Soccer

US World Cup ratings down 42 percent without American team

The lack of a U.S. team caused a big viewership drop for World Cup telecasts. The 48 group stage broadcasts on Fox and FS1 averaged 2,069,000 viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. That is down 42 percent from the 3.54 million average on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC four years ago and down 15 percent from the 2,429,000 average on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC eight years ago. Excluding games involving the U.S. team in previous World Cups, the average declined 28 percent from the 2014 tournament in Brazil and was up 1 percent from the 2010 tournament in South Africa. Most group-stage kickoff times this year were morning EDT, starting as early as 6 a.m., and the latest matches began at 2 p.m. Games in 2014 started mostly from noon to 4 p.m. EDT, while in 2010 games there were many matches at 10 a.m. and some as early as 7:30 a.m. Twenty-six group-stage matches were aired on Fox, up from six on ABC in 2014 and four on ABC in 2010. Ratings include only television viewers and not those who viewed digital streams. Spanish-language coverage for Telemundo and Universo, both part of Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal Inc., averaged 1.96 million viewers, including digital streaming. That was down 26 percent from the 2.64 million average on Univision and Unimas four years ago and up 7 percent from the 1.84 million average for Univision’s networks in 2010.

Of course ratings are down in the U.S. for the World Cup.  Without Team USA playing, there really isn’t much interest in it, except from those die-hard soccer fans.  But, this isn’t Europe or Latin America where soccer is almost a religion.  Here in America, it’s NFL or MLB as the two biggest pro sports….and then NBA and NHL a far distant second.  Soccer isn’t even in the running.  And, again, with Team USA not at the World Cup, most Americans aren’t paying attention.  So, nothing surprising in this article..

Federal judge says US women’s soccer team has no right to strike over wages before Olympics

A federal judge ruled the world champion U.S. women’s soccer team does not have the right to strike to seek improved conditions and wages before the Summer Olympics, seeming to end the prospect of an unprecedented disruption by one of the most successful American national teams. The case pits the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team Players Association against the U.S. Soccer Federation, which sued in February to clarify the strike issue. U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman ruled Friday the team remains bound by a no-strike provision from its 2005-12 collective bargaining agreement. The federation warned a strike could have forced the women’s team, which is seeking its fourth straight Olympic gold medal in Brazil, to withdraw from the Games and said that would have damaged American soccer as a whole. The union wanted the option of striking, though it hadn’t said definitively that it would. The lawsuit focused on strike rights is related to a complaint filed by five players in March with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that alleges wage discrimination by the federation. Friday’s ruling does not directly impact that complaint. U.S. stars Hope Solo, Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd, Becky Sauerbrunn and Megan Rapinoe say they are paid far less than their counterparts on the men’s national team. U.S. Soccer says that claim is misleading, partly because the men and women are paid differently under separate collective bargaining agreements. During oral arguments before Coleman last week, the federation said its collective bargaining agreement remains in effect until Dec. 31, while the union says any such agreement has expired. The union didn’t immediately address whether it would appeal Coleman’s decision, but in a statement to The Associated Press, the union’s executive director, Richard Nichols, said the ruling didn’t affect wider grievances. “To be clear, the court’s ruling today does not negate the fact that U.S. Soccer does not fairly compensate the women’s national team, or in any way impact the players’ demands for equal pay for equal work,” he said. In her 13-page opinion, Coleman said the union didn’t convince her terms of the 2005-12 collective bargaining agreement — including a no-strike clause — did not carry over when the sides signed a memorandum of understanding in March 2013 modifying the previous deal with terms through 2016. Coleman was dismissive of union arguments that a no-strike provision should have been spelled out explicitly in the memorandum. “Federal law encourages courts to be liberal in their recognition and interpretation of collective bargaining agreements, so as to lessen strife and encourage congenial relations between unions and companies,” she wrote. “A collective bargaining agreement may be partly or wholly oral and a written collective bargaining agreement may be orally modified.” U.S. Soccer issued a brief statement saying officials were “pleased with the court’s decision and remain committed to negotiating a new CBA to take effect at the beginning of next year.” The sides have continued to meet in a bid to agree to a new labor contract. If a new agreement is not reached by Dec. 31, the players would then have a clear right to give notice of a strike. Federation lawyer Russell Sauer Jr. said during oral arguments that a no-strike clause is implied in the still-valid memorandum of understanding. A lawyer for the union balked, saying the federation failed to secure a no-strike provision in writing and cannot argue now that such a provision is implied. Asked by the judge why the federation did not insist on a no-strike clause in the memorandum, federation lawyer Amy Quartarolo said it was made clear in emails and other communications that a no-strike provision in previous CBAs carried over into the 2013 agreement. In her ruling, Coleman largely agreed with that contention. The U.S., which won the 2015 World Cup with a 5-2 victory over Japan, opens the defense of its Olympic title on Aug. 3 against New Zealand in Belo Horizonte. Many players have voiced concern over gender equity in soccer. Some pointed to the comparatively hard artificial turf the women had to play on in Canada while the men’s World Cup has always been played on grass. Before the World Cup, a number of players protested over the artificial turf, with Abby Wambach leading a group that filed a complaint in a Canadian court.

Remember when U.S. Olympic athletes were armatures and weren’t paid a thing?  I do.   Oh well…  The ladies have a few good points about pay and grass vs turf.  But, the judge’s decision was spot on, and timely.  For now, let’s Hope (pun intended) the ladies kick some butt in Rio.  GO TEAM USA!!     🙂

US heads to World Cup final with 2-0 win over Germany

Carli Lloyd buried a penalty kick, Hope Solo got another shutout and the United States beat top-ranked Germany 2-0 on Tuesday night to advance to the title match at the Women’s World Cup. Lloyd’s penalty kick in the 69th minute went into the right side of the goal less than 10 minutes after Celia Sasic shot wide on a penalty kick for Germany. Solo has posted five straight shutouts for the United States in the tournament. Kelley O’Hara came in off the bench and scored in the 85th minute, delighting the pro-American crowd. The second-ranked United States will play the winner of Wednesday night’s match in Edmonton between defending champion Japan, ranked No. 4, and sixth-ranked England. The final is set for Sunday at Vancouver’s BC Place.

What a great game that was!  I watched it while grilling on the patio and enjoying a nice ice-cold one.  Go Team USA!!!    🙂

US beats China 1-0, plays Germany in Women’s World Cup semifinals

Carli Lloyd scored on a header in the 51st minute, and the United States beat China 1-0 Friday night to reach a semifinal against Germany at the Women’s World Cup. Hope Solo had her fourth straight shutout for the second-ranked United States, which has reached the final four of all seven Women’s World Cups but has not won since beating China on penalty kicks for the 1999 title at the Rose Bowl. Seeking their third world championship, the Americans have not allowed a goal in 423 minutes since this year’s tournament opener against Australia. The U.S. plays top-ranked Germany, the 2003 and ’07 champion, on Tuesday in Montreal. Despite missing midfielders Megan Rapinoe and Lauren Holiday, who were suspended for yellow card accumulation, the U.S. managed a more attacking attitude and extended its unbeaten streak against China to 25 matches dating to 2003. “I think it was a highly energized performance,” U.S. coach Jill Ellis said. “I thought we took care of the ball well, still created a lot of opportunities. So, yeah, we’re really pleased.” Morgan Brian replaced Holiday in the middle of field, with Tobin Heath and Kelley O’Hara — making her first start since March — the flanks. Amy Rodriguez started up top with Alex Morgan, injecting more pace, while Abby Wambach did not enter until the 86th minute. Wearing the captain’s armband, Lloyd got the breakthrough with her 65th goal in 200 international appearances. Julie Johnston lofted a long ball into the penalty area and Lloyd met it with her head 10 yards from the goal line and bounced the ball off the artificial turf and past goalkeeper Fei Wang. That brought cheers from the overwhelmingly pro-American crowd of 24,141 at Lansdowne Stadium.

Go Hope Solo!!   And, go team USA!!!    🙂

Opinion: America’s Favorite National Pastime: Hating Soccer

Opinion: America’s Favorite National Pastime: Hating Soccer

Ann stirs it up yet again, lol.  Disclaimer time..  I played soccer growing up, and even played in a private indoor league in high school….and really enjoyed it back then.  But, I kinda get where Ann is coming from, and the points shes trying to make here.  There seems to be FAR too many tied games (er go the recent USA score that was 2-2) in soccer, which is obnoxious.  And, really, soccer is a Latin American, and European, thing.  When I was in Afghanistan, I remember going to a bar in Kabul and it was filled with some of our allies from Europe watching the soccer games.  And those of us with the U.S. military contingent rolled our eyes and left, lol.  In America we prefer to watch baseball (MLB), pro ice hockey (NHL), and of course pro football (NFL).  It is what it is…