In “Investment Mode”: A Primer Made Possible by Way of New England

“Profitability is a function of what you spend, not necessarily of what you make. Our revenues are growing, but we are investing massive amounts of money in building the league. We are in an investment mode; it’s the best way to describe it.”

That came out of Q & A the Houston Chronicle ran with Major League Soccer (MLS) Commissioner, Don Garber, in this morning’s paper. Count it among the several items out today that (I’m enormously flattering myself, but…) follow-up on my shrill rant about MLS players being treated like rented mules. In a curious coincidence, a slew of articles out of New England describe the pitfalls facing MLS as it moves into what Garber calls, in the same interview, “the sort of second year of the relaunching of the league.”

Let me pause to chuckle. I’m just getting to a spot in Simon Schama’s excellent history of the French Revolution, Citizens, where the regular calendar gave way to the revolutionary. Ahem…tee hee hee….”year two.”

Getting back to the task at hand, that same piece saw Garber provide a kind of explanation of the logic behind MLS’s investment strategy: Continue reading

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Bitter, Bulleted Rants: The Rented Mules Edition

Having an awful day, just awful. Can’t go into the details, but it has all made me very grumpy. So, reacting more than usual as I read soccer news today, here are some thoughts, which will include a good deal of profanity, disrespect to various entities and individuals.

EPL: You Are Not Men; You Are Sporting Widgets
I heard over the weekend that the English Premier League has plans to play “special” games in venues around the world. Thanks for bringing the game to the fans, guys! Super! Oh, you’ll make shitloads of money out of the idea? But that couldn’t be the motivation, not with all that joy to spread (about as dignified in the grand scheme as a hooker spreading her legs). I think the best part comes with how the suits channel the spirit of Thomas Friedman-style hucksterism to dress up the simple, ancient art of making money:

“‘We can’t escape the fact that globalization of sport is with us,’ Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore said. ‘This is a response to that globalization. … By design we have become a global phenomenon. We cannot go on manifesting that phenomenon as a broadcast proposition only.'”

Oh, Mr. Scudamore! You are the victim! Damn, damn globalization!

For the other side, USSoccerplayers.com’s J Hutcherson did a fair job of making the “for the fans” pitch and, he’s right on a lot of it, especially about laughing off talk of maintaining the “purity” of sport. I’d just like to think that, at some fucking point, fans would collectively say, “enough.” Enough squeezing every last cent out of fans, enough running the players for all their worth and a little more, enough tacked-on tournaments. I can ‘t believe anyone but the owners want current trends to continue; their interest isn’t that complicated, after all.  Before long and we’ll all be supporting teams called the [Insert City here] Rented Mules. Continue reading