Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Now that we have a copy of the 1988 USSF #ProRelForUSA plan... whats next?

Earlier today Michael Lewis released an article that described the 1988 plan that WAS PASSED by the USSF to create a pyramid featuring 3 tiers, 2 of which were regional, and #ProRelForUSA.

As I've discussed on Twitter quite extensively, I've heard from someone who has read it the original MLS business plan as proposed and accepted by USSF was said to contain provisions for eventual implementation of #ProRelForUSA. My guess is that these provisions were included only 2 years later because of this 1988 plan. Basically, USSF has a plan that was passed by the entire voting body so MLS business plan developers must include #ProRelForUSA to be, for lack of a better term, "legal". If this Pro/Rel provision wouldn't have been included... would it have ever been accepted?

So, in my opinion there are a few things that absolutely need to be addressed at this point.

1. If this was passed by the USSF... and never officially rescinded ... it seems that it still needs to be implemented. Is this true?

2. We now also need a copy of the original MLS business plan that was accepted by USSF for confirmation of what was indeed agreed upon by the Federation and the investors.

3. IF MLS has not lived up to its originally accepted business plan principals ... and this #ProRelForUSA plan has not ever been voted away... it would seem that Board Members, senior staff members, etc. that know about them... are not living up to their duty to USSF's constituency. What needs to happen to them?

4. As a current Board Member, Senior Staff, Legal Counsel, etc... if you are just finding out about this piece of information (and the potential business plan stipulations) ... it is your duty to find out about all of this information and talk to the highly paid legal council within USSF and figure out what to do next.

I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments section or on social media. Keep speaking up!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Inclusion in American Soccer

As my followers on Twitter know by now I attended the USSF AGM as a voting representative from the great state of West Virginia. One of my first observations from the floor was of the make up of the over 500 voters. I tweeted out this rather tame take on it...

I had to block around 20 people just for tweeting out the fact that the #USSF electorate was not representative of the US population concerning racial diversity.

What kind of person are you and what kind of world do you live in that just the IDEA that a body such as USSF should represent us... all of us... is a threat to your identity and existence?

There are lot of fights still to come for the soul of American soccer... some my presence may never have an effect on but, I can tell this you right now.

I will never stop fighting for inclusion.

I will never stop trying to do the right thing.

I call on you now to stand up for soccer and make every effort to include all communities in the game. There is a difference between being "non-exclusionary" and being "purposely inclusive".  Currently many organizations are operating at the minimum standard level of " we don't exclude anybody from participating". While better than nothing, we all need to make better efforts to reach out to communities that are not currently participating, find out why, and then make every effort to include them.

This is across the board for players, referees, coaches, administrators, and fans.

Soccer in America needs new voices. Change is not going to happen without them.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

SUM revenue guarantee for USSF

We keep hearing over and over again from the establishment (Gulati, Garber, Cordeiro and Carter) that the $30M per year guarantee that Soccer United Marketing (SUM) gives USSF is a great deal for the Federation.

Is it though?

It is very easy to look at that number and think of the stability that it provides the federation, the great things that $30M could do for soccer in this country and believe them.

Being from West Virginia I follow WVU quite closely. A few years back there was a lawsuit over the 3rd Tier broadcast rights and the bidding for them. I, just like thousands of other Mountaineer fans, followed along very closely and probably learned more about 3rd Tier broadcast rights than we really ever needed to. From following along closely to that saga, and knowing how much the University makes from a relatively small amount of media rights, I've always felt that the USSF National Team media rights deal was SEVERELY under performing.

WVU's 3rd Tier contract with IMG is for $9.1M per year for these media properties.

• Television rights to one football game per season and a handful of men’s basketball games that are picked over by the major networks
• Complete radio broadcast rights

• Coaches’ shows produced for television, radio and web streaming 

• Television rights to all other WVU sports (the ones lovingly categorized as non-revenue).
 • Rights to sell advertising signage and sponsorships

• Online content.

So... West Virginia has 1.8M people in it. An obviously small market. A total market that might not even put it at the top of the list if every resident was in one city and Jim Justice was trying to drop $150M to bring MLS to town.

One football game, a handful of basketball games, some coaches shows, radio broadcasts across the state,  in stadium ads, and the website are worth $9,100,000 per year... these properties are normally being broadcast locally in state or on a regional sports network at the maximum.

The USMNT and USWNT both play between 15 and 20 games per year to national audiences. The USYNT's play quite a few games. They also offer the same opportunities for all the other media, signage, coaches shows, etc. (and does the SUM deal give up ticketing for the national teams?).

So for basically... 600% to 800% (if not more) of full national team NATIONAL broadcast inventory...

That regularly draw ratings larger than the entire population of the state of West Virginia...

SUM is only paying $30M, which is roughly 330% of the money...

This seems like a HUGE under delivery of media rights money in today's marketplace to the Federation.

By allowing SUM to not have to bid on these media rights deals USSF is missing out on how many 10's of millions, if not HUNDREDS of millions of dollars? We absolutely can not continue to let the fox in to the hen house. We need change at the top. We need a new media rights deal. We need to rid ourselves of the conflicts of interest that have led us to this situation.

Please vote for change in this election. Do what is right for soccer in this country.

Do not let Kathy Carter win. Do not let Carlos Cordeiro win.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Guest Post: Easy vs Right by Charlie Blac

Thank you DJ Charlie Blac for this great guest blog post... find him on Twitter, Facebook, and Mixcloud and give him a follow if you like soccer and hip hop. 

Easy vs. Right

A wise man* once said "We all must face the choice between what is right and what is easy."

I coach a team of 7 & 8 year olds in what most would consider a "rec" league (we don't charge an arm and a leg so it's apparently not as "serious". But the work these kids put in, their passion for the game, and the joy on their faces when they play makes me want to throat punch people when they talk about my team like it doesn't matter. But I digress...). I only have 5-8 kids on my team at any one time, someone else schedules the games, we don't do orange slices/post-game snacks, we wear t-shirts for's pretty easy to manage the non-soccer specific duties.

But those things are still a HASSLE.

My brother is the president of the club, and I have to listen to him bitch and moan about dealing with coaches/refs/parents/board members/registrar/league president/me/etc.

It seems like a giant NUISANCE.

So if dealing with 8 kids and their parents is a hassle, and dealing with 80 kids and their parents as well as league duties is a bigger hassle, I imagine going a couple steps up the ladder to State Association President is an unfathomable PAIN IN THE ASS.

I have nothing but the utmost respect for anyone willing to dedicate their time to running a state-level soccer association. I'm guessing they spend more time putting out fires than they do actual governance because they get phone calls and emails about the dumbest shit imaginable at all hours of the day. I base this belief off the fact that people are STILL whining about the birth year change put in place by USSF.

When you're the head honcho change = complaints. Less change, the less hassle you have to deal with. The less people calling and bitching. The less irate emails you have to respond to.

So the easiest thing a state association president can do is maintain the status quo.


But is the EASY thing the RIGHT thing?

With less than two weeks until the most divisive USSF presidential election in modern history, the leaders of state associations are being bombarded with phone calls and emails from candidates and their surrogates offering a vision for the future of American soccer (and sometimes different types of "offers"...or so I've heard).

They need to decide whether they're going to do the EASY thing and vote for a status quo candidate, or if they're going to do the RIGHT thing and vote for the candidate that is trying to create a culture of inclusion and empowerment for every club and association across the country.

The time is now to do the RIGHT thing. Vote your conscience. Vote your heart. Vote for the person who shares your vision of American soccer.

Cast the RIGHT vote, even if it isn't the EASY vote.

*That "wise man" was Albus Dumbledore, so technically it was a wise woman (JK Rowling) writing those words, but I needed to get to my point, not waste time discussing whether to credit the fictional character saying the words in the book or the author of the book.