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52 posts from March 2009

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

FC Barcelona, Real Madrid to appear on GolTV

La Liga to air on GolTV through 2012. As an aside, I interviewed network founder and former Uruguayan soccer legend Enzo Francescoli Tuesday. Q&A to come soon.

From the official release:

MIAMI - March 18, 2009 - GolTV, the only live bilingual channel delivering 24/7 international soccer, has inked a multi-year TV rights deal for the U.S. and Canada for Spain's La Liga through 2012.  The country's fastest growing all-soccer network has also secured four original shows offering in-depth coverage of La Liga's 20 club teams throughout the season, including world-renowned clubs FC Barcelona and Real Madrid.

"GolTV is North America's most popular all-soccer network and consistently delivers top audience ratings that speak to La Liga's passionate fan base," said Gerard Romy, Officer of Mediapro.  "As the only bilingual soccer TV network, GolTV is uniquely poised to deliver our world-class teams to both English and Spanish speaking viewers."

Spain's La Liga boasts several of the world's strongest soccer club brands and powerhouse players like Eto'o, Raul, Cannavaro, Márquez, Henry and Messi.  GolTV has held TV rights to La Liga since 2003, where the league consistently delivers year-over-year stellar ratings.  When FC Barcelona and Real Madrid went head-to-head in "El Clasico", GolTV scored the highest ratings of any TV sports network in the U.S. Hispanic market in December 2008 according to AC Nielsen.

"Frankly, La Liga features the biggest soccer stars in the world and its non-stop action is unmatched. These teams, including Real Madrid and Barcelona, deliver our highest-rated games," said Enzo Francescoli, founder and CEO of GolTV.  "La Liga along with our other international leagues provide the ideal channel for soccer fans, where they can see the best matches played across every corner of the world.  We couldn't be more pleased to renew our relationship."

GolTV currently offers live and premiere coverage of the 2009 La Liga season, as well as the weekly program Ole! La Liga, which showcases the best highlights from the Spanish league and airs on Mondays at 7:30 p.m. ET.  For a complete programming schedule, please visit http://www.goltv.tv/.  

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Announcement Wed. on Miami FC

The fate of Miami FC will be announced Wednesday, and all indications are that South Florida fans will be celebrating. The team's future has been in limbo as owner, Brazil-based Traffic Sports, decided whether the club had enough support to stay afloat. Team management launched an aggressive ticket campaign, and according to a source, Traffic was satisfied with the direction the team is headed and decided to play the 2009 season as scheduled. The home stadium is still being decided. Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale might host some games. FIU, Tropical Park and Ted Hendricks Stadium are other options.

Red, Red Whine....

Sir Alex Ferguson boycotted interviews after Manchester United's shocking 4-1 loss to Liverpool on Saturday, worst home loss since 1992. He was upset that Liverpool had an extra day of rest following Champions League -- Liverpool played Tuesday, ManU Wednesday. Maybe that gave them a slight edge, but 4-1??? Sorry, Sir. Doesn't compute. Better team won on that day. Gap is shrinking atop the table...ManU 65, Chelsea and Liverpool 61. Will Sir Alex's boys hang on and win a quintuple???

Tuesday's Need To Know

The headlines:

Carey Waits for the Other Boot to Drop in Seattle

U.S. Women To Host Japan in May

Report: Francesco Totti To Sign New Roma Contract

CCL Preview: Puerto Rico Islanders vs. Cruz Azul

Monday, March 16, 2009

Miami FC press conference mid-week

The drawn-out Miami FC drama will be resolved in mere days.

The Blues will announce their plans for the 2009 season at a press conference either Wednesday or Thursday.

Traffic Sports President Julio Mariz, who has been in town since the weekend, will make the announcement.

No word yet on which way they will go, but I'm trying...

Monday's Need To Know

Sorry for the radio silence for the last few days. I've been on vacation, celebrating my 30th birthday. Horrible news out of Iraq on my first day back, as a fan shot dead a player who was about to kick what would have been the tying goal. That, and much more, on NTK.

The headlines:

Iraqi Fan Kills Soccer Player in Close Game

Q & A With M.L.S. Commissioner Don Garber

U.S. Falls in U-20 Final

British Clubs On Alert After Pele Admits Interest In Transfer

Manchester United's Vidic Handed Two Match Suspension

Friday, March 13, 2009

ManU v. Barca?

I joined other fans of The Beautiful Game at Fritz and Franz in Coral Gables for the Champions League matches...nothing like eating a bratwurst and saurkraut while watching ManU vs. Inter, Barca vs. Lyon and Arsenal vs. Roma -- those PKs were tense! And how about Luciano Spalletti's scarf!! He looked so Italian! Can't see Miami Dolphins coaches looking so dapper.

So, who's going to make the final? What's your dream matchup? Mine is Manchester United vs. Barcelona. Let us know what you think.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Man U, Barcelona roll into quarters

The Champions League quarterfinals will not be bereft of historic teams. Manchester United and Barcelona FC join Bayern Munich and Chelsea in the field of eight with impressive victories Wednesday.

Elsewhere, Porto eased past Atletico after a scoreless draw thanks to a 2-0 aggregate. Roma and Arsenal needed overtime to determine a victor.

Wednesday's scores

Barcelona 5, Lyon 2 (Barcelona advanced on 6-3 aggregate)

Manchester United 2, Inter Milan 0 (Manchester United advanced on 2-0 aggregate)

Porto 0, Atletico 0 (2-2 aggregate; Porto advanced on 2-0 away goals)

No Miami FC announcement until next week

Miami's United Soccer Leagues team may be teetering on oblivion, but it certainly isn't rushing off the precipice.

Blues President Aaron Davidson said Wednesday that a final decision on the club's existence won't be made by Traffic Sports, its ownership group, until Monday, at the earliest.

Traffic prez Julio Mariz will visit South Florida following Sports' board meeting Friday. He'll appraise the situation over the weekend, with Davidson giving the full-court press to keep the team in business.

The presentation will include letters of support and season ticket figures -- 1,250 sold, at last count.

"I can't believe it would go beyond early next week," Davidson said.

Miami FC's season opener is tentatively planned for April 18.

MLS Cup 2009 Awarded to Seattle

Just released by MLS:

NEW YORK and SEATTLE (Wednesday, March 11, 2009) – Seattle Sounders FC and the passionate soccer fans in the Pacific Northwest will host Major League Soccer’s premier event, MLS Cup 2009, at Qwest Field on Sunday, Nov. 22 at 8:30 p.m. ET (live on ESPN).

Even before their debut match in Major League Soccer, Seattle Sounders FC already have attracted a large fan base. The club has sold more than 20,000 season ticket packages, which now include a ticket to MLS Cup 2009, the League’s 14th annual championship game. Seattle kicks off its inaugural season on March 19 in the opening game of the 2009 Regular Season.

“The city of Seattle and Qwest Field will be a tremendous setting for our country’s marquee soccer event of the year,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said. “The stadium was designed with soccer in mind and we believe the buzz surrounding Sounders FC will add to the electricity at our championship game. We hope to see supporters clubs from all around the League join us in the Emerald City in November, regardless of which two teams advance to the final.”

Qwest Field will become the eighth stadium to host Major League Soccer’s championship game. Qwest Field is quickly becoming one of the nation’s premier soccer venues as the stadium has hosted numerous large-scale soccer events including exhibition matches for the national teams of Brazil, China, Mexico, Canada, and Venezuela, as well as exhibitions for some of the world’s top clubs including Manchester United, Real Madrid, Celtic and Chelsea FC. Qwest Field also was a host venue for the 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup and will serve as a host venue for the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

"This is a tremendous honor and reward for our season ticket holders and an added incentive for our coaches and players," said majority owner Joe Roth.

MLS Cup is the pinnacle of professional soccer in the United States, as a nearly eight-month long journey ends with one team being crowned the champions of Major League Soccer. In 2008, the Columbus Crew captured their first MLS Cup championship at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., by defeating the New York Red Bulls 3-1.

For more information about MLS Cup tickets, fans should call Seattle Sounders FC for details at 877-MLS-GOAL or visit www.soundersfc.com