In the past four years, the world has made significant strides in better broadband access as well as the latest in high-definition TVs and better access and programming to carry the beautiful game around the world. It’s no wonder then that next year is going to be the biggest World Cup in the history of the sport.
So, considering the next World Cup and the 2010 calendar year for the Premier League, let me look into my crystal ball and share with you my top five bold soccer predictions for 2010:
- Feelings are going to get hurt. No matter what side of the fence you sit on, prepare to be swept up in a tidal wave of Internet noise during June and July when soccer fans take over the Internet to cheer on their nation in the 2010 World Cup. Supporters of most countries will be civil, but some will not. When you’re visiting soccer message boards, blogs and social media sites, expect to read messages that you will make you laugh and cry, or make you feel like you’re on top of the world. And will make you madder than hell.
- Soccer fans will still want more. ESPN has stepped up the quality of the Premier League in the United States by being the first U.S. network to show most games in HD. Coming up next will be Fox Soccer Channel who plan on launching their HD signal in days from now. However, while that roll-out takes it time to become available throughout the United States, I predict that the majority of soccer fans will become inpatient and complain bitterly on message boards and blogs that Fox Soccer in HD is not available from his or her local cable or satellite provider. However, for those who do get to see most Premier League games in HD on Fox Soccer Channel in 2010 and beyond, I believe they’ll be ecstatic at first. But then the pressure will be on GolTV and Setanta Sports to quickly upgrade their signals to HD in 2010. It’s going to be a hot potato year for soccer networks in the United States.
- England are going to get the fright of their lives. Now I realize this is dangerous territory I’m walking on here, but I honestly believe that the United States is going to give England a huge shock on Saturday, June 12, 2010 in South Africa. As bizarre as it sounds, I truly believe that the United States will step up for this game in a major way to surprise England – either by taking an early lead, bursting through its penalty area and leaving the England defenders legless, or being under an incredible amount of pressure for a sustained period of the match. Despite all of that, I’m not sure the United States, however, can win the game. A draw is a distinctive possibility, but I don’t see the United States losing this game. Okay, don’t laugh.
- The Premier League will ignore America once again. Let’s be honest. Asia has received all of the love from the Premier League for the past six years since they hosted the first Premier League Asia Trophy to promote itself in the Far East. Since it’s debut in Malaysia in 2003, the Premier League has returned to Asia every single time (every two years) and most recently during this past summer in China. While the next Asia Trophy isn’t until 2011 at a yet undecided host country, the only love the Americans may see is the final of the Carling Cup and that won’t happen until as early as 2011. Even then, I don’t see it happening. While the Carling Cup is not the best loved tournament, those supporters who follow the teams to the final will not want to pay tons more money to fly to America and back to watch their team when they usually play at Wembley.
- The 2010 World Cup is going to make the Premier League even more popular than now. There’s one country that’s more likely to benefit than any other in the 2010 World Cup and that’s England. Not necessarily the national team, but the top English football division, the Premier League. Players from most of the major countries are playing week-in week-out for the Premier League. Spain wins. The Premier League wins thanks to Fernando Torres and several other top Spanish players plying their trade in England. And you can go on with similar examples for many of the major countries. After the World Cup is over in July, expect some of the biggest global TV ratings the Premier League has ever seen in August, 2010. Premier League computers, play nice and schedule a big match during the first couple weeks of the season to take the Premier League off the richter scale.
Thoughts or opinions? And what are your soccer-related predictions for 2010? Respond via the comments feature below.