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No Real Winners in Galaxy v Chelsea Charade

chelsea fc No Real Winners in Galaxy v Chelsea Charade
I ask just one question. Now that David Beckham’s LA Galaxy debut is over, who gained anything from it? Think about that for a second. Other than generating money, who were the winners now that the friendly is complete?

It certainly wasn’t the spectators or TV viewers who were fed a very drab game of soccer. In a match that had the potential of winning new fans to the sport of soccer, the match was a miserable failure lacking the passion, technique and pace that’s so synonymous with the finer aspects of the game.

Chelsea certainly didn’t gain much from the result. The performance by the men in blue was uninspiring. Plenty of chances fell into their player’s laps but sailed over the crossbar or around the post. Judging by this performance, the Blues have a lot of ground to make up before they can hope to compete on the same level as Man United who they’ll face in the Community Shield on August 5.

ESPN’s coverage of the event was embarrassing at times. The presentation of the match resembled the Academy Awards with interviews on the red carpet with celebrities before the match and, shockingly, cutting away from the game to interviews with Hollywood celebrities while the match was being played.

The winners of the Galaxy versus Chelsea match were the accountants. Whether it was the merchandise sold, the revenue from tickets or the money coming in from the expensive advertising slots, the victors were the people counting the revenue generated from this event. I won’t even call it a soccer match because it was anything but that. The match was about hype. It had nothing to do with soccer but everything to do with capitalism.

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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
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21 Responses to No Real Winners in Galaxy v Chelsea Charade

  1. Anonymous says:

    It’s not soccer you moron, it’s football.

    A game invented in England, named in England and exported around the world.

    ‘American’ football is not ‘football’. Two reasons, a ball is generally round, and mostly they use their hands.

    Anyone who wants to be taken seriously when writing about our sport, should at least have the decency to call it by its right name!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Er… didn’t the English also name a game “Rugby Football”? Also known as “Rugby” for short?
    Is that ball “round”?
    Does rugby football not use the hands?
    Before you insult others, think (if you can).
    By the way, the English also coined the name “Soccer”:
    The abbreviation “Assoccer”, which became “soccer,” was used by the British upper classes of the late 1800s. When the sport was embraced by the less fortunate, the name of “soccer” was passed down.

    The jke is on you, idiot.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Is Rugby ever called Rugby ‘football’ nowadays? No.

    Does anyone in Europe call Football ‘Soccer’ No.

    Many words, sayings, names or places used today were derived from earlier meanings, generally longer or split from double barreled names.

    Regardless of where the names derived from, or how they came to be their present form, the fact of the matter is that in every country that has adopted the sport and created a national league, apart from the US, calls it ‘Football’.

    If you want to live in the late 1800′s then that’s your prerogative, I suggest you invent time travel. Currently we live in the 21st Century, where the most popular sport, globally (that’s the world (real one) not the world as in the USA, is played with the feet and a ball, and is called Football.

    Now, I wasn’t trying to joke, and if I was, I would have at least spelled it correctly. Idiot.

  4. riocharlie says:

    did the MENSA meeting let out early?

  5. tyduffy says:

    Since the match took place in the United States, soccer is an acceptable term to use. When speaking of the US one has to talk about the development of “soccer.”

    The previous poster is correct in that the term “soccer” originated at Oxford in the late 1800′s.

    It is actually used in many English speaking countries where another form of football, be it “Rugby, Aussie Rules, American, Gaelic, or Canadian” rivals the sport for popularity.

    I think that the “other than generating money” was the key phrase.

  6. Steel says:

    Was it just me or was this the worst instance of ESPN’s coverage of a football match (besides the cut-aways to celebrities and pop-up menus giving us “interesting facts” about the two sides, I mean)? Yes, the “Beckham Cam” was annoying, but I felt as if the action on the ball was always off-screen, and the camera operators were struggling to catch up with what was happening. Not to mention the fact that a sky-cam does not make for interesting drama. Whoever was behind this charade really had no idea how to package this lackluster match so as to convert American football fans. (Great blog, by the way. I’m a longtime reader.)

  7. ebgstriker12 says:

    im from the U.S. and i love football (not the american kind) and this was a miserable attempt to win the rest of the American public to the MLS and football in general.

    i think they should advertise the champions league finals like they advertised the david beckham debut. maybe then, people could see how the game is supposed to be played.

    but that game was so boring, i caught myself drifting off to sleep a few times. Man United is going to murder Chelsea in the Community Shield.

  8. Anonymous says:

    blah…blah…blah. This site has bashed the Beck move to the MLS the whole time and hardly even will admit the MLS exists as it isnt on the level of precious Chelsa or Man Utd. Last night was good for US soccer. anyone that brings THAT much attention to a match is good. Rather the level of play was championship quality or not. No one should have expected it to be. chelsea just started training and the Galaxy are not that good this year. Despite that the whole even was enjoyable. The pre interview show with Beckham was excellent. I know anything that isnt Sky sports or Setanta on this site isnt worthy but last not was not a bad thing

  9. Kartik says:

    Did anyone notice the licking RSL put on Everton last night? Of course not, even though it was a friendly merely showing that result would help ESPN build credibility for MLS both at home and abroad, but of course they didn’t even show the score on the ticker this morning.

    I watched the match with the Gaffer and BC John last night and I think all three of us were distraught over the charade ESPN conducted related to the match. I suppose the one real worthwhile moment was Wynalda taking Donovan for task for missing that sitter that would have earned the Galaxy a draw after the sweet cross from Quavas Kirk. Otherwise the match was a complete sham.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Dude, all you need to chill the heck out.

    ESPN is bad. But geez, I am glad this kind of hysterical criticism is not the par in the U.S. In the end, the game will be played, whatever you want to call it.

    The U.S. press is too positive, hollywoody, and the British press is a bunch of negative wantabees. What else do you expect?

    Anyway, more games will be played in the U.S. and everyone should just enjoy them if you like watching. Otherwise, chill out and geek out about your prefered overpaid and fawning collection of European stars.

    The real question: do real fans of a sport only watch for the sight of super rich dream teams or for the sport itself?

  11. MJ says:

    To be honest, I actually thought it was a good GAME, not taking into account the media circus surrounding it. Joe Cannon and Abel Xavier played remarkabkly well for LA, John Terry scored a wonderful goal for Chelsea, and all-in-all, the game could’ve been a lot worse.

    Aside from Dave O’Brien’s one error when he used the term “umpiring” instead of “officiating” or “refereeing”, I thought the commentary was good as well. Eric Wynalda seems to have stopped being Landon Donovan’s apologist and Tommy Smyth was entertaining as well.

    Look, we all know that this match was never really about the game itself. That’s the way it is. ESPN had to treat it more as an event and showcase the celebrities because that’s how you market the game in America. If that’s what it takes to bring more viewers to soccer here, so be it, I’m fine with that.

  12. Kartik says:

    Michael, I agree on Xavier and Cannon. Both were outstanding. I wonder when Mourinho is going to finally use SWP properly. If he doesn’t want him City will GLADLY welcome him to his real home at Eastlands.

  13. Eplnfl says:

    Many of us forget the history of sports in America. Sports as the sideshow, the entertainment product, was what comes first in America.

    The serious play comes later. The sport as the religious event, or the big business.

    The NFL was a roadshow. The Chicago Bears were a touring show. The Harlem Globetrotters made basketball as popular first as did the NBA. NASCAR is as much about the product tie ins and driver spats as it is racing. Or is NASCAR really racing? Thats the point.

    So what you saw last night in LA was how to sell the sport in America. We have in this community some very smart business people. I would think they would realize what ESPN did in the broadcast was what their marketing department told them.

    Serious football lovers please hold on for a while. If the Beckham/ESPN/ MLS marketing department does it’s job serious football will follow. Hopefully in it’s 4th season.

  14. MJ says:

    Well said, eplnfl, well said. Couldn’t agree more. Soccer’s time will come, but for right now, this is what it takes to market it here in the US.

  15. jeffyhash says:

    I’m going to be joining the side of mj and eplnfl on this one. Anybody who didn’t expect what they saw last night out of the broadcast has not watched ESPN enough. This is how ESPN works and has worked for a number of years. The reason it hasn’t been as noticable in other MLS broadcasts by the network is because they haven’t had an occasion like this one. This was a moment to sell, and it takes more than the game to do that, for better or worse. I’m not thrilled with that, but it was what I expected.

    Last night’s game was ok. It was comparable to this year’s FA Cup final, but that wouldn’t be saying much. But this isn’t about one night. Now the real work begins; building a base on the next five years. Last night is just a small start.

  16. Kartik says:

    My biggest issue with ESPN last night isn’t the glitz and glamour although that was annoying- it was the failure of any effort to put the match in its proper contxt and to promote MLS to all the new potential fans tuning in for the first time. No effort was made to discuss the other teams in MLS, the key players on other squads, what was happening in the league currently or as I mentioned even so much as give a score update of the Everton-Real Salt Lake game going on at the very same time on a different TV network. Typical Disney/ESPN presentation which has helped to ruin other American sports.

  17. Kartik says:

    anonymous, 5:39. I believe “soccer” is actually a term invented by the English. Now while I prefer the term Football, it is important for an American audience to differntiate the game from American Football. Thus the term soccer is almost always appropriate.

  18. Eplnfl says:

    Good points Kartik on ESPN not doing a good job of selling the MLS. They certainly could have done a better job last night. Since they did 90 minutes of build up they could of spared 15 mins. on scores and action from around the league and promote future games.

    I will say the halftime show on MLS Thursday is a good effort by ESPN to cover MLS and soccer news as a whole.

  19. Eric PZ says:

    Drew Carey more interested in the match than answering the stupid reporters questions was classic.

  20. Tim says:

    i totally agree with everyone’s comments here. saturday’s showing was a circus.

    it wasnt about promoting mls (which is mickey mouse anyway), it was selling beckham. and if you watched that game, you didnt decide against buying the hype. you were wondering why the question was even being raised. i guarantee pundits’ responses today will be “why exactly did everyone care??”

    i just loved how landycakes (per usual) disappeared for 95% of the match.

  21. Simon Burke says:

    Shocking coverage. I watched it cos Chelsea were playing, I hate Chelsea but wanted to see how they were warming up and it was free and in a game of ‘consequence’ due to the side issue of Beckham.
    However Beckham was the ONLY issue according to ESPn – split screen at times so I could see Beckham tie his shoe – interviews OVER the match itself… dreadful.
    All around embarrassing as a sports spectacle but if that’s what Beckham combined with Hollywood combined with soccer means then so be it. The US needs to promote soccer and is taking its chance. I found it horrific but if thousands of others get interested then the job was done right. I couldn’t watch a shambles of coverage like that every week. ESPN put aside the soccer to focus on one player, like half the planet has done – they catered to those people so in other words catered to the bulk of their audience. I suspect people here prefer soccer/football (whichever, does it matter) and just had a good laugh when Sidwell clattered a fella who shouldn’t even have been out there and instead resting for bigger matches to come.

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