Subject: ML$: MUTANT League $occer
Date: 10 May 1997 16:08:13 -0700
From: (Oliver Tse)

Top 10 reasons why 7 out of 8 users do NOT
watch MUTANT League $occer (ML$):

10. Squished, distorted picture on national telecasts on that
    4-letter network with the grunified graphics and that damn blue line
    at the bottom.

9.  Big, ugly, non-transparent sponsor bug on regional telecasts.
    No, we will NOT eat at your McDonald's.

8.  Those homer shrills on regional telecasts:  "We root, root, 
    root for our bhoys."  Where's that mute button?

7.  The three blind mice with flags or whistles.  
    "Hey, that was a handball! HANDBALL! HANDBALL!  How can you miss 
     that?  You're blind!"

6.  Players that stop playing when the clock counts down to around
    :10 to the end of the first half.  Instead, they blast the ball 
    straight up into the air or 50 rows up to run out the clock.

5.  Are the 22 guys on the field players, or are they cartoon
    characters with corny nicknames dreamed up by a bunch of
    suits at McCann-Erickson over a three-martini power lunch?

4.  Those shrills behind the mike who insist on using those 
    silly McCann-Erickson nicknames.  Another reason 
    to reach for the mute button.

3.  The suits who negotiated and signed the exclusive DirecTV
    out-of-market pay-per-view deal.  So the suits don't
    want our business, eh?  No problemo, man.  We will watch 
    Futbol de Espan~a, Futbol de Alemania, Futbol de Argentina,
    la Copa FA de Inglaterra, y los elimininatorias de la
    Copa Mundial Noventa y Ocho instead.  

2.  The suits who insist on playing jock rock at the stadiums
    WHILE THE BALL IS IN PLAY.  Bush League.

1.  One word:  CRAPShootout!  (TM)

Subject: Re: ML$: MUTANT League $occer
Date: 11 May 1997 20:06:39 -0700
From: (Oliver Tse) (Harrington B. Laufman) writes:

>Well Oliver, I note that your criticism has essentially nothing to do with
>the game but only its presentation.  

Please re-read the NUMBER ONE reason why 7 of 8
users do NOT watch MUTANT League Soccer:

  1.  One word:  CRAPShootout! (TM)

I haven't met anyone who follow the game on a GLOBAL basis 
who actually likes the CRAPShootout.  

(Note that I have received e-mail from THOUSANDS of users 
of since it started in 1995, and I track 
this newsgroup and a number of mailing lists for comments.)

The CRAPSHOOTOUT is NOT a presentation issue.  
It is a COMPETITION issue.

THE CRAPSHOOTOUT CHANGES the way the media reports and observes a match.  
With the CRAPSHOOTOUT, some reporters and TV sports "news" anchors 
only report on the CRAPSHOOTOUT and ignore the rest of the match.

THE CRAPSHOOTOUT CHANGES the way competition is conducted, 
especially during the playoffs.  A team does NOT have
to score a goal during regulation play AT ALL to advance:  
all it needs to do is to play for two 0-0 draws, and then "win" 
two shootout sessions to advance to the next round.

THE CRAPSHOOTOUT CHANGES the way players and coaches make decisions.  
Witness what Washington DC Head Coach Bruce Arena tried (but failed)
to do in Saturday's match:  he tried to make two late 
substitutions in the 89th minute of a REGULAR SEASON LEAGUE match?
Why?  So that he can get his "shootout specialists" into the match.

As long as the CRAPSHOOTOUT remains, the MLS will 
be perceived by sports fans as a MUTANT soccer product.  

Given a choice to users between a MUTANT League Soccer
match and an imported match from one of the big European Leagues 
or a World Cup qualifier, MUTANT League Soccer will lose 7 out of
8 times.  The access logs don't lie.

Subject: Re: awful MLS attendances
Date: Sat, 23 Aug 1997 16:52:08 -0600
From: ERic & Lisa 

Oliver Tse wrote:
> Friday night attendances:
> Tampa Bay vs Dallas   only 8329 at the Sombrero
> Colorado vs NY/NJ     only 7225 at Mile High
> Neither game was on local cable or broadcast TV.
> Weather was also not a factor.
> What excuses will Mutant League Soccer apologists come up with now?

Nice to see where you're coming from now.

As you well know, it doesn't matter what the attendances are for an
individual team, but how the league does as a whole, and as long as the
league attendance stays above 12,000 average, the league will make
money.  It may take a couple years for it to break even, but it'll

What is your problem with MLS, Oliver?

Subject: Re: awful MLS attendances
Date: 25 Aug 1997 09:26:04 GMT
From: (Dustin Christmann)

I explained them, or at least, how I perceive them, on NAS.  They're twofold:

1) A Dish Network dealer sponsors his web site.  The MLS/ESPN Shootout
package isn't available on Dish.

2) If MLS succeeds, the visibility of soccer in the media will increase, soccer
matches will be easier to find on TV through conventional means, and will decline in relevance.  Conversely, if soccer remains a
niche sport, it'll remain hard to find the game on US TV, and Oliver's site
will remain a vital resource.  

The good of MLS is bad for  It's such a shame that Oliver
refuses to admit it.

Subject: Re: awful MLS attendances
Date: Fri, 29 Aug 1997 12:50:12 -0700
From: (John P. O'Connor)

Oliver has criticized the decisions of MLS executives, and ESPN's for that
matter, long before he had any advertisers on the site. 

Even when MLS grows to of its niche sport stage there will still be a need
for a page such as Olivers, because there should still be plenty of soccer
on Univision, Fox Sports Americas and Telemundo that will be available via
satellite, so many people still will not be able to check their local
listings and find what they are looking for.

Not to mention the fact that in the future more people will get most of
their TV programming from Net based sources 

>The good of MLS is bad for  

I really don't see how you come to that conclusion. If  the MLSpackage
become available on DiSH next season, I will buy it, and watch magnitudes
more MLS than I do now. But I will still rely on Olivers web page for the
programming on FSA and Telemundo.

>It's such a shame that Oliver refuses to admit it.

May be he doesn't admit it because it is not true?

I don't agree with a lot of what he says, but I also don't think he wants
MLS to fail. I also don't think Colin Morris wants to see MLS fail. They
just believe in pointing out what they see as problems or inadequecies in
what MLS does.

This all started with a question of what excuse MLS or particular markets
had for lackluster performance. In the beginning of the season, MLS
executives and team supporters were making some "excuses" as to why
attendances where as they were, and what their expectations were based on.

Why is it all of a sudden a crime to ask what they are in the middle of
the season?

Subject: Re: awful MLS attendances
Date: 31 Aug 1997 06:42:42 GMT
From: (Dustin Christmann)

>Oliver has criticized the decisions of MLS executives, and ESPN's for that
>matter, long before he had any advertisers on the site. 

Yes, but money, particularly advertising money, changes everything.  If he
weren't financially in bed with anyone, then I could accept that his views
were genuine and that they weren't influenced by financial concerns.  And
this would also be the case even if I agreed with him.

Moreover, his criticisms have become more virulent and biased since his
sponsor came on board.

>Even when MLS grows to of its niche sport stage there will still be a need
>for a page such as Olivers [...]

I disagree.  Oliver's page exists because soccer has been difficult to find
on US TV, simply because it has not been a high profile sport in this country.
If/when soccer's profile ascends to a level where it is perceived as a major
sport, traditional media, in the form of sports sections of newspapers and
in the form of TV guides, will do a much better job of pointing out where
one can view soccer in the channel lineup.  Moreover, the TV networks will
show the game at times more convenient to the viewing public and with suffi-
cient promotion so that most know when and on which station a particular
game is on.  Where is the need for a "Soccer on US TV" web site then?

Look at other sports.  Is there a pressing need for a "Hockey on US TV" web-

Allow me to illustrate my point through a personal example.  I rarely use anymore.  The fact of the matter is that
the Dallas Morning News does an exemplary job of telling where and when
a game is on.  It lists the soccer programs daily, along with the other sports,
in its sports radio and TV listings.  And that includes Spanish-language
stations.  If a game is on Galavision, Telemundo, or Univision, the DaMN
will list it.  And in the Wednesday soccer columns, there is a complete
listing of all soccer programs coming up in the next week.  The only major
soccer broadcaster it doesn't list is Fox Sports Americas, and then, only
because it isn't available on any of the cable systems in the D/FW area.

The point here is that I can look in the paper in the morning or on Wednes-
days and I know which games are on that I can get.  And while the point can
be made that the DaMN has one of the best sports sections in the nation,
and is pretty enlightened when it comes to the Beautiful Game, it does allow
me to illustrate my point.  If MLS succeeds, the profile of the game in
this country will rise and more papers will do likewise.  And fewer people
will use

>Not to mention the fact that in the future more people will get most of
>their TV programming from Net based sources 

But far, far more people still get their information from traditional media
sources, and will do so for several years at least, if not more.

>>The good of MLS is bad for  
>I really don't see how you come to that conclusion. [...]

Would you still use his page if your local paper listed the games on FSA
and Telemundo?  If/when the traditional media gets on the bandwagon, Oliver's
site will be consigned to irrelevance.

Conversely, if soccer remains a niche sport that few people outside of
first-generation immigrants follow with any great interest, soccer will
remain difficult to find on TV and his page will remain vital.

>[...]They just believe in pointing out what they see as problems or 
>inadequecies in what MLS does.

I cannot speak for Colin, nor would I hope to do so.  But I see one funda-
mental difference between Colin and Oliver.  Colin is a fan.  He pays his
money and he has his opinions, all of which you can be sure are his.  He has
some issues with the way the league is run and the games are played, which
prevent him from attending MLS league games.  I get the sense that in general,
he views MLS success as being generally positive for the game in the USA,
but that until they address the issues he views as important, it's just
not for him.  And I respect that, even if I don't necessarily agree with it.

Oliver, on the other hand, has commercial interests, most of which are
served best if MLS fails:

1) Increased MLS visibility raises the visibility of the game in the tradi-
tional media, making his page less vital for fans in the USA.  This means
fewer hits and fewer advertising bucks.

2) His sponsor sells the Dish Network.  Coincidentally enough, the MLS/ESPN
Shootout PPV package isn't available on Dish.  This doesn't lead me to
believe that he's going to plug the package or the entities which are
responsible for it, even though it is a terrific, terrific thing for soccer
fans in this country.

3) Dish Network is the defacto minidish system for international soccer.
DirecTV is the defacto minidish system for USA soccer.  If MLS fails,
DirecTV's soccer content becomes minimal very quickly, and suddenly, Dish
Network looks extremely attractive.

4) Oliver is either directly or indirectly trying to sell Dish Network.
Its subpar coverage of MLS is a major weakness.  Therefore, MLS is the pro-

Moreover, when was the last time you saw Oliver praise an MLS success?
For example, he's quick to trumpet subpar attendances in some cities, but
I have yet to see him give the Revolution its props for continuing to
draw attendances greater than 20,000 a game for a team that sucks eggs.

I'll tell you what: Since I'm obviously going out of my way to bash someone
who is performing a service to the internet soccer community solely out
of the goodness of his own heart, prove me wrong.  It should be easy.

>This all started with a question of what excuse MLS or particular markets
>had for lackluster performance. In the beginning of the season, MLS
>executives and team supporters were making some "excuses" as to why
>attendances where as they were, and what their expectations were based on.

And those executives have since come out and said in many media outlets
that those expectations were overly ambitious and that they were wrong to
set them so high.

>Why is it all of a sudden a crime to ask what they are in the middle of
>the season?

And why is it a crime to question someone's financial motives when that
someone makes an opinion on something in which he has a clear financial

And why is it OK to bash unsolicited commercial postings on r.s.s, when
many of Oliver's postings consist solely of "These games are on US TV.
Check my site for times and channels," thereby generating more hits (and
one would assume, more bucks) for Oliver?

And why do the readers of this newsgroup so scruplously examine each nugget
of media coverage for the slightest hint of anti-soccer bias, while we
accept the opinions of "one of out own" without any similar scrutiny?

In my opinion, the answer to all three questions have one answer.

Look, I'm not some apologist for the MLS establishment and I've gone in print
with my own criticisms of the way MLS does things.  Any intelligent MLS
fan worth his salt has criticisms for the league.  However, I think that the
positives definitely outweigh the negatives, and thus, I support the league
through my patronage, either in person at games or elsewhere.

And since we're speaking of minidishes, I feel that it's only fair to point
out my own personal bias here.  This past week, I bought a DirecTV system
and subscribed to the MLS PPV package immediately.  For me, it was not a
terrifically difficult decision to make from an objective point of view.
I won't go into my reasons here, since I don't want to give the impression
that I'm trying to sell anything here, but suffice to say, neither Oliver
nor his sponsor had anything to do with my decision.  So far, I am very
pleased with the service.

Subject: Re: awful MLS attendances
Date: 31 Aug 1997 22:01:48 -0400
From: (Chuck Pearson)

in the continuing saga of the above:

dallas had 4500 for the dallas-colorado match today.  dustin, is the
sidekicks organization that superior to the burn's?

i mean, you said it yourself - new england continues to draw 20,000 for a
side that's total crap.  dallas has a halfway decent side, and they
certainly took the game to colorado today.  what gives?

Subject: Re: awful MLS attendances
Date: 1 Sep 1997 04:52:31 GMT
From: (Dustin Christmann)

1) The game was originally scheduled for 7:30 PM and was moved to 2:00 PM
at Univision's behest.  Changing times at the close-to-last minute didn't
help.  I know some people that only found out in the past few days that
the game had changed time.

2) Being outdoors in Dallas at 2:00 in the afternoon at the end of August
is not exceedingly pleasant.

3) The Burn had won TWO home games since May coming into this match.  Needless
to say, the team was not giving the home fans good reasons to come to the

4) (And this is the biggest reason) On TV, beginning at noon in Dallas: the
Cowboys' season opener in Pittsburgh.

While I'm sure that the Sidekicks home game on Saturday night had some
effect, it wasn't nearly as great as #4.  But then, this wasn't expected.
All week on the Burn list, people were saying that the attendance would
be piss-poor.  In this morning's Dallas Morning News, the pre-game article
said that the attendance would be piss-poor.  The fact of the matter is
that the Cowboys are still the local obsession come this time of year.
(Dustin's Dallas Shopping Tip: Go while the Cowboys game is on.  No one will
be in the stores.  I have personal experience with this.)

Whether or not the Sidekicks have a superior organization I can't say.  But
they do have the following things that the Burn do not: local tradition, deep
pocketed owners, and the offseason use of the promotional and marketing
resources of an NBA team.  I posted a long article about this to NAS a few
weeks back.

Basically, the jist of it was this:  The Sidekicks are perhaps the single most
consistently successful indoor soccer team of all time, at the gate and on the
field, they're one of the four oldest professional soccer teams of any kind in
North America (the other three are also indoor teams, but not nearly as
successful), and their name is synonymous with the concept of professional
soccer in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, since for over 10 years, there was no
other pro team in the area.  Needless to say, they're not going to fade into
the background simply because MLS marches in and sets up shop.  They are not,
after all, the Washington Warthogs.  The Burn face competition that no other
team in MLS, let alone any league-run team, faces: A team that plays a similar
game, but one that has more money at its disposal and is something of a local

That alone would have made it a challenge for the Burn staff.  But couple
that with the fact that they're a league-run team, with all the budgetary
restrictions that that implies, and you have a sufficiently daunting task
which I think that the Burn have done reasonable well.  I have some
quibbles with their marketing effort, but ultimately, it all boils down
to a question of money.

Was MLS right to place a team in Dallas?  Yes, absolutely.  There are several
matches that I can point to that demonstrate this.  Does MLS do all that it
can to adjust for the Burn's unique situation?  No, or at least not this year.
Last season, when the Burn's attendances were respectable, it was interesting
to note the following:

1) They went over budget in marketing and promotion.
2) They spent the bulk of their money early in the season.  Coincidentally
enough, that's when the biggest attendances were.
3) There was far more highly visible promotion.

In other words, when they spent the bucks to promote the team, people came
out to watch.  My opinion is that MLS should open the wallet a bit wider
for promotion in Dallas than they otherwise would.  It is not like Columbus,
or Washington, or New England, where there's an investor that can spring
for the added promotion.

Subject: More Yankee Notes
Date: 4 Sep 1997 10:32:38 GMT
From: "mcminng"  (Greg McMinn)

As an MLS fan (DC United) and US soccer supporter, I have a few exceptions
to take with some of the comments accepted as "truth" in this news group:

1.  That the shootout is well received among Americans as a means of
deciding a draw.  Untrue.  Most fans do not like the shootout in the US. 
What you don't see on ESPN/ESPN2 broadcasts is the "Ban the Shootout"
banners hanging at almost every stadium at almost every match.  If after 90
minutes, the match is tied, let it stand, let each side take a point, and
call it a day.

2.  That messing with the laws of the game to allow more scoring is an
effort to bring more Americans to the table.  Untrue.  Every US player,
every US coach I know is pretty content with the laws of the game as they
are.  Maybe some strikers who lack the discipline to time their runs would
like the law regulating offsides changed, but that's just too bad.  On the
other hand, the recent posting concerning the counting-down clock is
encouraging primarily because it improves the image of the game.  If the
time is kept on a stadium clock for all to see, there is no question of a
referee favoring one side by adding or subtracting from injury time.

3.  That the quality of play in American soccer is poor.  Untrue.  The play
in MLS is on a par with the English First Division or Italian Serie B, and
is competitive with the Mexican First Division clubs, as evidenced by the
recent CONCACAF Cup tournament.  And MLS is continuing to improve.

4.  That WC94 was a complete and utter failure because it was held in the
US.  Untrue.  WC94 was a huge boost to US soccer, and MLS could not have
happened were it not for the WC94.  Whether European or South American
teams and their supporters were entirely pleased is another matter.  No one
could ask for a more exciting final.

5.  That the piped-in music (the "ole" song, etc.) and other Americanisms
translate somehow to the US not respecting the game.  Untrue.  In this
country we have music, cheerleaders silly contests, and a festive
atmosphere at nearly every sporting event we watch.  It is our love of
spectacle.  However, that does not translate into any less respect for what
happens between the lines.

6.  That the MLS ball and team strips are ugly, loud and tasteless.  True. 
Guilty as charged.  With the exception of DC United and maybe Columbus
Crew, the kits are butt-ugly.  Nike hasn't a clue, nor is Reebok much
better.  The ball, it should be noted, is the same Mitre Ultimax ball
played in the English Premier League, only different in color. However, if
that's the best argument you can muster...

   Finally, soccer is an American sport.  And a Brazilian sport, and a
British sport, a German sport and so on and so forth.  If we are to let it
be so, then let it be.  MLS is an evolving league in only it second year of
existance, so let it be, too.

Subject: My challenge to Oliver (was Re: Gringos in big trouble)
Date: 14 Oct 1997 00:52:51 GMT
From: (Dustin Christmann)

Enrique Vaca  <3491-B, Lake, Austin, Blvd., Austin, TX, 78703> wrote:
>Oliver Tse wrote:
>> Look for Los Tricolores to administer the mother
>> of all butt-whippings on the Gringos.  The 7-0 prediction I
>> made last week doesn't look as crazy now as it did last week.
>Well, if Mexico plays the way they played against Canada (crap!), the
>USA may have a chance, so I would not be sure of a slaughter. My
>prediction is Mexico 2-1 USA.

I'm not as optimistic, given the USA's current attacking woes.  I predict a
2-0 victory for El Tri.

Oliver's 7-0 prediction is one of the most ridiculous things I've read, but
sadly par for his course lately.  7-0 is very hard to do in league futbol, let
alone in a World Cup qualifier.  Moreover, Mexico couldn't even put seven past
Canada.  Finally, there is a lot of mutual respect between the Mexican players
and the American players and I really don't think that the Mexicans would
TRY to score seven goals, even assuming things went that well for them.
While I think that they'll carry the afternoon, I don't think things will go
THAT well.

But I'd like for Oliver to put his money where his mouth is on his predic-
tion.  I will.  If Oliver agrees to the challenge and the United States loses
to Mexico by more than five goals on November 2, I will put "Oliver Tse rules,"
as well as the URL to his commercial web site in my .signature for a month,
commencing 12:01 AM Monday, November 3, and ending 12:00 midnight, Wednesday,
December 3.  If the United States beats Mexico, ties Mexico, or loses to Mexico
by five or fewer goals, Oliver must put "Major League Soccer: This Stuff
Kicks," as well as the URL of MLSNET in his .signature for the same duration.

How about it, Oliver?

Subject: Oliver in big trouble (was Re: Gringos in big trouble)
Date: Wed, 15 Oct 1997 11:35:54 -0700
From: Colin Morris 

Well, maybe not, but I just liked the subject line better...

Subject: Re: Colin in big trouble? (was Re: Gringos in big trouble)
Date: 15 Oct 1997 13:23:52 -0700
From: (Oliver Tse)

Two can play that game.

Subject: Re: Colin in big trouble? (was Re: Gringos in big trouble)
Date: 15 Oct 1997 17:55:44 -0400
From: (Chuck Pearson)

maybe so.  

but i think the enquiring minds want to know what oliver thinks of dustin
christmann's little proposal.  8-)

Subject: The "wager": Mexico (- 4.5 goals) vs US
Date: 30 Oct 1997 06:41:43 -0800
From: (Oliver Tse)

An open message to everyone who wants to "bet" against me on 
the Mexico vs US match on November 2 after seeing my outrageous 
7 - 0 prediction in favor of La Seleccion Mexicana:

I am setting "the spread" at 4.5 goals, as many of you have 
already agreed.

If US loses by 4 goals or less, you win and I lose.

To pay off the bet, I will put the following message beneath 
my signature on every soccer-related internet posting 
from November 3, 1997 at 12:01 am Pacific Standard Time (0801 GMT)
to November 30, 1997 at 11:59pm Pacific Standard Time (0759 GMT):

 "US men will win World Cup 2010.  Vamos la Seleccion de Estados Unidos."

If US loses by 5 goals or more, YOU LOSE.  

To pay off the bet, you will have to put the following message beneath
your signature on every soccer-related internet posting 
from November 3, 1997 at 12:01 am Pacific Standard Time (0801 GMT)
to November 30, 1997 at 11:59pm Pacific Standard Time (0759 GMT 
on December 1):

  "Oliver Tse RULES! is the ULTIMATE guide to 
   televised soccer."

To be perfectly honest:  this is one bet I will be happy to lose.

[Final result: Mexico 0, USA 0]