How Football Is Like Foreign Films
With huge advances in cable, satellite and Internet technology, we can now watch practically any major football league on our TV screens or monitors in the comfort of our living room. Your favorite football team could be the one that’s in the city near you, or it could be a club that’s on the other side of the world.
Football matches on TV are now so abundant that we can practically watch a live game almost every day of every year. With so many games available, football as we know it has become less about sport and more about entertainment. We sit back and watch the stars perform on television. But instead of Benicio Del Toro, Christian Bale and Jack Nicholson, we’re watching Fernando Torres, Cristiano Ronaldo and Nemanja Vidic, week-in week-out for 10 out of 12 months of the year.
Because the TV screen or computer monitor is our lens to the world, proximity becomes less relevant and our expectations of quality entertainment increases. Sure, we can go to our local club to watch our football, but we can also watch the best of the best on our TV sets. We can pick and choose from the best of the European leagues with a little bit of England mixed with the best of Spain, a selection of Germany and an encore of Italy, as well as the best of South America and more.
This is why I feel watching football is like being a movie connoisseur. There are film buffs who only watch foreign films and devote themselves to studying the works of art by directors such as Ingmar Bergman, Krzysztof Kieslowski, Federico Fellini, Francois Truffaut and other greats. Then there are moviegoers who only support local cinema. Americans who prefer movies made by the big studios in Hollywood. Cinema buffs in England who only enjoy independent British cinema such as works by Ken Loach or Mike Leigh.
The point of my story is that the choices of football on our TV sets has grown so much that we no longer HAVE to only watch our local football. Football has become global. If you’re in England, you can — if you desire — only watch and follow La Liga. If you’re in America, you can watch Premier League football. And so on. Sure, you can watch football from your own country too and support that. But when you walk up to that ticket window (i.e. grab your remote control), you have the power to choose what you want to watch. You no longer HAVE to support your local league.
I’ve heard and read the argument so many times over the years that if you live in America, you have to follow Major League Soccer. Otherwise you’re a Eurosnob. That’s simply ridiculous. That’s like saying you go to the movies but you can only watch movies made in Hollywood and that you’re not allowed to go see that new independent or foreign film.
I understand the concept of supporting your local league so the money goes into your MLS team, but fans should be encouraged to be free to watch any leagues they want rather than being criticized.
Personally, I watch a combination of Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup, Carling Cup, USL, international team games/friendlies/qualifiers, some MLS, La Liga, Bundesliga, some Argentinian football, some Serie A and some Open Cup. How about you?