Football vs. football: What do people really want to watch?

Every year, the Super Bowl comes around and the mavens in the sports media tell us that it’s the biggest sporting event in the world.

Then every four years, the World Cup comes around and mavens in the sports media tell us that it’s the biggest sporting event in the world.

So which one is it? (Via Beutlerink):

World-Cup-viewersBut (the NFL fans whine) you’re comparing something that happens every four years to something that happens every year.

Really, are you going to make me do the math?

Multiply the Super Bowl number by four, and you’re still short by the entire population of North America, where the only people who care about the Super Bowl live.  And when you think about it, lots of people in the world don’t have televisions. So the World Cup is a community event where villages gather in front of a lone TV to see what’s going on.

And unlike the Super Bowl, they’re not tuning in just to watch the commercials.

I was in Belgium during the 2006 World Cup, and the city put a huge monitor in the middle of the street near the Bourse (the stock exchange building) downtown and closed off the area to automobile traffic. We roamed the streets with an Italian flag and joined all the Italians after Italy beat France in the final. That year in Paris, they put a big screen on the Eiffel Tower which allowed everyone to see Zidane’s headbutt heard around the world.

In 2010, we were in a restaurant/pub in London watching Spain beat the Netherlands in the final, although the highlight of that tournament was when the U.S. tied England because goalie Robert Green let this get by him. We were watching that match with a bunch of Brits who were ragging us on how badly American asses were going to be kicked. Let’s just say, the Americans were the ones gloating at the end.

Check out this photo gallery at the Washington Post to see how people are watching the World Cup around the globe. This is not how we watch the Super Bow.

Soccer trick shots, via McDonald’s

This is a pretty good ad, even though it’s for McDonald’s:

Even though I had a post yesterday showing a woman in high heels face planting on a hockey rink, this reassures us there are similarly shod women who are athletes, not klutzes.

By the way: The U.S. plays its first World Cup game tonight at 6 p.m.

The World Cup is depraved and decadent

Or more specifically, its governing body, FIFA, is, according to John Oliver:

That is impressive. Make a country change its laws against drinking. Create your own court that can send people away to jail for 15 years. Put an outdoor game in a country where the temperature is 122 degrees.

Can you imagine an American sports organization pulling something like that?

New details have emerged about the deal bringing the Super Bowl to Minneapolis.

Some of the conditions include: hotel accommodations, free police escorts and free advertising. They’re on the long list of requests in a confidential 153-page document obtained by the Star Tribune.

The National Football League made the specifications before it named Minneapolis the host city for the 2018 Super Bowl. Dated November 2013, the document details everything from field preps, to reserving bowling venues for the Super Bowl Celebrity Bowling Classic.

Nice try NFL. You’re in the Pee Wee League compared to FIFA’s professional corruption status.

‘Seven Nation Army’: The world’s sports anthem

On Super Bowl Sunday, when the Baltimore Ravens take on the San Francisco 49ers, expect a lot of this:

For all you old people, the song is “Seven Nation Army” by the White Stripes. It came out in 2003, made it to No. 1 on the Billboard Alternative Rock list by the summer and began to fade out.

But Ravens fans voted in 2011 from a list of five songs to make it the anthem played to rally the crowd.

It took them long enough.

When we were living in Europe, we heard it all the time when watching football (soccer) games on the TV in Belgium and England. I remember my son saying “That’s ‘Seven Nation Army” when we were watching a match in Belgium. (I used to think the song was called “I’m Going to Witchita.”)

When the World Cup was held in Germany in 2006, you couldn’t get away from the song.

So how did a simple tune created by these guys …


… become a stadium anthem for global sports?

Last year, Deadspin had the definitive history.

In short, it started when a bunch of Belgians, who traveled to Italy for football match, started singing it at a bar then landed drunk at a football match to cheer their team, Brugges, against the Italians, beginning the chant when Brugges scored.  It thrived in Brugges after that. Eventually, an Italian team traveled to Brugges and heard the fans chant it there and liked it so much, they got their fans in Italy to go with it.

It eventually spread in America because college band directors found it simple, but exciting enough to get a crowd worked up.

And now it’s the anthem used everywhere. Here it is at the Euro2008 final between Germany and Spain:

Here it is at the 2010 Ohio State/Michigan game:

And here it is in Rome after Italy won the World Cup in 2006:

I heard it at the Louisville/Georgetown basketball game in Washington last week.

So checkout the Deadspin article here.

And here’s the original:

Pretty soon, all the attention is going to be focused on who sings the national anthem at the Super Bowl. But “Seven Nation Army” is the song that’s going to get the crowd worked up.