Saturday, July 21, 2007

Michael Wilbon Continues the Media Blasphemy

Thanks to Japers' Rink for bringing this article to my attention.

The media is at it again. This time it's PTI host and Washington Post columnist Michael Wilbon who once again makes a blanket statement about the popularity of the sport in comparison to the MLS. In his Friday article about the impact that David Beckam will bring to the sport of soccer in the US, Wilbon makes this comment:

"Soccer has already surpassed hockey on the American sports landscape."

Has it really? And what proof do you have of this Mr. Wilbon. Look if you want to talk about the popularity of major sports internationally, then he is right because soccer, or football as it's called everywhere else, has always been the biggest sport. But because of the American media, most people in this country don't realize that ice hockey is the second biggest sport played internationally. Just take a minute and look at the NHL. Is there another league in the United States that can claim to have the diversity of players that we have in hockey? Absolutely not.

Statements such as this from Michael Wilbon is the reason why the media drives me crazy. They make blanket statements with no evidence to back it up and try to pass it off as a fact.

Here is a short report by Michael Hiestand of

The U.S.-hosted World Cup in 1994 seemed to make soccer, as a spectator sport in America, the sport of the future. MLS' 1996 debut season averaged 0.4% of U.S. cable TV households.

Now, soccer looks more like it might just always be the sport of the future. Last season, ESPN2's MLS games averaged 0.2% — and 0.2% so far this year. Strangely, MLS still limits team TV appearances, so only about half of ESPN2's remaining 2007 games include Beckham's Los Angeles Galaxy team.

Sunday Morning Update: Thanks to reader Dov for the comment and link to this article on that provides even more evidence in contrary to Wilbon's statement.

The markers: attendance figures, gate receipts, television audience ratings and advertising revenue. In 2005, MLS counted 3.1 million spectators, fewer than auto racing and golf.

Major League Baseball in 2004? More than 20 times more, with 74 million. The NFL and college football: 69 million.Total 2004 soccer gate revenues – MLS plus other forms of soccer – amounted to less than $60 million.

MLB: $1.4 billion.

NFL: about $1 billion.

NHL: same.

Soccer boosters, Wilson observed, often say the NHL is the sports entity MLS is most likely to overtake. This, though, is how far soccer has to go: The NHL's gate revenue is 17 times greater than all soccer revenues combined.

Bass fishing and bowling regularly beat MLS ratings by "wide margins," according to Wilson's paper. Soccer trails baseball, football, basketball and hockey in TV advertising revenue – along with, as well, professional wrestling, bowling and rodeo.

There you go Wilbon. Next time how about acting like a professional writer and do a little research before you write one of your inflammatory articles. It's times like these that make me want to move to Canada.

On a side note, Kevin from The Kevin Hatcher Fan Club and Rebecca from A View From the Cheap Seats will join me on The Capital Show tomorrow at noon. We'll talk about the latest news from the Capitals this week. I'll also have a good friend of mine and a big Redskins fan on later in the show to talk about their upcoming season as training camp begins on Friday. It should be another good show so don't miss out, and feel free to call in to the show (646) 478-5432.

Gotta Get Something Off Your Chest?

1 comment:

Dov said...

Here are the facts regarding how far soccer has to go to catch the NHL. Total soccer revenues $60 million. NHL gate receipts $1 billion.

Actually Wilborn exhibits a half-assed knowledge of hockey usually unlike partner Kornheiser who is a complete dunce. He makes a fool of himself every night waving the Canadian flag when no self-respecting Canadian sports fan would waste half a second watching Kornheiser except for to laugh at his ignorance.