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The biggest problem with the roughing the QB rules as enforced - witness the MNF patty cake headslap on Brees and the very reasonable, even light, in the motion hit tackle on Wilson both getting 15 yard flags, just this week - is that it affects the competitive balanc of the game.

Teams can be following the rules, playing very sportsmanlike football and their entire efforts and the whole balance of the game get thrown out of whack, it makes the game random, ridiculous, subject to the whim of the ref, not a true sport.

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They need to get rid of automatic replay of all scoring plays and turnovers.  Now every exciting play is immediately followed by a hmm I wonder if it will stand.  We don't celebrate the play anymore,

Couple of thoughts: The popularity of the NFL increased with the rise in fantasy football.  I wonder if FFL reached its peak and is starting to tail off.  Maybe I'm way off, but it seems to me t

Perhaps.  But, there are a lot of other things that neuroscientists need to do. 1.  Establish an agreed upon pathology that differentiates CTE.  At present there are preliminary criteria, all of

Mark Cuban talks too much.

I like it when Cuban talks when it involves things about which he is knowledgeable. Unfortunately, he thinks he knows more about things than he actually does.

That said, I don't disagree with the general premise that the NFL could risk over-saturation. I'm just not buying Cuban's Implosion Theory, let alone that it will occur within 10 years.

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Guest General Tso

Mark Cuban talks too much.

I like it when Cuban talks when it involves things about which he is knowledgeable. Unfortunately, he thinks he knows more about things than he actually does.

Spot on. As someone who works with Executives at a Fortune 100 company every day I can attest to this. I call it the fog of success. When you become successful and rise to a position of power you stop getting questioned or criticized. Over time this creates a false sense of intelligence. This is how insufferable monsters are created.

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I think I'm in the vast minority here, but I find the parity to pretty annoying.

I prefer having a good idea who's good and who's not. I don't like the Playoffs coming down to which severely flawed team gets hot for a few games. The unpredictability I know adds a level of excitement that most love, but for me, it makes it all start to feel a little meaningless.

This is a league that just crowned Joe Flacco a world champion 8 months ago.

It's very likely that we'll watch a similar thing happen this year.

I prefer the longer compelling narrative of the NBA in that regard.

: goodposting:

I'll still watch but the entire league is full of mediocre teams with bipolar like efficiency. Every team is sever flawed and injuries are far more impact fil then ever .

It's a complete joke .

I don't really get how this is the NFL's fault that there are no superpowers right now. Do you want to get rid of the cap or something? Have the Dallas Yankees?

Allow teams to re-sign players they drafted at a discount on the salary cap implications.

This will allow teams to succeed by keeping the talent they developed in-house as well as keeping the fans happy by keeping their beloved players together.

Win-win.

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The big threat to football is the dwindling participation rate with youngsters. I just heard a stat on ESPN that youth participation rate is down for the fourth straight year. That's a trend that cannot be poo-poo'd. We may be seeing the golden years of the NFL right now.

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The big threat to football is the dwindling participation rate with youngsters. I just heard a stat on ESPN that youth participation rate is down for the fourth straight year. That's a trend that cannot be poo-poo'd. We may be seeing the golden years of the NFL right now.

Um- those years are already behind us.
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If football were an NFL player, I'd be "selling high" all day right now. I think its innate problems with head trauma combined with the surging popularity of soccer are going to relegate it to more of a second tier status eventually. I see soccer as the sport of the future in this country. It is starting to seep into the nation's bloodstream and many of the bellwether communities like LA and NYC are beginning to fall under its spell. Ratings and TV money are all on the rise. After yesterday's game I saw this:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/world-cup-2014-ratings-usa-712423


Team USA's first game — and win — of the 2014 FIFA World Cup brought a ratings best to ESPN.

Recommended

Overnight returns for the Monday evening match give the cable network a 7.0 rating. That's a World Cup best for ESPN, including last year's final (simulcast on ABC), leaving this Fast National ratings later this afternoon likely to produce a very strong audience.

ESPN has seen double-digit growth from 2000 over the first few games, but Univision's Spanish-language coverage has fared even stronger.

Fox paid massive amounts for the next two World Cups a while back:

Fox acquired the 2018 and 2022 World Cup rights in 2011 in a blind auction worth $425 million, more than quadrupling the $100 million ESPN had paid for the 2010 and 2014 television rights. “There is no question that ESPN was in love, wanted to get married, and was left at the altar,” Miller says.

And ESPN has countered by investing heavily in MLS and the USMNT. A big push is coming in the near future and that will only grow the avalanche.

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If football were an NFL player, I'd be "selling high" all day right now. I think its innate problems with head trauma combined with the surging popularity of soccer are going to relegate it to more of a second tier status eventually. I see soccer as the sport of the future in this country. It is starting to seep into the nation's bloodstream and many of the bellwether communities like LA and NYC are beginning to fall under its spell. Ratings and TV money are all on the rise. After yesterday's game I saw this:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/world-cup-2014-ratings-usa-712423

Team USA's first game — and win — of the 2014 FIFA World Cup brought a ratings best to ESPN.

Recommended

Overnight returns for the Monday evening match give the cable network a 7.0 rating. That's a World Cup best for ESPN, including last year's final (simulcast on ABC), leaving this Fast National ratings later this afternoon likely to produce a very strong audience.

ESPN has seen double-digit growth from 2000 over the first few games, but Univision's Spanish-language coverage has fared even stronger.

Fox paid massive amounts for the next two World Cups a while back:

Fox acquired the 2018 and 2022 World Cup rights in 2011 in a blind auction worth $425 million, more than quadrupling the $100 million ESPN had paid for the 2010 and 2014 television rights. “There is no question that ESPN was in love, wanted to get married, and was left at the altar,” Miller says.

And ESPN has countered by investing heavily in MLS and the USMNT. A big push is coming in the near future and that will only grow the avalanche.

Seattle's soccer attandance is on par with top Euro clubs.

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If football were an NFL player, I'd be "selling high" all day right now. I think its innate problems with head trauma combined with the surging popularity of soccer are going to relegate it to more of a second tier status eventually. I see soccer as the sport of the future in this country. It is starting to seep into the nation's bloodstream and many of the bellwether communities like LA and NYC are beginning to fall under its spell. Ratings and TV money are all on the rise. After yesterday's game I saw this:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/world-cup-2014-ratings-usa-712423

Team USA's first game — and win — of the 2014 FIFA World Cup brought a ratings best to ESPN.

Recommended

Overnight returns for the Monday evening match give the cable network a 7.0 rating. That's a World Cup best for ESPN, including last year's final (simulcast on ABC), leaving this Fast National ratings later this afternoon likely to produce a very strong audience.

ESPN has seen double-digit growth from 2000 over the first few games, but Univision's Spanish-language coverage has fared even stronger.

Fox paid massive amounts for the next two World Cups a while back:

Fox acquired the 2018 and 2022 World Cup rights in 2011 in a blind auction worth $425 million, more than quadrupling the $100 million ESPN had paid for the 2010 and 2014 television rights. “There is no question that ESPN was in love, wanted to get married, and was left at the altar,” Miller says.

And ESPN has countered by investing heavily in MLS and the USMNT. A big push is coming in the near future and that will only grow the avalanche.

Seattle's soccer attandance is on par with top Euro clubs.

Hockey and Nascar attendance have always been massive, too. Football is king because of broadcasting, and Soccer is going to have a hard time taking it down as long as it's played in such a broadcast-unfriendly format.

Really, it's hard to think of another sport that's as perfectly-suited for television as football.

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If football were an NFL player, I'd be "selling high" all day right now. I think its innate problems with head trauma combined with the surging popularity of soccer are going to relegate it to more of a second tier status eventually. I see soccer as the sport of the future in this country. It is starting to seep into the nation's bloodstream and many of the bellwether communities like LA and NYC are beginning to fall under its spell. Ratings and TV money are all on the rise. After yesterday's game I saw this:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/world-cup-2014-ratings-usa-712423

Team USA's first game — and win — of the 2014 FIFA World Cup brought a ratings best to ESPN.

Recommended

Overnight returns for the Monday evening match give the cable network a 7.0 rating. That's a World Cup best for ESPN, including last year's final (simulcast on ABC), leaving this Fast National ratings later this afternoon likely to produce a very strong audience.

ESPN has seen double-digit growth from 2000 over the first few games, but Univision's Spanish-language coverage has fared even stronger.

Fox paid massive amounts for the next two World Cups a while back:

Fox acquired the 2018 and 2022 World Cup rights in 2011 in a blind auction worth $425 million, more than quadrupling the $100 million ESPN had paid for the 2010 and 2014 television rights. “There is no question that ESPN was in love, wanted to get married, and was left at the altar,” Miller says.

And ESPN has countered by investing heavily in MLS and the USMNT. A big push is coming in the near future and that will only grow the avalanche.

Seattle's soccer attandance is on par with top Euro clubs.

Hockey and Nascar attendance have always been massive, too. Football is king because of broadcasting, and Soccer is going to have a hard time taking it down as long as it's played in such a broadcast-unfriendly format.

Really, it's hard to think of another sport that's as perfectly-suited for television as football.

Ya I agree I was just stating a fact supporting the idea of it. I can understand it but also think it's weird they fight so hard for the blackout system. I've attended hundreds of baseball games and find the experience very enjoyable. I've only been to one football game in person and the experience was miserable to me. Had mid premium seats at Ford field and I might as well been sitting in cramped airplane. The seats were designed as such that I had to have my legs 90 degrees or less and I was uncomfortable the whole game. I couldn't even fathom sitting at an endzone. I understand hardcore fans find this endearing but it has to be a pretty bad perspective for half the game. Then to top it off the prices for everything (and this goes for all sports and movies) is just ridiuclous. I'd much rather just stay at home and have all the games at my finger tips and I'm not alone in that sentiment. I haven't even mentioned the scary fan situations that are a common occurence at NFL stadiums.

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Soccer is better on TV. 45 minute halves with no commercials. Short halftime. The whole thing is over in < 2 hours. Bad for the broadcasters, but good for the viewers. All signs are trending upward. The World Cup is blowing up and the Premier League and Champions League are slowly gaining followers.

http://awfulannouncing.com/2014/nbc-boasts-most-watched-month-of-premier-league-soccer-in-u-s-history.html

Going into the final round of games, NBC had won an average of about 440,000 viewers for each match, nearly double the audience drummed up by ESPN (DIS) and Fox Soccer (FOXA) in prior broadcasts. During the season thus far, NBC managed to triple the overall English Premier League audience in the U.S., bringing in a total of 30.5 million viewers.

http://fortune.com/2014/06/12/espn-world-cup-fox/

With the World Cup, Fox has added a growing franchise to its stable. After 20 years of promoting the sport to the American public, international soccer seems to be catching on at last. Compared to the 2006 World Cup in Germany, ratings for the 2010 tournament in South Africa were up 41%, averaging 3.3 million viewers per match. “A generation worth of investment is finally starting to reap some benefits,” says Chris Bevilacqua, a media industry adviser who has structured sports right deals.

Football is agonizing to watch these days because they stop the action whenever they can to cut away for commercials. To watch an entire football game is a 3+ hour commitment. That's a problem. Not as much as the head trauma issues though. Football is a sport that increasingly nobody would want their kids to play. It's religion in the USA at this exact moment in time, but it shares a lot of the same negative traits as past kings like baseball (long and drawn-out games) and boxing (unhealthy to participate in -- albeit with far less corruption). I see it as something of a dinosaur and my sense is that its popularity will decline steadily over the next 20-30 years as the current generation of kids grows up.

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If football were an NFL player, I'd be "selling high" all day right now. I think its innate problems with head trauma combined with the surging popularity of soccer are going to relegate it to more of a second tier status eventually. I see soccer as the sport of the future in this country. It is starting to seep into the nation's bloodstream and many of the bellwether communities like LA and NYC are beginning to fall under its spell. Ratings and TV money are all on the rise. After yesterday's game I saw this:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/world-cup-2014-ratings-usa-712423

Team USA's first game — and win — of the 2014 FIFA World Cup brought a ratings best to ESPN.

Recommended

Overnight returns for the Monday evening match give the cable network a 7.0 rating. That's a World Cup best for ESPN, including last year's final (simulcast on ABC), leaving this Fast National ratings later this afternoon likely to produce a very strong audience.

ESPN has seen double-digit growth from 2000 over the first few games, but Univision's Spanish-language coverage has fared even stronger.

Fox paid massive amounts for the next two World Cups a while back:

Fox acquired the 2018 and 2022 World Cup rights in 2011 in a blind auction worth $425 million, more than quadrupling the $100 million ESPN had paid for the 2010 and 2014 television rights. “There is no question that ESPN was in love, wanted to get married, and was left at the altar,” Miller says.

And ESPN has countered by investing heavily in MLS and the USMNT. A big push is coming in the near future and that will only grow the avalanche.

Seattle's soccer attandance is on par with top Euro clubs.

Hockey and Nascar attendance have always been massive, too. Football is king because of broadcasting, and Soccer is going to have a hard time taking it down as long as it's played in such a broadcast-unfriendly format.

Really, it's hard to think of another sport that's as perfectly-suited for television as football.

Ya I agree I was just stating a fact supporting the idea of it. I can understand it but also think it's weird they fight so hard for the blackout system. I've attended hundreds of baseball games and find the experience very enjoyable. I've only been to one football game in person and the experience was miserable to me. Had mid premium seats at Ford field and I might as well been sitting in cramped airplane. The seats were designed as such that I had to have my legs 90 degrees or less and I was uncomfortable the whole game. I couldn't even fathom sitting at an endzone. I understand hardcore fans find this endearing but it has to be a pretty bad perspective for half the game. Then to top it off the prices for everything (and this goes for all sports and movies) is just ridiuclous. I'd much rather just stay at home and have all the games at my finger tips and I'm not alone in that sentiment. I haven't even mentioned the scary fan situations that are a common occurence at NFL stadiums.

Minor league games are still fairly reasonable.

and more fun.

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It seems we've been told for the last 20 years that soccer was going to be passing football in the next 10. Somehow, it never happens. I don't think it will this time either.

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It seems we've been told for the last 20 years that soccer was going to be passing football in the next 10. Somehow, it never happens. I don't think it will this time either.

Longer.

I am 41. I played youth soccer, and the number of kids in youth soccer was more than the number in football, and blah blah blah.

World Cup ratings are up, and killing it? Well, great, that just means Americans can pull their heads out of their fantasy football websites for the REALLY big events. Oh, as long as there's no hockey, basketball, or football.

Footie can rise in popularity without football going down in popularity, people know this, right?

When an MLS game on TV, draws real numbers, we'll be on to something.

What percentage of Americans even know how to find an MLS game on TV?

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Soccer is better on TV. 45 minute halves with no commercials. Short halftime. The whole thing is over in < 2 hours. Bad for the broadcasters, but good for the viewers. All signs are trending upward. The World Cup is blowing up and the Premier League and Champions League are slowly gaining followers.

Yup. And guess who decides what gets broadcast?

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Soccer is better on TV. 45 minute halves with no commercials. Short halftime. The whole thing is over in < 2 hours. Bad for the broadcasters, but good for the viewers. All signs are trending upward. The World Cup is blowing up and the Premier League and Champions League are slowly gaining followers.

Yup. And guess who decides what gets broadcast?

I wonder why they haven't just started running ad bars along the bottom of the screen during play. With the advent of the DVR, and people fast forwarding through commercials, seems like just a matter of time. I could see channels doing away with commercial breaks, and just running ads during the broadcast.

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It seems we've been told for the last 20 years that soccer was going to be passing football in the next 10. Somehow, it never happens. I don't think it will this time either.

Longer.

I am 41. I played youth soccer, and the number of kids in youth soccer was more than the number in football, and blah blah blah.

World Cup ratings are up, and killing it? Well, great, that just means Americans can pull their heads out of their fantasy football websites for the REALLY big events. Oh, as long as there's no hockey, basketball, or football.

Footie can rise in popularity without football going down in popularity, people know this, right?

When an MLS game on TV, draws real numbers, we'll be on to something.

What percentage of Americans even know how to find an MLS game on TV?

Agreed. Americans only care about soccer when it's "America" playing in it. Olympics and World Cup. Our attention span can't handle soccer more than that and it's only because the other, more distracting sports, aren't directly competing with it.
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Soccer is better on TV. 45 minute halves with no commercials. Short halftime. The whole thing is over in < 2 hours. Bad for the broadcasters, but good for the viewers. All signs are trending upward. The World Cup is blowing up and the Premier League and Champions League are slowly gaining followers.

http://awfulannouncing.com/2014/nbc-boasts-most-watched-month-of-premier-league-soccer-in-u-s-history.html

Going into the final round of games, NBC had won an average of about 440,000 viewers for each match, nearly double the audience drummed up by ESPN (DIS) and Fox Soccer (FOXA) in prior broadcasts. During the season thus far, NBC managed to triple the overall English Premier League audience in the U.S., bringing in a total of 30.5 million viewers.

http://fortune.com/2014/06/12/espn-world-cup-fox/

With the World Cup, Fox has added a growing franchise to its stable. After 20 years of promoting the sport to the American public, international soccer seems to be catching on at last. Compared to the 2006 World Cup in Germany, ratings for the 2010 tournament in South Africa were up 41%, averaging 3.3 million viewers per match. “A generation worth of investment is finally starting to reap some benefits,” says Chris Bevilacqua, a media industry adviser who has structured sports right deals.

Football is agonizing to watch these days because they stop the action whenever they can to cut away for commercials. To watch an entire football game is a 3+ hour commitment. That's a problem. Not as much as the head trauma issues though. Football is a sport that increasingly nobody would want their kids to play. It's religion in the USA at this exact moment in time, but it shares a lot of the same negative traits as past kings like baseball (long and drawn-out games) and boxing (unhealthy to participate in -- albeit with far less corruption). I see it as something of a dinosaur and my sense is that its popularity will decline steadily over the next 20-30 years as the current generation of kids grows up.

The only reason I see football (The NFL) might possibly decline is because of the greed of the NFL and it's owners/players. I'm not usually a greed type of guy but the increasing addition of commercials and Thursday/Saturday/ and now possibly Friday games is ruining what football was. The fights between the NFL and the NFLPA are growing increasingly tiresome. Players holding out so they can "feed their families" Not that I don't think players should get paid mind you but it gets tiring.

As a fan I can't take my family of 5 to a game without dropping close to a grand, that is ridiculous. I'd rather watch on TV if my team isn't blacked out.

IMO the NFL needs to wake up and reverse some of these decisions or it will be the dinosaur you speak of.

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Soccer is better on TV. 45 minute halves with no commercials. Short halftime. The whole thing is over in < 2 hours. Bad for the broadcasters, but good for the viewers. All signs are trending upward. The World Cup is blowing up and the Premier League and Champions League are slowly gaining followers.

Yup. And guess who decides what gets broadcast?

The people spending hundreds of millions of dollars on soccer broadcasting rights?

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It seems we've been told for the last 20 years that soccer was going to be passing football in the next 10. Somehow, it never happens. I don't think it will this time either.

Longer.

I am 41. I played youth soccer, and the number of kids in youth soccer was more than the number in football, and blah blah blah.

World Cup ratings are up, and killing it? Well, great, that just means Americans can pull their heads out of their fantasy football websites for the REALLY big events. Oh, as long as there's no hockey, basketball, or football.

Footie can rise in popularity without football going down in popularity, people know this, right?

When an MLS game on TV, draws real numbers, we'll be on to something.

What percentage of Americans even know how to find an MLS game on TV?

MLS is approximately the soccer equivalent of the Sun Belt Conference. How many people watch those games? The viewing figures for the top level competitions are on the rise, as I pointed out with those links. Both the Champions League and the English Premier League are expanding in popularity.

The difference between now and 30-40 years ago is the FIFA video game franchise (massively popular among kids in the USA), YouTube and the Internet, and expanded cable TV. It's very easy to watch guys like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi now. When I was growing up, there was no way I could really watch the top leagues or the top players. Without that access, of course you're not going to take an interest in the sport.

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Soccer is better on TV. 45 minute halves with no commercials. Short halftime. The whole thing is over in < 2 hours. Bad for the broadcasters, but good for the viewers. All signs are trending upward. The World Cup is blowing up and the Premier League and Champions League are slowly gaining followers.

Yup. And guess who decides what gets broadcast?

The people spending hundreds of millions of dollars on soccer broadcasting rights?

Versus the people spending $4 billion for football broadcasting rights.

Broadcast Rights

Annually, the NFL redistributes upwards of $4 billion in radio, TV and digital earnings across its 32 teams -- $125 million a piece, plus an equal share for the league -- and that number shows no sign of declining. The 19 highest-rated fall TV programs (and 28 of the top 30) were NFL games, and this year's Super Bowl was the most-watched program ever.

ESPN pays $1 billion per season (18 games).

DirecTV pays $1 billion per season (8 games plus NFL Sunday Ticket).

Fox pays $712.5 million per season (102 games).

NBC pays $650 million per season (18 games).

CBS pays $622.5 million per season (102 games).

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Soccer is better on TV. 45 minute halves with no commercials. Short halftime. The whole thing is over in < 2 hours. Bad for the broadcasters, but good for the viewers. All signs are trending upward. The World Cup is blowing up and the Premier League and Champions League are slowly gaining followers.

Yup. And guess who decides what gets broadcast?

I wonder why they haven't just started running ad bars along the bottom of the screen during play. With the advent of the DVR, and people fast forwarding through commercials, seems like just a matter of time. I could see channels doing away with commercial breaks, and just running ads during the broadcast.

I think it's a question of focus. Subliminal messaging doesn't work, and anything obtrusive enough to demand attention away from the action is probably going to be a deal-breaker among the TV-watching public. Scripted shows have resorted to shameless product placement, but that doesn't really work for sports. I'd think advertisers would probably rather go to more of a Nascar model, where they're sponsoring the event and getting their logo plastered all over the action on the field.

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Soccer is better on TV. 45 minute halves with no commercials. Short halftime. The whole thing is over in < 2 hours. Bad for the broadcasters, but good for the viewers. All signs are trending upward. The World Cup is blowing up and the Premier League and Champions League are slowly gaining followers.

Yup. And guess who decides what gets broadcast?

The people spending hundreds of millions of dollars on soccer broadcasting rights?

Versus the people spending $4 billion for football broadcasting rights.

Broadcast Rights

Annually, the NFL redistributes upwards of $4 billion in radio, TV and digital earnings across its 32 teams -- $125 million a piece, plus an equal share for the league -- and that number shows no sign of declining. The 19 highest-rated fall TV programs (and 28 of the top 30) were NFL games, and this year's Super Bowl was the most-watched program ever.

ESPN pays $1 billion per season (18 games).

DirecTV pays $1 billion per season (8 games plus NFL Sunday Ticket).

Fox pays $712.5 million per season (102 games).

NBC pays $650 million per season (18 games).

CBS pays $622.5 million per season (102 games).

Yea, you are talking about the NFL at the absolute peak of its popularity and soccer as the cagey upstart. Of course it will lag far behind today.

Looking ahead, I see that gap shrinking considerably. If you were mega-rich, an MLS franchise would have been a tremendous investment 3-4 years ago. The price of playing ball is going up rapidly though, with New York City FC paying $100 million for their franchise.

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To me the biggest threat to football right now is their talk of wanting to expand overseas. That is just plan stupid IMO.

Why?

I'm thinking it may be more trouble than it's worth. Considering how football is less popular elsewhere, I don't see a team catching on overseas quickly enough to turn a profit that would make it worth the cost.
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Soccer is better on TV. 45 minute halves with no commercials. Short halftime. The whole thing is over in < 2 hours. Bad for the broadcasters, but good for the viewers. All signs are trending upward. The World Cup is blowing up and the Premier League and Champions League are slowly gaining followers.

Yup. And guess who decides what gets broadcast?

The people spending hundreds of millions of dollars on soccer broadcasting rights?

Versus the people spending $4 billion for football broadcasting rights.

Broadcast Rights

Annually, the NFL redistributes upwards of $4 billion in radio, TV and digital earnings across its 32 teams -- $125 million a piece, plus an equal share for the league -- and that number shows no sign of declining. The 19 highest-rated fall TV programs (and 28 of the top 30) were NFL games, and this year's Super Bowl was the most-watched program ever.

ESPN pays $1 billion per season (18 games).

DirecTV pays $1 billion per season (8 games plus NFL Sunday Ticket).

Fox pays $712.5 million per season (102 games).

NBC pays $650 million per season (18 games).

CBS pays $622.5 million per season (102 games).

Yea, you are talking about the NFL at the absolute peak of its popularity and soccer as the cagey upstart. Of course it will lag far behind today.

Looking ahead, I see that gap shrinking considerably. If you were mega-rich, an MLS franchise would have been a tremendous investment 3-4 years ago. The price of playing ball is going up rapidly though, with New York City FC paying $100 million for their franchise.

At those prices, you could buy an entire 20-team league for the cost of a single Los Angeles NBA franchise (and that's the price for the biggest media market in America- in reality, you could probably get yourself a 30-team league for that). If Soccer is really going to rise in popularity to rival the major sports, that's still a tremendous investment.

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Also just saw this today:

http://bleacherreport.com/tb/ddkav


ESPN may have lost the broadcast rights to the World Cup, but the network is making the most of its last hurrah with the United States-Ghana match turning in a very solid 7.0 rating. That goes down as the highest-rated men's soccer match ever on the cable channel. The 2011 Women's World Cup Final scored a 7.4 rating.

But even before that game, ESPN was already enjoying some of its best ratings ever. Through the first 11 games, the networks of ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC had averaged about 3.7 million viewers. That was a 2 percent bump over the 2010 World Cup, which of course included a weekend game featuring the United States and England on ABC. If the ratings from that England match are removed, ratings were up a rather mind-blowing 37 percent.

Those numbers don't even include the 209,000 viewers who are tuned into the average minute of a match on the WatchESPN app, which means nearly 4 million people are watching the World Cup on ESPN at any given moment.

As the ratings from the first day of the World Cup illustrated, this might even represent less than half of the total American TV audience. Univision has the Spanish-language rights and although its numbers have not yet been released, the network reported more than 5.1 million people tuned in to see Brazil play Croatia as opposed to the 4.4 million on ESPN.

I have been watching a lot of this games and this World Cup has been super entertaining. I recommend checking it out if you have any interest. Tomorrow's games look pretty bleak, but Colombia/Ivory Coast and England/Uruguay on Thursday should be good.

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Also just saw this today:

http://bleacherreport.com/tb/ddkav

ESPN may have lost the broadcast rights to the World Cup, but the network is making the most of its last hurrah with the United States-Ghana match turning in a very solid 7.0 rating. That goes down as the highest-rated men's soccer match ever on the cable channel. The 2011 Women's World Cup Final scored a 7.4 rating.

But even before that game, ESPN was already enjoying some of its best ratings ever. Through the first 11 games, the networks of ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC had averaged about 3.7 million viewers. That was a 2 percent bump over the 2010 World Cup, which of course included a weekend game featuring the United States and England on ABC. If the ratings from that England match are removed, ratings were up a rather mind-blowing 37 percent.

Those numbers don't even include the 209,000 viewers who are tuned into the average minute of a match on the WatchESPN app, which means nearly 4 million people are watching the World Cup on ESPN at any given moment.

As the ratings from the first day of the World Cup illustrated, this might even represent less than half of the total American TV audience. Univision has the Spanish-language rights and although its numbers have not yet been released, the network reported more than 5.1 million people tuned in to see Brazil play Croatia as opposed to the 4.4 million on ESPN.

I have been watching a lot of this games and this World Cup has been super entertaining. I recommend checking it out if you have any interest. Tomorrow's games look pretty bleak, but Colombia/Ivory Coast and England/Uruguay on Thursday should be good.

You're really pointing to a 7.0 rating in a world championship match involving the U.S. as a threat to American football? The Seahawks-Redskins wild card game had a 21.5 rating. The Super Bowl pulls ratings above 45.

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Also just saw this today:

http://bleacherreport.com/tb/ddkav

ESPN may have lost the broadcast rights to the World Cup, but the network is making the most of its last hurrah with the United States-Ghana match turning in a very solid 7.0 rating. That goes down as the highest-rated men's soccer match ever on the cable channel. The 2011 Women's World Cup Final scored a 7.4 rating.

But even before that game, ESPN was already enjoying some of its best ratings ever. Through the first 11 games, the networks of ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC had averaged about 3.7 million viewers. That was a 2 percent bump over the 2010 World Cup, which of course included a weekend game featuring the United States and England on ABC. If the ratings from that England match are removed, ratings were up a rather mind-blowing 37 percent.

Those numbers don't even include the 209,000 viewers who are tuned into the average minute of a match on the WatchESPN app, which means nearly 4 million people are watching the World Cup on ESPN at any given moment.

As the ratings from the first day of the World Cup illustrated, this might even represent less than half of the total American TV audience. Univision has the Spanish-language rights and although its numbers have not yet been released, the network reported more than 5.1 million people tuned in to see Brazil play Croatia as opposed to the 4.4 million on ESPN.

I have been watching a lot of this games and this World Cup has been super entertaining. I recommend checking it out if you have any interest. Tomorrow's games look pretty bleak, but Colombia/Ivory Coast and England/Uruguay on Thursday should be good.

You're really pointing to a 7.0 rating in a world championship match involving the U.S. as a threat to American football? The Seahawks-Redskins wild card game had a 21.5 rating. The Super Bowl pulls ratings above 45.

My argument isn't that soccer is more popular in the USA right now. It obviously isn't.

All of the trends are pointing upwards though. MLS gets stronger every year. Television ratings for major competitions continue to rise. Notoriety of foreign superstars is at an all-time high, with Lionel Messi recently becoming the first soccer player to rank among the 10 most popular athletes in the USA.

On the other hand, American football has a real problem with head trauma. Not a good advertisement for the sport when you've got stars like Junior Seau killing themselves because of what the game did to their brains. I played (sparingly) in high school. If I have kids I won't forbid them from playing, but I won't really recommend it either. Good for building toughness and perseverance. Bad for your body and mind. It's about a half step up from WWE. If you want to watch people destroy each other, you might as well just go all out and watch UFC, which is also gaining steam.

I see soccer trending upward while football is cresting a two-sided hill with a downslope on the horizon. It won't be a swift decline. Look at baseball. It was the "national pastime" of my dad's generation and it's increasingly becoming more and more of a niche thing, with World Series ratings dropping steadily and the sport failing to capture young audiences.

In an article for Bloomberg, Jonathan Mahler says that the median age viewers of the 2012 World Series was 53.4 years old, more than 12 years older than the median age for the 2013 NBA Finals and more than eight years older than the median age for the Super Bowl

Same thing happened with boxing and horse racing in the early-mid 20th century. My hunch is that football is headed that way.

I've spent a lot of time in urban centers like SF and LA over the past few years. These communities tend to set the trends, which slowly seep out into the middle of the country. I see soccer gaining a lot of momentum in these places, especially with the strong foreign influence and diversity. What sets it apart from things like NASCAR and hockey is its demonstrated potency at infiltrating foreign markets. Brazil is in some ways a similar country to parts of the USA and you can see what the game has become there. It has a real viral appeal with people and you're beginning to see some of that domestically.

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If there had been a Bills/Jags preseason game on, it would have stolen a significant portion of those World Cup viewers. The reality is that when there's nothing better on, Americans like to support the USA soccer team and be able to talk about the World Cup at work. It's like the Olympics. That's pretty much it.

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If there had been a Bills/Jags preseason game on, it would have stolen a significant portion of those World Cup viewers. The reality is that when there's nothing better on, Americans like to support the USA soccer team and be able to talk about the World Cup at work. It's like the Olympics. That's pretty much it.

That's pretty accurate for casual fans, but bear in mind that TV ratings for the English Premier League and UEFA Champions League (which is like a European super league) are rising as well. That and the popularity of the FIFA video games kind of punch some holes in the idea that we only care when it's the USA in a World Cup. The Brazil/Croatia game last Thursday that kicked off the World Cup had record audiences in the USA:

http://www.deadline.com/2014/06/world-cup-ratings-opener-brazil-croatia/

PREVIOUS, 7:55 AM: EPSN has scored with the World Cup — at least in the first game as Brazil held off Croatia. The opener featuring the host team against a determined Croatia side yesterday averaged a 3.2 overnight rating in the metered markets, a 52% increase compared to the 2010 opening match, which drew a 2.1 rating and pitted host South Africa against Mexico. The network is saying Brazil-Croatia is the highest overnight rating for a World Cup opening game on record, according to Nielsen, since ESPN began tracking metered markets for the World Cup in 1998. The final demo ratings are expected later today and live sports usually see a shift.

ESPN is showing all the games this year and has said its best ratings yet for the world’s biggest sporting event are “a foregone conclusion.”

Keep in mind that most of the posters on here are probably 25+. Those are football and baseball generations through-and-through. Whether or not they have great awareness of what younger demographics are up to is doubtful, apart from parents with kids. And that's really where soccer appears to be strongest in the USA (though football is also really strong with these groups). Parents influence what their kids like, but if it doesn't stick then those kids won't pass it on to their own children. My guess is that this is what baseball is experiencing. On that note...

http://www.espnfc.com/major-league-soccer/story/1740529/mls-catches-mlb-in-popularity-with-kidssays-espn-poll

Are MLS players now America’s “Boys of Summer?”

For the first time in the 20-year history of the ESPN Sports Poll, Major League Soccer has caught up with Major League Baseball in one significant marker of popularity.

In the survey, both leagues can claim 18 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds as avid fans of their sport, the poll said.

The ESPN Sports Poll Annual Report, which is managed by Luker on Trends, interviews 1,500 Americans per month and tracks interest in 31 different sports. In 2012, the poll determined soccer was America's second-most popular sport for those aged 12-24, ahead of NBA, MLB and college football. Respondents are asked to rank their affinity for sports (how avid a fan they are), athletes, sponsorships and other trends.

The NFL led the poll with 39 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds saying they are avid fans. The NBA, NCAA football and NCAA basketball were all over 23 percent. The current poll was released on the eve of MLS’s 19th season.

“MLS has been around since 1996,” said Rich Luker, who has been with the poll since its launch. “It is phenomenal that in just one generation it has gone from zero adherents to tying MLB, especially when you recognize this is the first generation to only know the United States with a professional soccer league. MLS is in their generational DNA.”

Luker admits it would have been difficult to predict this outcome event five years ago.

"It was not so long ago we used to do focus groups and raise MLS to the room and hear crickets in response," he said. "Although a lot of American kids were playing in organized soccer environments, there was no connection between that game, which everyone plays to learn the basics, and MLS.

"MLS also did not have a defined personality that sufficiently contrasted to the European and South American leagues."

The poll suggests that reality has changed significantly.

"Over the last five years, our research shows even American [soccer] fans who were born in other parts of the world, like Europe and South America, are starting to respect MLS," he said. "They have seen the fan bases in Portland and Seattle. It is hard not to be impressed.

"You need to understand, [the] 12-17 [demographic] is among the hardest to win over. At that age, they follow a whole lot of everything."

Luker couldn't point to one specific thing that is driving the change.

"[David] Beckham’s stardom definitely plays a role," he said. "EA Sports' FIFA [franchise] has also contributed to the liking and knowledge of the sport in a way other sports video games have not, because Americans really did not know much about soccer before they started to play, as opposed to Madden, where they already understood plenty about the NFL."

The sports poll will track the trend to see if it continues over the next 12 months.

"There is a lot of evidence to suggest MLS's growth will continue," Luker predicted.

"Now that EPL [English Premier League] and the other leagues are widely available on television, the sport of soccer is much more likely to be part of social conversations, which, in turn, increases the likelihood of people taking the underdog stance of supporting MLS and continuing to grow the league.

"While there are questions about which direction MLB will go in for 12- to 17-year-olds, we have no reason to believe the trend for MLS will be anything but up."

This is all good news for soccer, but doesn't really paint a grim picture for football. I don't think football has begun to slip yet. I anticipate that happening when more of these soccer kids grow up and have kids of their own. Right now they're heavily influenced by parents who grew up in a football climate, just like how those parents were influenced by their baseball-loving parents.

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If there had been a Bills/Jags preseason game on, it would have stolen a significant portion of those World Cup viewers. The reality is that when there's nothing better on, Americans like to support the USA soccer team and be able to talk about the World Cup at work. It's like the Olympics. That's pretty much it.

That's pretty accurate for casual fans, but bear in mind that TV ratings for the English Premier League and UEFA Champions League (which is like a European super league) are rising as well. That and the popularity of the FIFA video games kind of punch some holes in the idea that we only care when it's the USA in a World Cup. The Brazil/Croatia game last Thursday that kicked off the World Cup had record audiences in the USA:

http://www.deadline.com/2014/06/world-cup-ratings-opener-brazil-croatia/

PREVIOUS, 7:55 AM: EPSN has scored with the World Cup — at least in the first game as Brazil held off Croatia. The opener featuring the host team against a determined Croatia side yesterday averaged a 3.2 overnight rating in the metered markets, a 52% increase compared to the 2010 opening match, which drew a 2.1 rating and pitted host South Africa against Mexico. The network is saying Brazil-Croatia is the highest overnight rating for a World Cup opening game on record, according to Nielsen, since ESPN began tracking metered markets for the World Cup in 1998. The final demo ratings are expected later today and live sports usually see a shift.

ESPN is showing all the games this year and has said its best ratings yet for the world’s biggest sporting event are “a foregone conclusion.”

Keep in mind that most of the posters on here are probably 25+. Those are football and baseball generations through-and-through. Whether or not they have great awareness of what younger demographics are up to is doubtful, apart from parents with kids. And that's really where soccer appears to be strongest in the USA (though football is also really strong with these groups). Parents influence what their kids like, but if it doesn't stick then those kids won't pass it on to their own children. My guess is that this is what baseball is experiencing. On that note...

http://www.espnfc.com/major-league-soccer/story/1740529/mls-catches-mlb-in-popularity-with-kidssays-espn-poll

Are MLS players now America’s “Boys of Summer?”

For the first time in the 20-year history of the ESPN Sports Poll, Major League Soccer has caught up with Major League Baseball in one significant marker of popularity.

In the survey, both leagues can claim 18 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds as avid fans of their sport, the poll said.

The ESPN Sports Poll Annual Report, which is managed by Luker on Trends, interviews 1,500 Americans per month and tracks interest in 31 different sports. In 2012, the poll determined soccer was America's second-most popular sport for those aged 12-24, ahead of NBA, MLB and college football. Respondents are asked to rank their affinity for sports (how avid a fan they are), athletes, sponsorships and other trends.

The NFL led the poll with 39 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds saying they are avid fans. The NBA, NCAA football and NCAA basketball were all over 23 percent. The current poll was released on the eve of MLS’s 19th season.

“MLS has been around since 1996,” said Rich Luker, who has been with the poll since its launch. “It is phenomenal that in just one generation it has gone from zero adherents to tying MLB, especially when you recognize this is the first generation to only know the United States with a professional soccer league. MLS is in their generational DNA.”

Luker admits it would have been difficult to predict this outcome event five years ago.

"It was not so long ago we used to do focus groups and raise MLS to the room and hear crickets in response," he said. "Although a lot of American kids were playing in organized soccer environments, there was no connection between that game, which everyone plays to learn the basics, and MLS.

"MLS also did not have a defined personality that sufficiently contrasted to the European and South American leagues."

The poll suggests that reality has changed significantly.

"Over the last five years, our research shows even American [soccer] fans who were born in other parts of the world, like Europe and South America, are starting to respect MLS," he said. "They have seen the fan bases in Portland and Seattle. It is hard not to be impressed.

"You need to understand, [the] 12-17 [demographic] is among the hardest to win over. At that age, they follow a whole lot of everything."

Luker couldn't point to one specific thing that is driving the change.

"[David] Beckham’s stardom definitely plays a role," he said. "EA Sports' FIFA [franchise] has also contributed to the liking and knowledge of the sport in a way other sports video games have not, because Americans really did not know much about soccer before they started to play, as opposed to Madden, where they already understood plenty about the NFL."

The sports poll will track the trend to see if it continues over the next 12 months.

"There is a lot of evidence to suggest MLS's growth will continue," Luker predicted.

"Now that EPL [English Premier League] and the other leagues are widely available on television, the sport of soccer is much more likely to be part of social conversations, which, in turn, increases the likelihood of people taking the underdog stance of supporting MLS and continuing to grow the league.

"While there are questions about which direction MLB will go in for 12- to 17-year-olds, we have no reason to believe the trend for MLS will be anything but up."

This is all good news for soccer, but doesn't really paint a grim picture for football. I don't think football has begun to slip yet. I anticipate that happening when more of these soccer kids grow up and have kids of their own. Right now they're heavily influenced by parents who grew up in a football climate, just like how those parents were influenced by their baseball-loving parents.

I've been hearing that theory since the 70s.

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There was no YouTube, no FIFA video games, and no easily-accessible elite level soccer on TV in the 70s. Otherwise it might well have happened.

Whether traditionalists are ready to embrace the change or not, the sport is growing. Almost all the signs point that way.

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Since the 70s....

So every decade since.

The generational sea change you are referring to hasn't really happened.

In fact, I'd say the NFL has gotten significantly stronger since the 70s.

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lol at all of this...this happens every time the World Cup is on...misguided soccer fans come out of the woodwork and toot the soccer horn because some of their games are getting press.

NFL is king and it has nothing to do with the ads or the format....it is king because of fantasy. Fantasy football, because of the low number of games and the many ways to easily keep track of a score (visually while the game is being played), is the driving force behind the astronomical interest in the NFL. That is not going to change anytime soon, as a matter of fact, it is actually poised to get bigger, as it is not uncommon at all for little kids as young as 10 to be involved in their own NFL fantasy leagues. Add in the NCAA football system, which on its own is probably the second most popular league in terms of attendance, eyes on games etc, and you have a total juggernaut.

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Soccer is relevant every four years to the general public, and then no one cares a lick about it for the next 47 months. Not really going to change. Add that the chronic hysteria around CTE that's dogged the nfl recently is also striking a chord with soccer moms who soon will be pulling their kids from the sport due to unfounded concerns about cumulative effects of headers.

Bottom line, soccer is rising in small increments, but it will always be a niche sport here in the U.S. and nothing more.

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Since the 70s....

So every decade since.

The generational sea change you are referring to hasn't really happened.

In fact, I'd say the NFL has gotten significantly stronger since the 70s.

Revenue has tripled just since 1998.

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As far as ratings go...

The NFL ratings are already incredibly high. How much higher can they realistically go (unless the NFL expands into other countries/continents)? Of course it's nearing a plateau...there's nowhere else for it to go.

Soccer's ratings are low enough that they can continue to climb steadily year-over-year and still not threaten the NFL for decades.

I guess I just don't think that the "NFL's ratings have peaked but soccer's continue to rise" is good logic for believing that soccer is destined to replace football. Not saying it won't happen, just that I think it's a flawed premise.

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As far as ratings go...

The NFL ratings are already incredibly high. How much higher can they realistically go (unless the NFL expands into other countries/continents)? Of course it's nearing a plateau...there's nowhere else for it to go.

Soccer's ratings are low enough that they can continue to climb steadily year-over-year and still not threaten the NFL for decades.

I guess I just don't think that the "NFL's ratings have peaked but soccer's continue to rise" is good logic for believing that soccer is destined to replace football. Not saying it won't happen, just that I think it's a flawed premise.

It's a crazy premise. Soccer is so far behind it laterally has nowhere to go but up.
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