Thursday, January 15, 2009

football odds and ends

(Joshua Masayoshi Huff)

...and we've got it from both sides of the Atlantic.

First up--Mayor Ravenstahl of Pittsburgh decided to get rid of the "Raven" in his last name because his hometown Steelers are playing the Ravens in the AFC Championship game this weekend.

His proposed new name? Steelerstahl. Interestingly enough, Stahl means "steel" in German.


The Guardian has also taken interest in what the new Philadelphia MLS team will call themselves. I'm glad that they also hate the name "Real Salt Lake" (because we all know there is an abundance of royal families in Utah), but in true Guardian fashion, they haven't got a real solution.

And, the same paper also reports that ESPN is expected to bid for the rights to televise the English Premier League. It is unclear if these rights would be for ESPNs British operations or if they would extend to the States and the Pacific Rim, but this would all be moot if ESPN bought out Setanta, as has been frequently bandied around as of late.

With ESPN carrying Euro 2008 this summer as well as the World Cup (in partnership with parent network ABC) as well as some European Qualification matches for the 2010 World Cup, you've got to think that the company aims to make regular football...errmm, soccer....coverage more regular. Yes, the company has the Champions League, but that competition has such an erratic and irregular schedule that it would only behoove ESPN to nail down a weekly list of games. I mean, what else is the company showing on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Bowling? Women's Trick Shot Billiards?

ESPN is losing out on a key audience by not having regular soccer programming. But, perhaps buying Setanta and keeping that station's soccer rights on Setanta makes the most economic sense. ESPN will not realize a greater profit simply by showing soccer games, so why not acquire a pay network and put it under your umbrella? That way, the expanded coverage more than pays for itself.

Cheers. Happy Thursday.