There are literally ONE MILLION football games on TV right now (we counted, weird it's exactly 1 mil). Could probably drop this one #rapids
#Rapids game can't even bump a high school football game from a TV network owned by the Rapids owner. Embarrassing.
Great. Rapids game delayed for high school football overtime.
Are the rapids really going to not be shown in favor of high school football overtime?
@AltitudeTV Really Altitude? No one cares about a high school football game that is running 30 minutes over allotted time. Give me SOCCER!
No other professional sports club who pulls in an average crowd of 16,000 per game would ever be bumped from a sports network (owned by the same owner who owns that sports team) so that we could finish the tail end of a High School Football game. Unless, of course, we're talking about soccer and unless, of course, we're talking about America.
There's a strange relationship of soccer to American life. You may not believe this, and I didn't when I first heard it, but soccer used to have a huge following in the United States. In the early part of the 20th century, it looked like soccer was poised to become a thriving professional sport in the United States alongside Baseball. Teams from Saint Louis, Falls River, and Bethlehem fielded teams that were able to pack out stadiums up and down the Northeast and out into the midwest as far as the Mississippi. The boom in soccer is traditionally attributed to the boom in the immigrant population, and its bust attributed to unfortunate financial collapse that took place at the founding of the first professional soccer league. People didn't have any money anymore, and certainly not enough money for soccer. Meanwhile, Gridiron Football enjoyed a thriving life inside the American Colleges, and thus had a kind of insulation against the financial distress of the tumultuous times.
Today, it's hard to dispute that Gridiron is the preferred form of football in the United States of America. But, for a time at least, it was Soccer that was looked at as being the next big professional sport. And we can tolerate that kind of narrative.
But having a professional sport bumped from prime time television, on a network owned by the same company that owns the professional sports team? Now, that's just too far. Even the otherwise chipper and friendly Rapids Play-by-Play man, Richard Fleming, could not scrub his voice of the bitter sarcasm when he apologized for the game's broadcast being delayed due to a long-running High School Football game.
The derision and sometimes outright animosity towards soccer in America is well documented. Turn on Denver Sports Radio. Aside from one soccer specific show, and aside from fan produced content, the only time you hear about soccer is when its made fun of. Or it's something that quickly needs to be paid lip-service to while we get to talking about something more important like Peyton Manning's ingrown toenail.
Soccer is not only not important, but it can't be important. Not only is it not taken seriously, but in this context, it can't be taken seriously.
UZ and I talked about some of the reasons for this. Some in the media have offered that, "Well, fans don't demand that people talk about soccer; therefore, no one talks about soccer."
That's at least somewhat disingenuous. Why would we soccer fans want to talk to someone about soccer who doesn't know a thing about it, nor do they want to talk about it with us?
Say you're really into Ballet. You walk into a party full of guys who are into Mixed Martial Arts. How comfortable do you feel talking with them about your enthusiasm for the art of Ballet? What kinds of great conversations and insights do you think that the party will get from this exchange? How confident would you be bringing up some similarities between the agility required for Ballet and for MMA? In fact, who invited you to this party in the first place? Didn't exactly hear anyone say "Man, I sure know a lot about MMA, but I really wish there were someone I could talk to about Ballet."
No. If you don't invite soccer fans onto your radio program, we simply won't show up. It's that simple. If you're not talking about soccer, why would I want to call in to your program and talk about soccer?
But listen to normal Denver sports programming. Where's their soccer segment? Broncos, Rockies, Avalanche, Nuggets... and... then...
You'd think soccer in Denver would be impossible to ignore like this, but it's happening.
My reasoning for why sports programs don't talk about soccer is the following:
They don't want to because they will sound like idiots.
Think about it.
Many radio personalities for sports get their pay for being two things: one, entertaining, and two, more educated that the common fan. Or at the very least, they have to be able to come off that way. We may doubt the veracity that the radio personality might be more educated than us, so we call in and tell them so, but they proceed and make their pay by those basic ideas: one, entertainment, and two, knowledge. I might dispute a radio personality on her facts in a particular situation, but I don't question that they are where they are because they offer a more "expert" opinion on the game than I have as a fan.
Radio personalities in Denver, for the most part, can't talk about soccer because they don't know more about soccer than the average soccer fan in Denver. For sure, they can offer a "different" perspective, but I'm not listening in to a sports show just to hear a "different" perspective. I'm listening to a sports show because they have a "different, more entertaining, and broader" perspective. For sure, someone who knows nothing about soccer will have a different perspective about soccer. They could probably be entertaining as hell, but they don't know more than most of us know about soccer. And you know what? That's not a good place to be in.
Imagine having to talk about something you don't know about, don't really want to learn about, and constantly are called out on for knowing nothing about. Would you look forward to bringing up that subject? If every time you said "Wow, no idea why the ref called THAT goal back. It looked great! Look at all the space that guy had" you had someone say "yeah, he had all that space because he was offside, idiot," you wouldn't want to say anything at all, would you?
Nor would you really WANT to learn about it. Why? You can fill up the time talking about the Broncos or the Rockies or anyone else. You could even talk about High School Football. It's something you know about, and while you might not know the specifics of a game or a program, you generally know how games and programs work, so you can comment on it and still feel like an expert. But you don't get that with soccer, and there's absolutely no incentive for you to learn about it.
In fact, there's incentives to trash it.
Trashing soccer is wonderful for two reasons: one, people who hate soccer in Colorado will love you for it, and two, soccer fans in Colorado will repost your articles and write about how stupid you are for it. Heck, if you're going to be called ignorant either way, why not celebrate your ignorance with others who are equally ignorant?
What can we do about that?
Having fan produced content, while great, is not going to be nearly enough to move the needle here on this. We've got great fan-produced shows, and I'm proud that Burgundy Wave's own Thugcast gets to stand-alongside those shows. The Rapids even put out their own weekly podcast AND we have our own little space on the Radio with From the Pitch. Drew Moor also hops on the radio sometimes...
But other than that?
And is this not the town where the United States Men's National Team started their greatest ever winning streak in the entire history of the country's program? Is this not the only town in the United States that can say that while Seattle might bring the big crowds, it was the only town whose crowd had a direct impact on whether or not the United States kept playing. If American soccer fans hadn't shown up to the now infamous Snow Match in droves, if the Colorado grounds crew hadn't been out there clearing the lines every time they had a stoppage in play, would the match have continued? When the referee blew his whistle to consult with the teams, would the Americans have been so eager to continue with their lead if you hadn't been there, Colorado? Would the Costa Ricans be so eager to continue with the perceived momentum and silence those same fans? (And you'll remember from match reports, that while the Costa Rican coach wanted the match called off, the players did not).
No one thought that would happen. People doubted Colorado, thought it would be a terrible crowd and laughed when DSG was picked as a site for an important qualifier. Soccer is a part of Colorado life. The problem is that our sports talk culture is in denial. They don't want to believe it's true. They don't want to believe that soccer is everywhere around them, but it is.
What else can we do to convince them?
Until we can recommend a better course of action, I'm going to leave this as an open question to Colorado fans of soccer in general and Rapids fans specifically. What else can be done?