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Pesca and Foer on the World Cup

Friday, July 02, 2010

Had they beaten Ghana, the USA would be playing this afternoon. So, why should you still care what's happening in the world cup? Mike Pesca, NPR sports correspondent, and Franklin Foer, editor at The New Republic, soccer fanatic, and author of How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization, join us to discuss soccer in the USA.

Guests:

Franklin Foer and Mike Pesca

Comments [15]

Dee from Queens

The idea ESPN can't make money off of soccer is just stupid. You think ESPN poured all this money into the World Cup not knowing they could make money off of this? Trust me there is plenty of money is covering soccer. The idea that the sport is hurt bc of no break is just absolute non-sense. FIFA makes billions in broadcast rights showing their games across Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America. But it doesn't stop there, Univision an American network and cable channel makes a killing off of soccer World Cup, Mexican national team, and Mexican league games. There are 2 yes TWO cable channels devoted to soccer in the USA. PPl keep telling me American don't care about soccer in this country but there are enough watching to support TWO cable channels? You think their not making $$$? Don't fool yourself the lack of breaks are a non-issue. ESPN and Fox both seem pretty happy with their investments.

Jul. 02 2010 05:58 PM
Dee from Queens

I don't mind that others don't like soccer I don't like baseball its took much pausing, standing, batters' timeouts, pitcher timeouts, and then they have the nerve to have a 7th ending stretch. The next thing you know the game has gone on for 3 or 4 hours. Worst I'm suppose to get excited about a pitcher's dual or a no-hitter or a perfect game. All boring but I say to each their own. American Football which I still love but get frustrating watch a 10 second play then a one minute pause, special teams, defensive teams, offensive teams, yardage checks, and time outs.

I would like to see my fellow Americans stop going out of their way to say they hate soccer. But I also like to see my soccer lovers stop trying to preach the soccer gospel. I do not watch to feel a part of the world but if that's what makes you happy go for it.

Jul. 02 2010 04:37 PM
Dylan L from Brooklyn

I agree about the production of soccer matches from ESPN / ABC. But production values or the American-type coverage takes money to produce. Soccer can't get that type of money. Not just due to lack of an American audience, but also due to advertising dollars for a sport with no breaks. Its just not a sport that plays well for our type of television production expectation.

Jul. 02 2010 04:29 PM
Bob from E. hanover, NJ

In choosing between ESPN and Univision, I watch Univision even though I don't speak Spanish 'cause at least the commentators have some enthusiasm in their voices.

Jul. 02 2010 11:45 AM
Bob from E. hanover, NJ

In choosing between ESPN and Univision, I watch Univision even though I don't speak Spanish 'cause at least the commentators have some enthusiasm in their voices.

Jul. 02 2010 11:44 AM
pete from brooklyn

American Exceptionalism?

This is a British game brought to the far reaches of the world by British boats and British guns. To call this a "world sport" is disingenuous and highly ironic.

I think it's good we have our own sports identity, but let's not kid ourselves that it some how makes us narrow minded and racist.

Jul. 02 2010 11:44 AM
JT from NYC

Why are people that don't like soccer put own by those that do? Can't they just have a different opinion? Do we all have to like the same thing? I just don't like soccer. I don't like other sports, including football. So what?

Jul. 02 2010 11:43 AM
Samantha from Brooklyn

Brian - I totally agree with your lead in! I love to watch soccer because it makes me feel like a part of the world. I love to see how excited everyone is. But I don't know what's going on!! Why can't they explain the rules as the play goes along? I love baseball and I know the rules, but I still notice that in the coverage they do explain why the shift is on or why the pitcher is pitching in or away. There is not even this level of explanation. Is that too much to ask? Even a basic - 'this is soccer' - graphics heavy, soccer for dummies show leading up to the cup. I still watch but it's looking more and more boring the more I come to terms with how little I get it. I mean, when that off-sides, bad call came in the Mexico-Argentina game they replayed it ad nauseum but never explained exactly why it was bad. I didn't get it. In a baseball game they would have explained it to death! Not because they assume the viewer doesn't know but because it's the natural thing to do, isn't it? Instead they just kept replaying it and saying - oh, that's a terrible call.' But why? What is offsides anyway?

Jul. 02 2010 11:40 AM
Mike C. from Tribeca

This topic reminds me somewhat of how every four years during the Olympics people complain that the US media only spotlights events dominated by Americans, whereas over the years I've been in several countries during various Olympics and have seen that other countries do the very same thing.

Americans -- we sure love to run ourselves down, don't we?

Jul. 02 2010 11:39 AM
leon wynter

Your discussion assumes that the media is supposed to bring Americans along to the soccer mania as if its a patriotic duty.
NPR sure tried hard. But soccer is not hidden from Americans. Anybody can find out everything they want-from weekend kiddie leagues to MLS. But we don't care. We didn't much care about golf either, until Tiger Woods came along and then we did.
Nobody decried our ignorance then. Why now??

Jul. 02 2010 11:37 AM
Kevin from Brooklyn

The World Cup is the best. When is the last time an American sport went so long between commercial breaks?

Jul. 02 2010 11:36 AM
Chriss from Monclair

I can't believe that Manuel sat Jason Bay last night?

What was he thinking?

It was great, though, to see Santana on top again, despite the loss.

World cup?

Still don't care-- a tie? Secret time that only the refs know?

I'd watch the Pirates over Brazil.

Jul. 02 2010 11:35 AM
Inquisigal from Brooklyn, NY

I find the lack of typical US "filler" during the Cup telecasts refreshing; if you want to watch a sport, it's the viewer's job to educate her/himself. US sports fans need to stop expecting everything to be presented to them in an "Entertainment Tonight" style.

Could the coverage include a bit more about the players? Sure. But the game is moving so fast, it's not like other sports where there are breaks and dead periods during which sportscasters can blab.

Jul. 02 2010 11:35 AM
Deborah from Gramercy

Americans are not "reticent" (reluctant to talk) fans about soccer, they are "reluctant" fans of soccer.
We will soon lose the word reticent if it is misused.

Jul. 02 2010 11:34 AM
Eric from Manhattan

If you recall, 4 years ago the broadcasts had American announcers and people panned them for being to placating to the American public by overexplaining things and not doing a true play-by-play. There was a conscious decision to get UK announcers who would assume a baseline level of knowledge.

Jul. 02 2010 11:32 AM

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