Monday, July 16, 2007

SOCCER JUNK

We have been getting inundated with soccer on TV lately. CBC has been going full bore lately with coverage of the under-20s. It's like the Stanley Cup Playoffs almost. Instead of hockey, we get soccer every night on CBC, complete with the in-studio show.

They even had a Soccer Day in Canada. CBC showed it a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately, it was scheduled the day of the ChampCar auto race in Toronto, the Grand Prix. So, of course I forgot about it and didn't bother to tune in. Come to think of it, why the heck don't people hold an Auto Racing Day in Canada?! It's not as if auto racing isn't popular. In fact, it's much more popular than soccer is in this country. More people go to these races and watch them on TV on a regular basis.

As you know David Beckham recently arrived in Los Angeles and is all set to play with the Galaxy. I see his wife Posh Spice is all over the TV these days. I notice NBC is running the show Victoria Beckham: Coming to America on Monday nights. You know, all this isn't going to sell soccer in the USA with the Beckhams coming here. This is all about celebrity, this is all about TV! They'll get their 15 minutes of fame, sell all the merchandise they are going to sell, and then Beckham will retire and things will go back to normal. It'll be like Wayne Gretzky going to Los Angeles--- it'll spike interest for a while, but it won't make the sport Number One in the USA.

Still, these are fun times for soccer fans in North America. It used to be that all the top action would go on abroad in places like England, Italy, Germany and Spain, and soccer fans in these parts would feel a little left out. Not these days, not with Beckham in MLS. Same for Canada, with the under-20s a big success and with that new MLS team getting lots of attention and playing to packed houses in Toronto.

Though I notice--- these under-20s sure aren't packing them in over in Edmonton. Every time I see a tournament game there, it's all empty seats! The rest of the country-- whether it's Burnaby, Victoria, Montreal, Ottawa or wherever-- decent crowds. But not in Alberta. Heck, you would think there would be soccer fans in Edmonton! They used to have pro teams. I think that's the operative word, though--- they "used" to have teams there. But the Drillers left Edmonton a long time ago, because there are no soccer fans in Edmonton. Just too many redneck Canadians in that city.

Clearly all they care about in Edmonton is hockey--- and that other version of football that involves running, tackling and scoring touchdowns.

UPDATE: Seems Victoria Beckham's show is a total flop with audiences and with the critics. Story here.

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