EXT - DAY
The Soccer Gods are storyboarding Saturday's MLS games. They are, as usual, way behind and desperate for ideas.
"Okay, the defender gets stripped in the penalty area, and the Rapids go the other way and get the winning goal."
"Hey, I know. What if he gets stripped in the opponent's side of the field? Then the counterattack will take longer, and we can build up the dread and horror."
"But that's, like, seventy yards. What happened to the other defenders?"
"They're going forward too."
"You don't know anything about soccer. If a fullback is making a run, someone's staying home on defense. Especially because we decided LA's a man down."
"They could be really old, or slow."
"Slow enough that at a dead run, they couldn't make up the distance against Conor Casey with the ball?"
"They could be really old, slow, and horrible."
"Oh, for - we did that bit all last year! Every single week! Ha ha, look at the bad defenders, they sure are bad and don't defend well. Can't you come up with some new material? Christ!"
"Oh. And what's your brilliant idea? Defending champions in last place, while the expansion team goes unbeaten, untied and unscored on. NOW who's being unbelievable?"
"It's a lot more interesting than your crap."
"Fine. We'll try both."
INT - DAY
Husband and wife, both soccer fans, are watching the Gold Pride-Breakers game. The Gold Pride, in short succession, bring in Brandi Chastain and Tiffeny Milbrett.
"Oh, my God. It's a tie game, and they're bringing in Milbrett? See, this is the problem with the American game. You sign people like this for the media attention, at the cost of players who can actually contribute."
"And what happens is, when the more familiar players perform poorly, it creates a cynicism among the media who actually gave the league a chance. So when the young players do emerge, the media won't pay attention to them, because they assume soccer stars are all overhyped."
"I mean, what is this? FC Old Pride? FC Golden Girls? I mean, Milbrett and Chastain were great when they were marching alongside Susan B. Anthony for women's suffrage, but here and now-"
Milbrett scores the winning goal.
"I guess you can't use that 'FC Old Pride' joke on your blog now."
"Yeah. I had high hopes for that one, too. I guess I'll go back to my joke about the second highest paid employee in WPS after Marta is the guy who has to put the letters on Nancy Augustyniak Goffi's shirt."
A soccer league is expanding during a serious economic recession. The new team is very popular and playing extremely well. Older teams are trotting out the most godawful crap, and their attendances are really licking the bishop.
1. What are some of the factors leading to the new team's success?
A. Hiring the coach from last year's champions
B. Signing new, exciting players
C. Fan support lifting the energy of the team
D. Stomach-churning snot-green uniforms making the opposition physically ill. Seriously, at what point can we say those things are worse than child abuse? By the way, the minor tweaks from Colorado and Los Angeles looked FANTASTIC on Saturday night, and I certainly hope that they don't hold blame the horrendous performances on the clothes.
2. What's the best way for old teams to deal with their current laughable performance?
A. Stay the course. We rode a wave of novelty support too, but the hard part of building a team takes years.
B. Move them. The reasons for another team's popularity are not relevant - we've lost our audience, and it's time to move on.
C. Change and adapt. What's working in the new markets that we can use? New players? New logos? New team name? New stadium?
D. Okay, I like the little flags on the sleeves, I do. It smacks of trying to exploit patriotism, but MLS isn't the first company to do that, not by a long shot. Besides, it's nice that the league is proud of American and Canadian soccer. But having Cuauhtemoc Blanco with an American flag on his sleeve? That's just wrong. It wasn't that long ago we were all so proud about the diversity of the league, now we're making Marvell Wynne wear a Maple Leaf? At least let the players pick their flags, if they're going to be there at all. Of course, that will make personalized jerseys more expensive, but they'll also be more fun.
3. Despite the troubled economic times, the soccer league has maintained its sponsorships from the previous year. What conclusions can we draw?
A. MLS is a fundamentally strong, and its audience is loyal. Although we'll see lower numbers in the short term, it's worth it to build brand loyalty and to maintain the soccer fan audience.
B. Numbers across the board are down, so sports sponsorships are a better deal for MLS than in other sports, where the costs don't justify the return.
C. Despite lower numbers in established markets, expansion makes MLS an attractive buy.
D. The league cut them a deal, because any sponsor is better than no sponsor - look at that Amway crap in San Jose on top of that Herbalife crap in Los Angeles, and if Xango is so god-damned wonderful, how about selling it legally, like, in stores and sh*t? You couldn't get a freaking fruit drink past the FDA of George W. Bush? Seriously?
Thank you. Please pass your monitor to the left.