Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Would you care more about the top division?

Myself and many others out there have speculated that American soccer also having competing leagues instead of just competing clubs adds an extra layer of division for soccer fans in the United States (and Canada) that doesn't exist in nations with a single unified pyramid. Recently the Supporter Groups for Promotion and Relegation fan group ran an unscientific Twitter poll that appears to prove just that point.

While obviously the followers of this group lean heavily toward being Open Pyramid supporters they also lean heavily toward being lower division soccer fans and the exact group of people that this splitting of loyalties would most affect.

This polling data shows that it is not even close and these two tweets provide a perfect synopsis of how many feel.

This leads to the pretty simple question and answer...

Why should soccer fans in this nation be investing time and energy in to keeping up with teams in leagues outside of the one that the club/franchise that they support competes in?

Right now there is no reason for them to do so... 90% of the over 200 respondents said that unification of the entire pyramid gives them a reason to follow the top division. This unification gives fans of EVERY club a reason to be invested in the entire pyramid, not just the league that the club they support currently play in.

We would love to hear your opinion on this in the comments or on social media. Use the #ProRelForUSA hashtag and join in.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

New #ProRelForUSA Flakoglost podcast

Take some time and check out the #Flakoglost podcast put on by NonLeague Colorado. These guys do a great job with all of their interviews. I greatly appreciate them having me on. We talk a wide range of topics concerning #ProRelForUSA including player development, 4th/5th/6th division restructuring, animosity online between reformist and status quo seekers, and more.

Give it a listen at the link below

Monday, May 15, 2017

Chris Kessell on FarPostFooty podcast

I was blessed to talk to Jon Townsend on the FarPostFooty podcast last week about our efforts here in Charleston, WV building a Futsal Court, plans for the future, and the growth of the pick up soccer culture since then.

If you aren't happy with soccer culture... go build it in the streets. The game is free. Go play it.

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Friday, May 5, 2017

What could opening the pyramid potentially do to lower division media rights deals?

One of the most common items I feel that isn't discussed about an opening of the pyramid and the implementation of #ProRelForUSA is the sheer amount of domestic soccer that would be available to be packaged for broadcast from one source.

Lets just use our imagination right now and think of the first steps of building the pyramid from the bottom up. Something like what USASA is attempting to do right now with D4/5/6 being tied together under one roof and take it one step further with a professional D3 on top of it ran by USSF when it came time to try to monetize this media.

This would provide the potential for 2,500+ games to any broadcaster out there. Locally important, regionally important and evntually nationally important games not to mention the types of promotion and relegation story lines not seen in any other sporting setting in the country. We now would have in my opinion the potential for a very unique media deal...

One involving a streaming platform that could host dozens of games per week, highlight shows, analysis, etc wrapped around a website offering coverage of the entire base of the pyramid that would engage fans bases from every community in the country. Smarter people than myself could figure out whether an on demand ESPN3/Netflix/Amazon style system/partnership or some sort of hybrid between a traditional broadcast channel offering other content in addition to what is broadcasting would be the most effective system to engage the fans of these clubs and soccer in general.

No other sports media property could offer this many markets, this many teams, this many games, and this much content all in one place. Housing these media rights under one roof and distributing the profits back to the clubs could do more to stabilize lower division independent club soccer than any thing at any point in American soccer before it.

Mix this with an in house marketing company to sell sponsorships, advertising, and create partnerships on the national and regional level and we have what could be an increasingly lucrative plan for lower division soccer.

We also can't leave out what the upward growth of this open pyramid will do. As we see the strengthening of the base of the pyramid and the growth toward a federation controlled D2 and then an alternate D1 this unique story line of the building a true national pyramid would be one of the largest general sports stories in the United States in some time. This story also has the ability to finally engage millions of casual soccer (and sports) fans in a way nothing other than the world cup does currently.

I think the potential for huge growth is there... now can we have the leaders of soccer in this country find the political will to unify the base of the pyramid and the partner necessary to put this plan in motion?

Let us know your opinion in the comments or on social media using the #ProRelForUSA hashtag.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Two easy ways to join in on #ProRelWeek

Our friends at delivered two great ways to join in on #ProRelWeek today!

First, an inexpensive 2ft x 8ft banner that you can get printed up to display at your local game during the week (and all season).

and secondly, a great "Patch at the Park" to display on social media from the games you attend.

Make sure you use the #ProRelWeek hashtag when you post your pictures of your displays of support for systemic change while at games from May 6th to the 13th!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Why do US soccer fans worry so much about Attendance and TV numbers?

Last night I had the chance to check out the great World Soccer Talk podcast concerning soccer TV numbers in the United States. I actually listened to two episodes... high quality and informative podcasts.

I've read a multitude of articles about MLS attendance being up... TV numbers being what they are... and some great analysis of both.


I even saw this tweet telling people to quit worrying about attendance.

My question now is... Why do US soccer fans worry so much about Attendance and TV numbers?

I think the answer is pretty simple... the powers that be in US soccer have decided that the business of soccer is what matter when it comes to advancing your team up the pyramid and keeping them there.

If your team under performs business wise in MLS... you go away ie: Chivas USA, Miami Fusion, and Tampa Bay Mutiny.

If your team clicks off all the business metrics (and cuts the check) you get a chance to move up the pyramid. This even comes directly from USSF with its increasing market size and ownership net worth requirements at each high level of pro soccer.

The fans are going to put value on what ever the owners and Federation tell them is valuable. Right now the business of soccer is much more important than any on the field results. Having a city willing to spend millions upon millions of dollars to publicly fund a stadium in the right part of town, in the right size TV market, with the right lower division attendance figures, with the right demographics concerning median wages of its citizens, and the right size pocketbook of its ownership group is MUCH more valuable than any on field result will ever be.

Why should fans NOT concern themselves with all of these off the field metrics when those are actually what decide if you get to move up the pyramid or even stay in the pyramid... when we can all plainly see that is all that matters?