Mexican League Football Coming in English Feb 20

17 January 2010

I’m normally not one who loves to say I told ya so, but today I just can’t help myself.

Back in August when the USA and Mexico squared off in Mexico City, I speculated here if NBC Universal was testing Mun2 to see if there was a potential audience on the channel for football. The rating by any measure was a profound success, and it was done again when Mexico played Trinidad and Tobago. At that moment I started to wonder aloud about how long it would take for us to see Mexican First Division football in English? Well according to Multichannel News, we have our answer. That date will be February 20th.

In a nutshell, Mun2 will start adding sports programming to it’s mix. Starting with mini ‘updates’ they will call Timeouts, the network will start updating it’s audience about weekend happenings in the world of sports. They will also be adding a Sunday show to be titled The MUN2 Sports Arena that will focus on highlights and interviews in the same manner Republica Deportiva on Univision does. However the biggest piece to their sports puzzle will be the broadcasting of football from Mexico’s top flight. Mun2 will broadcast over twenty matches from the top flight in English while NBC Universal sister station Telemundo will broadcast the same matches in Spanish.

No broadcast teams have been announced yet for these games. However, with Phil Schoen and Marcelo Balboa doing both Mexico/USA and T&T/Mexico last year, one would have to tip them to get some piece of this action once matches on the network commence.

In my humble view, this is as big a news story as it was when Premier League games stopped being sold on PPV at twenty bucks a pop. I firmly believe there is more interest in Mexican football than most in the United States will ever say in public, and this news will only start to bring them out of the woodwork. While no deal was able to be reached in time for the Bicentenario, I still believe it was a great idea to get this up as quickly as possible. With the TV contract expiring at the end of the Bicentenario, the ratings will be a great litmus test to see if it would be worth adding more games to the pile in time for the Fall season in Mexico.

The only issue right now to me is no deal has been reached yet for that fall season in 2010. I don’t think it’s an issue yet, but could be if we make it to the World Cup and no deal is reached yet. Honestly, I think the biggest issue in this contract is how many non Telemundo games we might see in English on Mun2. I don’t think we’ll see any of the games on FSE on Mun2 because of  SAP capabilities. But other games in my mind are still up for grabs. Let’s just hope that contract is finalized soon and more games from south of the border have the ability to be televised in English.

So what do you make of this news? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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Premier League Should Be Ashamed Over Canceled Matches

10 January 2010

Consider this, there is only the potential for three Premier League matches this weekend. Five were played in the Championship. Furthermore, if Blackburn’s trip to Eastlands is postponed on Monday, the Premier League would have played the same amount of games that League One had survive the freeze (Leeds United v Wycombe Wanderers and Charlton Athletic v Exeter City were the only two League One games to survive).

Now before I have all of Britain sending hate mail to this site, understand the position I am coming from. Yes, I completely understand travel was the biggest nightmare humanly possible over the course of the last seven days as snow bombarded the country leaving travel impossible. I am also well aware that supplies of salt and grit for roads are at critically low levels. However towards the end of the week, at least trains were able to get back on track (for those who were unaware, Chelsea were on their way to Hull by train when their match got postponed).

Getting back to the Premier League clubs, I find it amazing at how fast some were to postpone matches. Yes, the first postponements came early Friday morning, but I still find it appalling that not everything within the clubs power was done to get these games played. Look at Arsenal. They did everything they could midweek to get their match with Bolton played and were not happy they had to cancel. On Saturday morning, club officials did everything humanly possible to make sure the game would go ahead; going as far as using blowtorches on the sidewalk to make them walkable. Of all places, Birmingham City’s match with Manchester United never was in doubt. Maybe they deserve the most proactive home club award of the week.

Furthermore, when I’m watching Sky Sports News on FSC and seeing people walking around these grounds when correspondents are talking about games postponed, I can only laugh mockingly at the decision to call off the match.

Now I will discount Wigan Athletic in the above discussion. They did everything in their power to get everything around the stadium playable. However when technology fails you, with little time to get the suitable parts needed to correct the under soil heating, you’re left with little choice.

Now to those who will complain about those who purchased tickets not being able to make it to the matches, I have a few things to say to you. I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but all a ticket does is guarantee you entry for an event. It’s not up to the club you purchased your ticket from to get you to the game (though it would have been a goodwill gesture if traveling clubs had paid for a train or two for those fans). You assume risk when you purchase a ticket that you might not actually be able to make it. If you’re unable to, find a radio broadcast or watch Final Score or even Soccer Saturday. I know that is harsh but it’s just reality.

But ultimately this falls back on the clubs. When you don’t do everything in your power, unlike Arsenal and to a small degree Wigan Athletic, you deserve to be shamed. When the Championship did more to ensure their games got played (on a much smaller budget you have to play with), you deserve to be the laughing stock of football. When League One played as many games as you on Saturday, it makes me wonder how small time you truly are.

Hopefully these clubs have learned a valuable lesson for the future. I seriously doubt they have.

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Arsenal Struggle on Landon Donovan’s Debut for Everton

09 January 2010

Landon Donovan’s first game in Everton colors saw him make a few good runs, a couple of decent tackles, and an assist. However, Donovan made a few shocking tackles (which unlike in MLS were played on by Peter Walton), and has to take some blame in Arsenal’s first equalizer. Everton though had the lead twice only to see it evaporate each time as Arsenal and Everton entertained at a snowy Emirates, ending in a two all draw.

Everton started the brighter of the two sides, with Arsenal’s usually good passing failing them. Despite Landon Donovan being non-existent for the opening minutes, he put his first touch to perfect use. Taking his first corner kick for Everton, Landon looped the ball just outside the six yard box to perfectly meet up with the onrushing, unmarked Leon Osman who’s powerful header was no match for Denilson on the line.

It was at that point Arsenal upped their pressure and it eventually paid off. Close to the half hour, Everton failed with two attempted clearances. After Donovan’s clearance failed, Arsenal’s passing did Everton in. In Arshavin’s only decent move of the match, he found Denilson who’s shot was heading right for Tim Howard. However, Leon Osman’s unlucky touch guided the ball into the net.

The second half saw heavy snow return to London and neither side making any real headway. It was only after Landon Donovan was subbed out in the sixty-ninth minute did the second half get interesting. Arsenal was attacking, but doing nothing with it. Ten minutes from time, Everton took advantage of Arsenal’s attacking nature. Tim Cahill took a cleared ball and found Steven Pienaar in short order running along the center line. From there, it was a solo forty-five yard run finished when he chipped Manuel Almunia to put Everton back in front.

However, Everton again saw heartbreak in a result late. With Arsenal getting desperate in their attack; Diaby found Rosicky who’s shot was again deflected in, this time off Lucas Neill.

For Landon Donovan, it was a promising debut. If he continues to up his level, Everton will have a 90 minute player for the duration of his loan. While some may say he should have played more than the sixty-nine minutes today, I disagree. For his first game back in roughly six weeks, Donovan looked just fine. Had Everton’s defense held late, we could very well be talking about if this was the moment Arsenal went back to typical Arsenal in the winter.

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Johnathan Starling, the self proclaimed 'most brutally honest man on the net, dishes out his own unique brand of opinions, and analysis on the Premier League, Bundesliga, and all things US Soccer.

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