Fifty Shades of Soccer… Sex and the Game..

My summer post-World Cup recess is coming to an end and time to get back to work of bringing you the important stories from the female perspective.

One of the things I did on my break was power reading the entire Fifty Shades of Grey series (it took a weekend but it is done).  I deserve a medal for that… [Editorial Rant: Can someone PLEASE get E.L. James a flipping thesaurus.  Girl knows like 15 adjectives and used them insistently and incorrectly A LOT…]

Now why do you care about this? Well because one of the things that kept me hanging on, pardon the bondage pun, is that the only stable male influence in the lead female Ana’s life, is her step-father Ray.   Now Ray is salt of the earth, old school guy…  I should mention the story is set in Seattle in 2011 for the most part.  Part of Ray’s characterization being salt of the earth is his love of sports… Only two are covered the Mariners and the Sounders…  Ray is all kinds of obsessed with soccer, European club and his beloved Sounders.

Sadly for Seattle, comic gold for the rest of us, EL James is not a fan…   Seriously, they lose to Real Salt Lake TWICE in the trilogy which spans about 5 months.  They never win.

MLS, however, does win… The series has sold 100 million+ books globally and been translated into 51 languages.  Nothing MLS marketing has done has had the kind of global reach.  Yes I am including the Beckham thing… they paid a lot of money for that mess, he got the vast majority of the money and the new recognition and not sure it reached the same audience: predominately women and soccer moms at that.

The trailer for the film was released less than two weeks ago and it is already the most viewed of 2014 by a WIDE margin.

MLS needs to jump this bandwagon hard…  Many, many, many women hate this story.. god knows it is a horribly written series but it is also a massive way to get new women into the game.

I always described the game as an introduction to my non-inclined girlfriends the same way, “the prettiest boys on the planet, of every flavor you could possibly desire, run for 90 minutes and then all get shirtless and hug at the end.. what is not to love.”

No, by no means do I think that is all there is to the game or that it is a biggest reason to watch.. It is simply the selling point to get ladies to tune-in.  The beauty of the game will seduce them.  Honestly, I have never seen it fail…

Sex and soccer is not exactly a revolutionary concept I grant you, but MLS has never been given this sort of free marketing opportunity.

One of my favorite bringing ladies to MLS programs was DC United’s “Ladies’ Nights,” which have tickets to a game, cocktails, mani/pedis, shopping and player meet-and-greets.  It was a brilliant way to ease women into the game in a way that does not assume women are inferior.  The most important part of it was that it treated female fans as individual fans, not just taxi moms who drive the kids or accessories on the arm of their partners who are actual fans.

DC United said, “we support our female fans… we want more female fans…we support you being girlie and hardcore too” that needs to happen more.  Tying it to a 100 Million+ book series that has already laid the groundwork is the simplest way to do it.

Also we should ALL support Seattle losing as much as possible..  yes? [before the drama.. I am not suggesting a MLS bondage night thing… simply focusing on a highly under-represented segment of the fanbase]

Also producing appear actually designed for women but…I digress on that point.

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My Touch By AM Shirt – IT’S HERE and IT’S FANTASTIC

IT'S HERE and IT'S FANTASTIC

My Touch By AM D.C. United T-shirt is here.. and I LOVE it. It actually fits my figure without me looking like I either wearing either a tent or toddler sized shirt.  Additionally, the fabric is actually really nice and soft, which I did not expect at all.

I cannot wait for the season to start to wear it. ALSO… there needs to be more options STAT

Water is Wet: ITA Media Goes ALL ITA Media… MLS fans go all Meltdown..

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Rendering of proposed DC United Stadium at Buzzard’s Point – Last Available Stadium Space in DC

Today’s Rumor of the Day brought to you by the Italian national daily  newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore. Article is about, “a rumor” floating around, “Italian Financial Circles,” that new Inter Milan majority owner Erick Thohir is going to “cash in” his majority stake in MLS’S DC United to help pay off the debt he agreed to incur with the Inter purchase, some €200M [aprx. $271,780,000 USD] .

As per usual, some MLS fans went all in on the rumor and into meltdown mode.  FYI – Italian Media is less reliable than English Media to give you perspective.

Why I love this rumor so much… the idea that DC United’s value is anywhere near large enough to make even in dent in the almost $300M Inter debt is laughable.  When Uncle Erick bought in as majority owner, his valuation was aprx $50M USD [almost €36.8M] and he only owns 60% of that.

Forbes Magazine did a valuation of all MLS clubs in July of 2013 and placed DCU second lowest at $71M [apx. €52M].  It’s revenues are $17.7M [aprx. €13M] and operating at a deficit of 2.8% annually.  In large part, because it has not been winning and as much as I LOVE RFK [and I do]  it is time to grow up and  move out on our collective own.  No real estate makes the club much less valuable.  [Note, Inter also has no stadium, as the local government of Milan owns the San Siro and both Inter and AC Milan are renters].

Now, Uncle Erick and his DCU partners, the coolest owner in sports Will [Chang] and Jason [Levine] have agreed in principle to fund the construction of a new stadium for DCU within the boundaries of the District in exchange for the City handing over the land at Buzzard’s Point.  That is a whole other issue because the City does not actually own the land at Buzzard’s point but does own choice real estate in a better location in the District.  They are planning on swapping the plots with the owner of the Buzzard’s Point and then give Buzzard’s Point to DCU for the stadium.  Welcome to DC,…we elected Marion Berry AFTER, “the bitch set [him] up…” [his excuse for being caught doing crack, not mine] .

The stadium deal is worth big money.. it is in the last great undeveloped section of the City and to be clear… there is NO MORE space within the City limits.  It is 63 square miles, 19% of which is federally or private controlled park lands, plus there is all the land owned by the Fed and City governments.  While it will be expensive to build, it is a major necessity especially if the club is to be sold for big money.

Now, I know there is the theory that says, “well they can just move the club to a different city, since it is not tied down in DC.”  Yeah, I do not see how that works.  MLS needs a presence in the Nation’s Capitol even if just for aesthetic purposes only;  also it would be moving MLS’s most successful club, away from its core and lose a cut of a potentially huge stadium deal in a highly sought after market.

By the way, the same Italian Media Reported between August – November of 2013 said he was selling his minority interest in the NBA’s ’76ers [see the use of “the” before letter names, it is ok with “the MLS” too].  Some going all the way to say that he had already sold it to fund Inter.   At present there is no evidence that he has sold his interest in anything for any reason including funding Inter.

The current DC United article mentions something about DC United CFO/COO Michael Williamson [and newish  COO] but I cannot make out what it says and none of the translate apps can either.  Hoping one my Italian speaking peeps can clear it up.    My guess is that it based on the Steven Goeff’s Soccer Insider column from Dec that says, Thohir may move him to Inter to run things there.

The two clubs formed a, “Strategic Partnership” just two months ago and  crossover between the club has already started.  Young DC United playmaker Michael Seaton just spent several weeks training with Inter.  There are expected to be coaching and staff swaps between the clubs as well as best practices.

Does Uncle Erick sell United to be Inter’s sugar daddy?  Maybe, but I doubt it at least not until the stadium is done  or officially dead.  It is hard to say, “here buy this club losing money and oh yeah, you are on the hook for an additionally $150M minimum to build a stadium.  Peace..”

Additionally, Inter having a solid base in America is a big coup with the move of Serie A clubs attempting to expand their fanbase here.

UPDATE — Uncle Erick Speaks: “These assets are integral parts of my international sports investment strategy and I look forward to growing both brands well into the future. “I deny, in no uncertain terms, recent media reports which indicated otherwise. “My commitment and dedication to both DCU and Inter is unwavering, and I am focused on producing results both on and off the pitch at both clubs.” Statement via ESPN FC