Thank you so very much for a wonderful World Cup 2014 in Brazil. During the past month I have been wrapped up in the competition on a daily basis and have watched enough football games to last me … well … about four years. And therein lies perhaps your only problem; the lack of North American interest in football during the intervening years might be a bit of a thorn in your side. I grant you, participation in the Beautiful Game is on the rise here, particularly among the young, which augurs well for the future, but when it comes to advertising revenue from television during those non-World Cup years, football ranks well down the list – behind American Football (both NFL and College), Baseball, Basketball and Hockey.
I realize that your game is the most popular in the world. And that you don’t need North America to maintain that number one position. But if you do want to tap into that vast potential audience, I have some suggestions that I believe will win you many North American viewers, based on what seems to appeal to them (us?).
You have a game that is timed. When this is the case, we North Americans like to be able to see the official time on display. Continue to count up from zero if you want, although we prefer to count down, but when there is a stoppage in play – an injury, or jockeying for position on a free kick, stop the clock too. No more mysterious “time added on”, what you see on the scoreboard clock, not a referee’s watch, is what you get.
The dimensions of the field are too big. Bring this down to about 60 meters by 30 meters and reduce the number of players on each team by five. Let’s face it, currently, at any given time half the players on the field are standing around doing nothing anyway.
We appreciate the need for an offside rule to eliminate net hangers, those who would just lurk around the goal and wait for a chance to pop the ball in. But please do away with the moveable feast offside rule. Paint a line across the field at about 12 meters from the goal, one in each end, color it blue, and use this as the offside point. So much simpler.
The ball goes out of play too much. Ringing the field with boards and plexiglass would eliminate this tiresome game delay. It would also provide an extra opportunity for revenue from advertising painted on these boards.
Okay, let’s see, a proper visible timing system, fewer players on a smaller pitch, a less ambiguous offside rule and boards to keep the ball in play. What the hell, let’s flood the surface with water and freeze it, give the players skates and allow full body contact and we might just have a game that will appeal to North American viewers.