Sport talk radio’s impact thus far on pro Soccer is everything and nothing at the same time for U.S. sports fans.
It means everything because sports talk is the main vein of contact among sports fans. The impact is nothing because that’s about how much relevance U.S. pro Soccer gets from sports talk.
Can Soccer Maneuver Around Radio Dominance of Big 3?
The national radio airwaves are dominated by the Big 3: football, basketball and baseball. This is simply a fact that cannot be denied. If it is not pro football, pro basketball, and pro baseball, the next most popular subjects to be covered by sports talk are college football, college basketball, pro hockey and NASCAR.
At some point in the near future, pro Soccer must infiltrate the bandwidths in order to become a mainstream product. The idolizing of football, basketball, and baseball has become monotonous. By having Soccer in the mix, there are more actual sports to talk about.
For U.S. pro Soccer to make a lasting impression and bring change to radio talk show formats, it will take massive doses of communication with the hosts of the shows. The eyes of these hosts must get lit to the passion of pro Soccer in the U.S.
For this to happen though, sports fans must make their presence known and convey their passion to these hosts. These hosts are the agents of change and the ones who can push pro Soccer forward furthest fastest.
Look at what Jim Rome has done for Mixed Martial Arts and NASCAR. His endorsement is a marketing coup for those sports and they don’t have to pay a dime for it. His influence has had a grand impact. His personal belief in the legitimacy of these sports have single-handedly attracted legions of new sports fans to them.
Either a brave national radio sports jockey will be the first to broach the subject of U.S. pro Soccer and show his audience his view on the beauty of the game, or sports talk will continue on its path of mostly serving the egos of football, basketball, and baseball. Also, what needs to happen is for that one guy to make his declaration to share thoughts weekly on what needs to change in MLS so that more sports fans will tune-in and pay attention.
Could Greeny Be The Guy?
From the Mike and Mike show of ESPN fame, he has garnered a lot of respect over the years. Born in 1967, a guy who grew up during the modern glory days of sports fandom, surely he is feeling some withdrawal from the constant and excessive discussion of the Big 3, football, basketball and baseball.
Greenberg is somebody that could take the chance of airing his views more than once in a while and comment about MLS games from over the weekend or from the night before.
Becoming part of the conversation on sports talk radio requires either the spark of a grass-roots campaign or a maverick of the airwaves. It is imperative that it happen soon so U.S. pro Soccer is on the map with a secure future.
MLS still hasn’t made it for sure until it is a regular with daily national radio talk show interest from the sports fans.
Howard Alperin is Managing Editor of AmericanizeSoccer.com