Monday, September 19, 2016

USA v Mexico! (is not what it use to be)

It was announced today that the semi-annual event many know as "dos a cero" will be once again played in Columbus at Crew Stadium. Well, [Sponsor Name] Stadium, anyway. Mexico coming to Columbus has become a very, very special event with a unique scoreline.

No need to rehash the history of these two American neighbors going at it but it I will go over why Columbus is special. You see... For decades Mexico owned the United States in soccer. The rivalry heated, yes, but mostly one-sided. That changed in the early 2000s when the US beat them at newly minted Crew Stadium, 2-0. It was a huge deal. It happened again a few years later in 2005 and then again in 2009.

2013 rolls around and things start to feel a little different. Around that time Mexico started playing most of their games in the United States. Deals were cut with jersey makers for both sides and Soccer United Marketing (ie. SUM, whose revenues power MLS) carried the rights to Mexico's games.

Right now we are currently in the middle of a four-year deal that see's SUM pay Mexico $2 million dollars a match played in the US. The relationship between the two goes back to around 2003, believe it or not, but it is now a full-blown partnership. Why does Mexico play most of her games in the US? That's why.

Is there some sort of rivalry between the two countries? Yeah, kinda. I think the players feel it when they play in very hostile environments. But since the two started playing nice a decade ago to mutual benefit... it's more a thing for fans to buy jerseys and show some national pride.

The challenge, the bad blood, the competitive uniqueness, the sheer awesome scariness of the Azteca in the 80s and 90s where you felt the estadio herself would fall in on itself and consume the US players. - has all been sucked away over the last decade to the point where it is now - A catchy phrase to sell stuff. Stuff that one company is selling.

Many might not understand why that makes much of a difference. I think I get that, but to that, I'll say; where your money is, so is your heart. SUM is too closely tied to both for this to be a real something other than a show. Which is okay! Which is a thing you can enjoy!

But is it the same as it was before the two became business partners? Heck no. Anyone trying to sell it to you as something more than what it has become either works for SUM, USSF, MLS or worse.. doesn't know their history and just buys into it all ("ignorant" is the old word for that - Brand Journalist is the new term).

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