Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Despite Transatlantic flirting, NFL has failed to globalise

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FNFL/licking through the television channels in Budapest, Hungary, last week, it took just five clicks before I stumbled across live coverage of the Minnesota Vikings playing the New England Patriots.

It was somewhat unexpected that a game which has very little following in Eastern Europe would be live on television but I should have known better. That day, the Denver Broncos and the San Francisco 49ers had been playing in London and now that ESPN has a channel in the region, it is surely only natural they beam in live coverage of ‘America’s Game’.

Nothing should really be surprising anymore in the era of increasingly globalized sport – I can watch six straight hours of Premier League soccer on a Saturday morning from my sofa in Miami while English NFL fans, as well as getting their solitary fix at Wembley each year, can watch live games on Sky Sports or listen to radio commentary via the BBC.

It is a far cry from the 1980s when Channel Four began their cult coverage of the NFL in the era of Dan Marino, Jim McMahon and William ‘The Fridge’ Perry while soccer fans in the United States had to make do with the ‘Soccer Made in Germany’ highlights show on television and scour foreign newspapers for two-day-old scores from Europe.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Ballon d’Or shortlist should give Premier League pause for thought

SOCCER-SPAIN/England performed well below expectation at the World Cup in South Africa and judging by the FIFA Ballon d'Or list announced on Tuesday the stock of the Premier League is not at its highest either.

Just three players from the league that likes to call itself the best in the world are on the list and it would be a huge surprise if any of them made it into the top three:

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Will ‘Little Pea’ make Rooney green with envy?

SOCCER-ENGLAND/Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez’s two-goal and match-winning performance against Stoke City at the weekend for Manchester United could give manager Alex Ferguson the ideal headache.

Two thirds of United fans have yet to make up their mind on whether to forgive and forget the whole Rooney saga, Sky Sports reported from a Manchester Evening News poll, and with Hernandez and Berbatov on song is there an argument that the England man should have to wait to get his place back when his fitness is resolved?

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Breaking news: Rooney to stay at Manchester United

SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/Well, what an extraordinary twist this is: Wayne Rooney has agreed a new five-year deal with Manchester United and is staying at Old Trafford after all. Here's the club statement:

Wayne Rooney has agreed a new 5 year contract to stay at Manchester United until at least June 2015.

The agreement follows intensive discussions between the Club and the player’s representatives and means that by the end of his contract Wayne will have been a Manchester United player for 11 years.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Will Rooney’s departure signal United’s decline?

SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/Wayne Rooney's demand for a move away from Manchester United has stunned manager Alex Ferguson, especially given the striker's poor form and support the club have given him through personal problems.

After winning three successive Premier League titles with United and the 2008 Champions League, Rooney enjoyed his best personal season with the club in 2009-10 -- when his impressive tally of 34 goals in all competitions was only enough to bring  the League Cup to Old Trafford.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Breaking news: Rooney wants to leave Manchester United, Ferguson shocked

SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/England striker Wayne Rooney wants to leave Manchester United, manager Alex Ferguson said on Wednesday.

"We are as bemused as anyone can be, we can't quite understand why he would want to leave," Ferguson told a news conference.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Liverpool board leads 2-1 in court cases with end now in sight

SOCCER-LIVERPOOL/Here we go again. After another legal victory in the High Court for the Liverpool board and main creditor RBS, all eyes turn to Dallas, where a new hearing on the ownership battle is underway.

Wednesday's original ruling had, it seemed, paved the way for Liverpool to be sold for 300 million pounds ($479.8 million) to New England Sports Ventures (NESV) -- owners of the Boston Red Sox -- but that was before George Gillett and Tom Hicks obtained a temporary block in a Texas district court.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Liverpool board wins right to sell but another court battle looms

SOCCER-ENGLAND/LIVERPOOL-COURT

Updates at 0029 GMT, Thursday after Texas court injunction and Liverpool statement.

Liverpool were given the go-ahead to sell the club when a High Court judge backed the club's board but another court battle could be on the cards after current co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett obtained an injunction in Texas to block the sale.

Can European soccer learn from NFL on team parity?

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The NFL prides itself on ‘parity’, on the competitive balance between different clubs being close, ensuring that games are tightly-fought contests and that as many teams as possible start the season with some sort of chance of making the Super Bowl.

Looking at the start to this season, with surprise results and with unfancied teams such as Houston and Tampa making bright starts, the balance is very healthy.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Transfer deadline day live blog

We're following all the deals as they happen on the final day of activity in the transfer market. Comments always welcome...

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