World Cup shines despite bite
It's good for ESPN to have a heightened American interest, boosted by strong publicity and the need for the big story to be covered by all. A team that could slip into the second round helps.
With nearly 25 million watching the second match of the 3-match first round, again pundits and callers/commenters are debating whether football will finally emerge in the US market. Yes, that's the common debate: Soccer is here; not it's not.
I don't care if other people are interested, but the interest does impact potential viewership opportunities. Without this current rise, NBC put on a fine season of EPL coverage on it's NBC Sports and main network this past season. I was able to watch almost every match, four to five weekend and another five to six On Demand.
So for football fans, we don't need a new audience to come, though networks, I'm sure, want the increased number and NBC may be gambling now hoping for a larger audience next season.
I just hope that Liverpool's Luis Suarez stays in the English Premiere League, where he dominated last season, leading the league in scoring despite a five-game ban for a 2012-2013 biting incident.
And on Tuesday, perhaps the best day of action so far, his bite on the shoulder of an Italian opponent when helping lead his Uruguay to the second round (and leaving Italy to join England and Spain as surprise first-round losers) overshadowed Greece's stunning win over the Ivory Coast, a team featuring many EPL players.
I've hoped Suarez would end up with Arsenal, and many wanted him out of the league after last season's bite. Now, some here are shaming the game for this latest bite. You can't defend the action, but like many American sports stars who are hated for their antics, their own teams and fans often tolerate it if they make them winners. But like all business, more talk and more debate is good. At least they're talking about you.
For me, it's just fun to watch every game (mostly on DVR) when so much rides on a single kick.