Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Soccer with Breakfast - March 5

This is the third edition of this morning recap of top stories around North America. Still rethinking the column name so don't be surprised to see another name in the future…

Not Quite Yet NWSL
The preseason is just around the corner and the kick off of the first NWSL season is not long after, but things are not yet completely set. There is one pesky detail that still looms large over the league - the negotiations between the US Soccer Federation and the US Women's National Soccer Team Players Association over a collective bargaining agreement that would encompass their player contracts with the federation and with the USSF-managed NWSL. A deal is likely not far off considering the negotiations have flown under the radar compared to previous impasses between the two organizations. It is surprising considering how deliberate the federation was in creating the league that they did not make sure they had the CBA sorted out before the launch, but it was probably in the union's best interest to put the NWSL in do-or-die situation. Jeff Kassouf at The Equalizer has more details.

StubHub Center
News began to break over the past couple weeks that the Home Depot Center would soon have a new naming rights holder. The news came out in force Monday that the new name would be StubHub Center, immediately drawing snide remarks and jokes from media and fans around the nation due to the below lackluster ticket sales situation at Chivas USA. Everyone will have a few months to get used to the new name as it will not take affect until June.

Deep in Debt vs Methodical Growth
An AP report came out Monday saying Liverpool's debt has risen to beyond the $130 million mark. The news is a reminder of why MLS commissioner Don Garber's comments about the league being among the elite in 10 years is more feasible than some may give him credit for. Sure, MLS has a long way to go, but the odds are that with teams all over Europe in the same financial situation as Liverpool, the game in UEFA and elsewhere will be slowly but surely modifying structures at the club and league levels with American budget concepts, including the big one - salary caps.

ESPN and Mexican Soccer
American sports broadcasting leader ESPN continues to show a dedication to Mexican soccer. Just over a month after announcing a deal with Univision Deportes to broadcast the Mexican National Team on the ESPN networks, the company has announced an expanded plan to carry Mexican league soccer on its networks, including English-language broadcasts via a deal with Azteca America. The announcement came just days prior to the kick off of the playoff rounds of the CONCACAF Champions League, which will air on Fox Soccer, in which three Mexican First Division sides, three MLS and one each from Costa Rican and Guatemala are set to face off for the regional title. With Fox Soccer changing its format in the near future, the fate of what Fox will do with the CCL rights will be an interesting item to follow.

Obesity Seats
Fans may have to pay extra for seats on their flights to Brazil, but at least once they get there, the nation's World Cup host facilities will have seats designated for the obese. The nation's laws require all venues to feature at least one percent of its seating capacity for the disabled, which includes the obese along with wheelchair users and individuals with poor mobility. The tickets, available also for the Confederations Cup and the upcoming Rio Olympics may be hard to get though for obese foreigners as FIFA is making it a requirement that those purchasing the special seats submit a medical certificate, as recognized by the Brazilian Ministry of Health or World Health Organization, proving a body mass index of at least 30.

'Soccer with Breakfast' is a quick recap of interesting, underreported, or top soccer news items - sometimes accompanied by some commentary - to give readers in the Inland Northwest area (or beyond) a brief look around the North American news scene.