a London transfer to the Blues or Gunners makes the most sense to him, to be honest.
I don’t think the player wants to leave England, but his days at United are numbered, and only a breath of fresh new-city air can put the heart back into this guy. Last season’s Rooney was a pale shadow of his former self. Is it a slump in form? Depression? A couple of packs of cigarettes a day? Partying? General apathy? Who knows… but his Nani impression hasn’t done him any favors with the new manager.
u90 prediction: He will be wearing the red of the Gunners in a couple of weeks.
David Luiz has become one of the most coveted central defenders in the English Premier League. The Brazilian ace proved last year that not only does he sport the most impressive mane in all of football, but he can also deliver up front; he scored numerous thunderbolts from all over the pitch, and has become the main free kick threat for the Blues.
The question for the new season is… will Mourinho be able to keep him at the club?
With new European Champions Bayern Munich on the prowl (sources say the Germans offered a cool €41 million for the Brazilian), it certainly gives all parties involved a little incentive to consider the move. For the player, why not join the European powerhouse and continue winning titles? For the manager, why not take the money and bring other talented central defenders that might even defend better than DL? For the club… well… I don’t think it matters much, because the oil well is dug deep.
The fans, I’m afraid, won’t like to see their lion leave the pride.
u90 prediction: Sideshow Bob will remain at Chelsea next season, but will likely be more of a midfield presence than in central defense one.
Álvaro Negredo Sánchez is on his way to the City of Manchester, and will be wearing baby blue instead of the more traditional black he favored in the now-defunct series Heroes.
The 27-year old Sevilla striker is rumored to be worth €28 million, and the latest offer is Pellegrini’s second chance to sign the Spaniard. He already tried snatching the proverbial bad boy (on-screen only) while in charge of Málaga last season, but the Spanish club’s coffers weren’t nearly as deep as Manchester City’s pocket change.
With the departure of Carlos Tevez, Negredo has a very good chance at some real playing time for the Citizens.
In case you didn’t know… Negredo didn’t really play Sylar in Heroes. He was only Zachary Quinto’s stunt double. Oh, and he was the one in all the sex scenes with Kristen Bell. Lucky guy.
u90 prediction: It is only logical that Negredo will be a Manchester City player next season. What we dare not predict is whether or not he will be competing for playing time with Edin Džeko.
It seems as though every major club in Europe is nibbling at Liverpool’s heels for the chance to land Luis Suarez this off-season. At first, it seemed Real Madrid were the first to bite, and everyone, from analysts to the bookies, were gnawing at prospect of the elusive striker wearing all-white next season.
As an admirer of the Galacticos, it was hard for me to chew on the fact that Suarez was about to become a Madrid player. Though undoubtedly talented, no amount of skill or hunger to perform is worth the antics this guy produces every time he’s on the pitch.
Then, out of nowhere, the bookies get the idea that Suarez is in fact NOT leaving England, as originally thought. Sanguivoriphobia aside, it seems Suarez is chomping at the bit for a chance to play for a title contender in England, and it appears Arsenal is, in his opinion, a title contender.
If Arsene Wenger can clamp down on this opportunity, it could be a golden opportunity for the Gunners to acquired a world-class striker again.
Sport Lisboa e Benfica’s New Home Kits for the 2013/2014 Liga ZON Sagres Season Leaked!
As an avid Benfica fan for the greater part of 30 years, I have to admit: though I love it like no other, I’ve never actually purchased the traditional home (red) jersey. I own over a dozen Glorioso kits, and they come in every color but red. (more…)
Top 4 reasons David Moyes will FAIL at Manchester United – GOLLUM Edition!
#1. There’s a huge difference in a manager who’s a proven winner, and David Moyes or Brendan Rodgers who have never won a thing in their lives. Ferguson arrived at United an established champion, with ten trophies in his belt including European glory over Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.
#2.Fergie hanging around is just going to cause confusion among players and delay Moyes’ establishment as BOSS. If you’re gonna step aside, do it 100%. Offer yourself as consultant IF THE NEW COACH WANTS IT. Moyes is clearly a puppet if he accepts SAF being above him, and the players will smell his weakness.
#3.“It is a dream for me to play under David Moyes!” – something you’ll never hear CR7 say. Fergie was the only reason top players signed for United over City and Chelsea, now that’s over. It’s become harder and harder for United to compete with the oil-rich clubs… will world-class, RVP-quality players like Falcao or Lewandowski want to play for Moyes?
#4. If Moyes doesn’t win something in his first year, top pros like Vidic, Evra, Carrick, RVP have no time to wait around. They’re in the latter stages of their career and want a manager with a proven track record. Has Man United made a fatal mistake? Vote on our poll at the top of the page.
I think David Moyes is a good coach, classier than Mourinho which is very important at United, and he could bring Leighton Baines with him!
Wish him and Manchester United the best of luck next year and I’m actually excited for next season.
Just having some fun with the Gollum look-alike…
Top 4 Reasons David Moyes Will FAIL At Manchester United – GOLLUM Edition!
Incredible! Sir Alex Ferguson has finally announced his retirement from Manchester United after over a quarter of a century in charge.
Who could possibly fill those boots? Let’s look at the top 3 managers in line to replace SAF.
1. David Moyes – The highly talented Everton manager has kept Everton near the top four year after year with a limited budget. He steered Everton above Liverpool without a recognized forward – an incredible testament to his abilities. The problem, and it’s a biggie, is Moyes has never won a trophy! His CV is the same as Brendan Rodgers, a big fat ZERO. If Moyes becomes United manager, he could be left scratching his head with mid-week Champions League games, followed by FA Cup, League Cup, and friendlies mixed in. You need experience… and a world-class manager with a dedicated trophy room in his living room.
2. Jose Mourinho - Special One at Old Trafford! He just knocked Manchester United out of the Champions League, but most importantly, he is clearly demonstrating his power over players at Real Madrid. Player management is equally as important as tactics and only two managers in the world can put players like Rooney and Casillas in their place… well, now just one! Hardcore United fans will frown at the thought of such an outspoken, arrogant character in charge of their historic club. Is it possible that he places the spotlight on himself to take the pressure off the players? It’s not all ego.
3. Jupp Heynckes - Fresh off Bayern Munich’s demolition of Barcelona in the Champions League, Jupp Heynckes was key to Bayern’s arrival as the indisputable best team in the world. His strong defensive tactics combined with powerful attacks from midfield is the new modern-day blueprint, effectively banishing Barcelona’s “tiki-taka” style to the history books. Power, heart, skill. Heynckes has all the qualities to manage any top club in the world.
So, with the shock announcement of Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement at the end of the season, these are our top 3 manager choices to replace SAF at Manchester United.
Agree? Disagree? VOTE for your choice, POLL at the top of our page!