The Donovan Affect

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I’m not going to lie, watching ninety minutes of running made me tired. I even called my cable provider because there was an annoying buzzing sound coming form my TV. When the customer service representative told me that my cable connection was fine I started to believe a fly was stuck in my ear.

I’m a huge sports fan, but when it comes to the most popular sport in the world, something is missing in American soccer. I think American fans are too ADD (attention deficit disorder) to watch a ninety minute game with such low scoring. Fans need more instant gratification to keep their eye on the ball and their debit cards in the stadiums. Sports fans have so many choices when it comes to which sports to watch and support. Teams that already have championship banners to confirm success have captured fans for their life time. Besides, Americans are too competitive to invest in a sport that can end in a tie. Seriously, all that running for a tie!!!??

The United States has Americanized the sport football by naming it soccer. Why did we stop there? Maybe we should have Americanized the game more towards corporate entertainment to drive a fan base of consumer spending. A large TV audience and a strong, supporting fan base are the fundamentals for a successful team/league. In a sport with no time outs, there’s no time for commercials- only a fifteen minute break at halftime. Don’t get me wrong; I have satellite radio in my car because I can’t stand commercials so watching a game without interruption is great. The down side is that the sports that have altered rules of their game to become more TV friendly have created a billion dollar industry that is a house hold brand-except soccer.

Deep down, I’m a dork and there are not enough stats for me to tell who on the field is a star and who is a superstar. I know of Clint Dempsey because of story Jeremy Schapp showed on E:60. Until an ESPN commercial with Landon Donovan and a copy machine, I was unaware that he is the all-time leader in scoring and assists for the United States national team. In 2007 the Beckham Effect was Major League Soccer’s plan to be in the same league as the NFL, MLB, NBA and the NHL. Temporally, it created hype and when Beckham actually played, the plan worked. However, the Beckham Effect didn’t pack a local bar at 8:00AM for an afternoon soccer game like a United States World Cup game.

The best moment for the United States during the World Cup was seeing the excitement that the team created among Americans. Maybe it was just the red, white and blue that united sports fans on a field where no one, including the World Cup referees wanted the United States to be successful. But, I have hope that Landon Donovan’s game winning goal against Algeria was the play that years from now we will look back and say that was the goal that created the Donovan Affect on American soccer.

P.S. Vuvuzelas should be banned in the United States.

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