Thursday, June 14, 2007

Copa Libertadores Final: Blacked Out

The 1st leg of the Copa Libertadores Final was played yesterday, and Argentine powerhouse Boca Juniors beat Ronaldinho's old team Gremio 3-0. Gremio will need a major miracle next Wednesday in the 2nd leg in Porto Allegre, especially if Boca get a road goal, for then it will take 4 just to get to extra time and 5 to win.

Copa Libertadores is to South America what The Champions League is to Europe: a club tournament between the best clubs of all of the South American nations that is the highest honor a club team from that continent can win. Unlike the Champions League, which is known and seen the world over and some say even overhyped/overexposed, the Copa flies under the radar of the world football audience even though it would rank just behind the Champions League as far as prestige, quality of play, etc. To wit, even though I have Univision, Galavision, Telefutura, Fox Soccer Channel, and GolTV, the final of this prestigious tournament was no where to be found on TV last night. It was on Fox Sports World Espanol, but like most people in the U.S., I don't get that channel. I understand that Univision/Galavision/Telefutura have the rights to the 2007 Gold Cup, which is going on currently, but they only show 1 match at a time between these three networks. FSC last night showed a replay of the US-El Salvador Gold Cup match from the night prior {which was shown live on ESPN}, and GolTV was showing a match from the Colombian league.

I don't know if it is the marketing/PR people at CONMEBOL, or these soccer TV networks, or some bizarre contractual thing, but they really should sort themselves out and get this competition some more exposure in the US and world markets, because as I said the Copa Libertadores product is probably 2nd only in the world to the Champions League, which through incessant investment and marketing has become a global brand and cash cow.

So sort it out please, because there is some really great footy that you should be showing the rest of the world but aren't, and in addition to being frustrating for fans, you are hurting your own bottom line in the long run.


Michael said...

Only an Arsenal fan would call the CL "overhyped/overexposed." :)

By the way, I thought of you on my run this morning listening to the World Soccer Daily podcast. They read an e-mail from someone who allegedly overheard TH14 telling Tony Parker at a fancy Cleveland restaurant that he's going to Barca...along with Wenger and Cesc. Seems a tad unlikely to me.

moin said...

To be honest, Henry's threat to sue the French newspaper that reported the alleged agreement smells. There are rumors like that every year, especially about him (and in some countries, like Spain, every day). Why sue now, over this particular rumor? Is it because it hurt him on the bargaining table? And if so, who was on the other end? I don't know, but all I know is that I didn't take the rumor seriously until Henry threatened to sue.

On a related note, Sky is reporting that Barca is pretty confident that they have agreed to a 3 year deal with Henry and "just have to convince Wenger". And the price for Henry might include Eto'o.

First of all, yes, another rumor. Secondly, which do you reckon is actually more valuable? Henry or Eto'o? Kinda hard to separate the two in my opinion, and Arsenal needs to be careful that Eto'o doesn't end up like another Sheva. But doesn't this strike you as worse than other tapping up attempts if it is true? I mean, at least RM had the decency not to enter contract talks until after a fee has been.. say.. submitted?

Oh, and I highly doubt Wenger and Cesc are going to Barca along the deal, that's just silly. If Wenger wanted to leave, he would have left a long time ago.

Kanu said...


Well I was trying to contrast the disparity in media coverage/attention /marketing & promoition between the two, but I actually do hear and read people all the time talk about the negative effect of the CL/money etc since it's creation 15 or so years ago and how it has become this overhyped behemoth that is creating an ever-widening gap between the haves and the have nots.

But don't get me wrong, dude, I love the CL and am not trying to talk it down simply because Arsenal haven't won it. Yet :)

Well I can tell you one thing: Wenger is absolutely not going to Barca or anywhere else this summer. He has a contract that runs through the summer of 2008, and he is fanatical about honoring his contracts, always has been, and he never agrees to a new one until right before the current one expires. I have read 3 books on Wenger and a million articles, and I know that he would never leave any club before his a=contract ran out as a matter of general principle and personal honor, whether they sacked his buddy fromt he board or not.

So, I am certain that he will not leave, and I am pretty damn sure that Cesc will not leave Arsenal as long as Wenger is the manager. I'm fairly certain that Titi won't leave this summer either while Wenger is still at Arsenal.

That being said, if Wenger doesn't re-up with Arsenal next summer, and he leaves the club, then que the chaos, and I wouldn't at all be surprised to see TH14, Cesc and others move as well. Fingers crossed the board stabilizes the club, doesn't sell out to Kroenke, re-signs Wenger The Magnificent, and Arsenal can go on from there...

Kanu said...


As I stated previously, I'll believe it when I see Titi in Camp Nou holding up the scarf for the photographers.

More valuable depends on for which team based on your style of play and what other players you have.

To me, putting my Arsenal emotions aside, if I was running a theoretical club, I would think that Eto'o was more valuable simply because he is 26 years old and TH14 is 30 {will be 30 in August}, so if I am looking at having one of them at my club over the next 4-5 years I would think Eto'o would be right a the peak of his powers while TH14 would be in decline.

Other than that it would be hard to say which is more valuable.

LD said...

I don't know the rules of the Copa Libertadores, but is it different from the road goal rule in the Champions' League?

As in, if Boca get a road goal, and Gremio somehow score 4, wouldn't the aggregate be 4-4, but with Boca winning on road goals?

Wouldn't the only way extra time could come about be if Gremio won by 3 and the same number of road goals were scored (as in a Gremio 3-0 home win would lead to extra time)? So, unless the rules are different, wouldn't Gremio need 5 to win if Boca gets a goal, and extra time wouldn't be a possibility?

Kanu said...

Good eye LD. I wrote this not long after reading an article that misstated the situation, so it was fresh in my head as incorrect.

According to this they are now using away goals after years of not doing so:

Perhaps the writer of the article was unaware that the change had occurred.

Corrected, and thanks for sorting me out.

Moin said...

Yeah, Gremio tied Santos 3-3 on aggregate in the semis but went through on the strength of losing "only" 3-1 in the away leg.

Michael said...

The Cesc and Wenger rumors are almost certainly untrue, but I'd put better than 50/50 odds on the Henry to Barca thing being accurate. It makes sense to swap Eto'o and Henry since they are both fits for the Arsenal and Barca systems and they are a little unhappy with where they are right now.

Eto'o's similarity with Henry is why the Sheva analogy doesn't work. Sheva went from having Kaka and Pirlo put the ball on a platter for him to Mourinho's neanderthal system. Eto'o would be going from one slick passing system to another, albeit a new system with less talented players. (Cesc and Rosicky are good in their own right, but...)

My guess is that Henry and Barca have reached terms (with Arsenal's approval, as Arsenal has not made any noise of tapping up) and the announcement cannot come until after the end of the Spanish season. We're going to see an avalanche of activity after Sunday, especially if Barca don't win the league.

Michael said...

And regarding the CL, there's a difference between the CL increasing the difference between the haves and have nots, which is almost certainly true, and the CL being overhyped. The latter is essentially an argument that the CL isn't that big a deal, either because the teams aren't that good or there isn't that much interest in it. Neither claim is supportable. I'm probably playing semantics here, but I think you're confusing the CL having negative effects with the CL being overhyped, i.e. getting more attention than it deserves.

Kanu said...

No dude, I understand what you are saying, and I agree. I was trying to describe the stark contrast in how these 2 competitions, because Copa Lib. is clearly the 2nd best club competition in the world, but no one has ever heard of it because of poor marketing/international TV deals.exposure/etc, whereas UEFA have made the Champions League a household name/brand the world over. I just didn't choose my words as well as I could have- I went with "overexposed" to sum up all that shit I just wrote because it popped in my head, when there is surely another word or set of words which would have been better.

Either way, we're not in disagreement.