Posted by: mdegeorge | November 9, 2010

Tuesday Morning Diagnosis: Less than excellent exports

Embargoes and trade restrictions have long been a potent weapon in the American foreign policy arsenal. Wielding the power of the immense American consumer market, limiting imports from various locations (including Iranian-made Persian rugs, much to the chagrin of discount furniture warehouses the nation over), a closing of our commercial borders is a severe enough sanction for some economies to serve as behavioral modification for nations.

Perhaps other nations will consider turning the tide on the United States when it comes to its exportation of NFL football.

In consecutive weeks, international audiences in the United Kingdom and Canada have been distinctly underwhelmed by the league’s offerings.

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Steve Johnson (13) puts his head down while sitting on the bench as his team plays the Chicago Bears in the second half of their NFL football game in Toronto November 7, 2010.  REUTERS/Mark Blinch (CANADA - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

It started at London’s Wembley Stadium with the Halloween matchup between Denver and San Francisco, a competitive game between two sub-par teams that entered the fourth quarter with a score of 7-3. Last weekend, fans north of the border were treated to the continued floundering of the Buffalo Bills in a 22-19 loss to Chicago.

The 0-7 Bills’ trip to Toronto marked the third time in four seasons that the league has sent a winless team to foreign soil for an alleged showcase of the league’s ability. Miami carried an 0-7 record into the inaugural London game-turned-slopfest in 2007 en route to an abysmal 1-15 season, while the 0-6 Bucs made the trip last year as the patsy for a 35-7 shellacking by the Patriots.

It’s an admirable thing that the NFL is trying to do by enhancing its brand outside the 50 states. At least someone is taking a cue from America’s other main sporting pastime—baseball—and its tardy entry into the global market and impotent capitalization once it did. The NFL, perhaps more than any other sport since it is almost exclusively an American sport without publicity from international tournaments to benefit from as others do, must have a strong brand presence to nurture its foreign markets. As a fan of the now defunct NFL Europe and its subsequent last-gasp iterations, the European continent is a market that can be colonized if the approach is correct.

But sending middling teams for non-competitive (or more appropriately, uninteresting or shoddily played) games just aren’t going to do it. Unless you grew up die-hard fans of Steve Young or John Elway, the Denver-San Francisco tilt doesn’t have much appeal beyond the sheer novelty of NFL football in our country. Sure, that nuance puts fans in the stands at this juncture of the venture. If the overseas agenda expands as has been suggested, however, and the market becomes more saturated, such lousy matchups need to be replaced by top-flight contests.

View the situation in reverse. Think of the throngs of people selling out venues like Gillette Stadium and the Meadowlands’ Insert Random Company Name Here Stadium to see preseason soccer matches (preseason, mind you). The filing out en masse to see Barcelona, Manchester United, AC Milan, and the plethora of stars they bring with them. I don’t foresee a time soon when 55,000 rabid fans cram Lincoln Financial Field to see Wolverhampton battle Wigan or Sporting Gijon vs. Real Zaragoza. The soccer starved masses in this country are only satiated by a chance to see the absolute best the European game has to offer ply their trade.

Perhaps it’s that so few teams with legitimate title aspirations want to risk the trek across the Atlantic and its ramifications for their title quests. The Giants did parlay a win in London into a World Championship, but they did struggle down the stretch that season.

In fact, only two of the previous six participants in the London game have posted a winning record after returning to the States (the Chargers went 5-3 in 2008; the Pats 5-4 last season). Given the pedestrian pedigrees of the 2010 combatants, it’s a safe wager that number will remain at two.

Ultimately, it’s good for the game to have its visage shown off across the globe. But shouldn’t that face of the international game be the most captivating and engaging product the league has to offer?

<div style=”text-align:center;”><a href=”http://view.picapp.com/pictures.photo/entertainment/buffalo-bills-johnson-sits/image/10138874?term=buffalo+bills&#8221; target=”_blank”><img src=”http://view2.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/10138874/buffalo-bills-johnson-sits/buffalo-bills-johnson-sits.jpg?size=500&imageId=10138874&#8243; border=”0″ width=”500″ title=”Buffalo Bills Johnson sits on the bench as his team plays the Chicago Bears in the second half of their NFL football game in Toronto” height=”320″ oncontextmenu=”return false;” ondrag=”return false;” onmousedown=”return false;” alt=”Buffalo Bills wide receiver Steve Johnson (13) puts his head down while sitting on the bench as his team plays the Chicago Bears in the second half of their NFL football game in Toronto November 7, 2010.  REUTERS/Mark Blinch (CANADA – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)” /></a></div><script type=”text/javascript” src=”http://view.picapp.com//JavaScripts/OTIjs.js”></script>Embargoes and trade restrictions have long been a potent weapon in the American foreign policy arsenal. Wielding the power of the immense American consumer market, limiting imports from various locations (including Iranian-made Persian rugs, much to the display of discount furniture warehouses the nation over), a closing of our commercial borders is a severe enough sanction for some economies to serve as behavioral modification for nations.

Perhaps other nations will consider turning the tide on the United States when it comes to its exportation of NFL football.

In consecutive weeks, international audiences in the United Kingdom and Canada have been distinctly underwhelmed by the league’s offerings.

It started at London’s Wembley Stadium with the Halloween matchup between Denver and San Francisco, a competitive game between two sub-par teams that entered the fourth quarter with a score of 7-3. Last weekend, fans north of the border were treated to the continued floundering of the Buffalo Bills in a 22-19 loss to Chicago.

The 0-7 Bills’ trip to Toronto marked the third time in four seasons that the league has sent a winless team to foreign soil for an alleged showcase of the league’s ability. Miami carried an 0-7 record into the inaugural London game-turned-slopfest in 2007 en route to an abysmal 1-15 season, while the 0-6 Bucs made the trip last year as the patsy for a 35-7 shellacking by the Patriots.

It’s an admirable thing that the NFL is trying to do by enhancing its brand outside the 50 states. At least someone is taking a cue from America’s other main sporting pastime—baseball—and its tardy entry into the global market and impotent capitalization once it did. The NFL, perhaps more than any other sport since it is almost exclusively an American sport without publicity from international tournaments to benefit from as others do, must have a strong brand presence to nurture its foreign markets. As a fan of the now defunct NFL Europe and its subsequent last-gasp iterations, the European continent is a market that can be colonized if the approach is correct.

But sending middling teams for non-competitive games just aren’t going to do it. Unless you grew up die-hard fans of Steve Young or John Elway, the Denver-San Francisco tilt doesn’t have much appeal beyond the sheer novelty of NFL football in our country. Sure, that nuance puts fans in the stands at this juncture of the venture. If the overseas agenda expands as has been suggested, however, and the market becomes more saturated, such lousy matchups need to be replaced by top-flight contests.

Perhaps it’s that so few teams with legitimate title aspirations want to risk the trek across the Atlantic and its ramifications for their title quests. The Giants did parlay a win in London into a World Championship, but they did struggle down the stretch that season.

In fact, only two of the previous six participants in the London game have posted a winning record after returning to the States (the Chargers went 5-3 in 2008; the Pats 5-4 last season). Given the pedestrian pedigrees of the 2010 combatants, it’s a safe wager that number will remain at two.

FINISH!!!!

Games first

Admirable trying to export

Mistakes made by MLB

No one else plays football

But no games

2007

Giants finished 4-4, Dolphins 1-7

2008

Saints finished 4-4, Chargers 5-3

2009

Pats finished 5-4, Bucs 3-6

http://www.rugrag.com/post/Embargo-on-Iranian-made-rugs-and-Persian-Carpets.aspx

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