Before making the subject switch from Spain to South America, Dan and I spent this week reading and discussing soccer in the world and the effects of globalization on modern soccer. We used two different chapters from Goles y banderas: futbol e identidades nacionales en España by Alejandro Quiroga Fernandez de Soto, the same book we used to discuss identities in Spain. These two chapters were titled, “Negocios” and “Emoción” (business and emotion) each about 50 pages and all in Spanish. “Negocios” highlighted the changes of the business side of soccer and how the economy of player transfers, television deals, shirt sales, and the globalization of all of the above has been affected from the 60’s to today. “Emoción” highlighted how the emotional connection of the fans, players, and club executives has changed with globalization and the boom in economy. Analyzing this copious amount of reading was a little bit challenging in a second language, but breaking it up into sections made this much easier.
“Negocios” was interesting to with various examples of economic change, mainly in European soccer. Big teams such as Real Madrid and Barcelona in Spain or Juventus in Italy or Manchester United and Liverpool in England, these teams have always been giants in the European soccer scene and that aspect has not changed. The globalization and accessibility of these huge European teams over the internet and various television networks, have made millions of fans worldwide. Games in the Champions League are not just watched by the fans from the big cities in Europe, they’re watched by millions in Southeast Asia, Northern America, and Africa (as well as other places, those are just three of the biggest cohorts of international fans). With millions more watching, the game grows exponentially financially. This happens through replica jersey sales, through subscriptions to different networks to watch the games, and through the high amount of internet traffic and advertising that social media provides for world soccer. The impact on the teams themselves is interesting as well. It became more of a competition to make more money between teams, and less about the actually competition of soccer. Stadium expansions, social media follower booms, season ticket prices rising, and the astronomical rise in player transfers and contracts all have followed in the wake of this new economical competition.
“Emoción” was written in the same style, using various different examples from across the years to express the ideas of changed emotional connection for fans and players alike in the game they all love. The most impactful event to change how people connect to club soccer teams was the, ” Bosman rule” implemented in 1995. Before the “Bosman rule”, every team in Europe was allowed a maximum of three foreign players for a first team roster. This created a much more significant sense of club pride, team bonding and nationalism, and connection between players and fans because they were often from the same place. Soccer is an emotional game, the nature of competition creates a lot of dramatic moments in every game. This emotional connection is a lot harder to have from across the Atlantic over the television broadcast, yet these gigantic European clubs have managed to sell this to millions of people all over the globe. The central struggle or argument of this chapter was around the aforementioned thought. Because soccer is naturally an emotional game, is the emotional connection to it damaged by the globalization of the sport, or are the emotions fans have across the world true through the internet and television?
We also did some beginning work on corruption and rivalries in South America, I found two brief articles, one informational and one an interview. https://www.voanews.com/a/south-america-a-breeding-ground-for-soccer-football-corruption/3089483.html http://larepublica.pe/archivo/259227-es-inevitable-la-rivalidad-con-chile. I am doing some more research to provide good topics for the two of us to open up or exploration of South American soccer culture and how it is different from the rest of the world.