I was driving to my office last Monday when I had one of those weird ideas I couldn’t quite shake, so I called a sports business prof from Penn’s Wharton School and, when he didn’t laugh me off the line, wrote it up.
In short, it says the NFL has a lot of problems, between player violence, concussions, and difficulty globalizing:
Each of the problems can be addressed. But taken together, it’s not unthinkable that the league’s popularity is at what the petroleum industry calls “peak oil”—the high point of production. If stadiums don’t sell out, if the best young athletes stop playing football and move to basketball, soccer, or baseball because their parents won’t let them, if the NFL’s ability to attract a live TV audience diminishes even a little bit due to new viewing patterns … well then, the NFL could use a hedge to secure its ever-growing ambitions.
Luckily, there’s one right under their noses: Major League Soccer.
I think it’s worth a read, or I wouldn’t have written it, obviously.
Kelly’s rec soccer team was a funny critter. They didn’t have anybody who appeared much interested in scoring a goal most of the season, except for the coach’s 8-year-old, who was a frequent call-up. But they played pretty good defense and the others teams were no great shakes … and the team surged late in the season. All of a sudden the team that couldn’t score was the second-best team in the league (ok, there were just four teams).
Anyway, that held through a single day of playoffs. First, Kelly’s team won 2-0 in the playoff semifinal. Kelly played a strong goalie, then scored in the second half of the game – truth be told, the 8-year-old did all the hard work and then made a great crossing pass to Kelly, who banged it home. Afterward, Kelly picked up the 8-y-o, who is tiny. It was a memorable moment. Why did we let Peter have the camera at that point?!?!
Anyway, the Revolution reached the final and … well, this wasn’t Hoosiers. Let’s just say it was a great season. If I can find everybody’s name, I’ll list the roster.