Wednesday, August 09, 2006

How David Beckham blacked out my commute

While lumbering into the buzzsaw of another Seattle commute this afternoon, I imagined the local traffic anchor issuing her throaty appeal: "Darling, blame it on Beckham." The Manchester United ex-pat was in town for an evening game at Qwest Field against DC United---I'm convinced most ticket holders are expecting to see Man-U. Meanwhile, I'm inching my way through the I-90 interchange, wondering if the guy I'm merging in front of attended the Maurice Clarett Automotive Institute.

Explanations for the abnormally heavy commute were threefold: The Real Madrid-DC United tilt at Qwest Field at 8 p.m.; the conclusion of the Devil Rays-Mariners game at Safeco Field at 4:30 p.m.; and the heralded Tim McGraw/Faith Hill twinbill at KeyArena at 7:30 p.m. Like a discarded hubcap in the HOV lane, my anticipation was palpable.

At $35 per seat, I will not be driving to Qwest tonight. In fact, given a local TV blackout, I will also not be watching the game on television.
The theory behind the blackout has always puzzled me---to ensure interest in the event at the box office, the distribution of said event is limited to AM radio and tickets on hand. Maybe this worked before cable; today, if it isn't televised, it didn't happen. And if it didn't happen, I didn't miss anything. Besides, this is that guy. (You know, the guy from that movie, the one where he bends things? It's a caper film.) Ticket sales should not be an issue. If Real Madrid are the Beatles, Beckham is Paul McCartney---handsome, talented, supremely overrated. Like a Tim McGraw/Faith Hill concert, the people will come.
Editor's note: The author apologizes for overstating the relative talents of Mr. McGraw and Ms. Hill.


Blogger Craig said...

I can't believe they're blacking that out - what is the point of staging these exhibitions if they're not trying to show it to the widest possible audience? I mean, this isn't the NFL, where they can afford to alienate fans in the pursuit of a little bit of extra revenue. Unbelievable.

So much of this stuff goes back to the early days of televised sports, where shortsighted owners (notice how things never really change in that department) adopted an adversarial stance with respect to television, worried about how it would deplete the number of customers who would still want to go to the ballpark (which it did, of course, but with the benefit of bringing in a whole new source of revenue). The book "Veeck as in Wreck" (the only autobiography I've ever read that I recommend) has an interesting perspective on it.

Thu Aug 10, 12:56:00 AM EDT  
Blogger David Bowie said...

Other Real Beatle candidates?
I could see Ronaldo as the pudgy, 66 Lennon, circa Rubber Soul.

Looking on wikipedia for more Real/Beatle comparisons, I find that they employ a player named Rubén De la Red. I'm impressed.

Thu Aug 10, 01:49:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went to an AC Milan-Chelsea exhibition last year in Foxboro. As a big soccer fan I was pumped to see many of the world's best players even if it was just an exhibition.

Well apparently the players weren't as excited as the fans in the stadium because they collectively took a giant dump on the field. There was little if any attacking, and the players were running at about half speed. If they want to attract American fans they need to play some sort of tournament between American and Euro squads. At least that way there's pride on the line.


Thu Aug 10, 09:38:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Whisk E. Bear said...

This morning's edition of the Seattle Times promised a photo page of the game. It is devoted exclusively to Beckham: two photos of the guy, three others of fans worshipping him, including one of a U-16 girls soccer team that I'm pretty sure violates some state indecency statute. There are several photos to accompany the article, none of which include Beckham---presumably because he didn't do anything interesting. The game was a sellout, United and Real tied at 1, I'm sure Beckham was a dream.

Thu Aug 10, 11:16:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Craig said...

You think he brings his wife with him on these trips? Because I bet the groupies are out-fucking-standing for that guy.

Thu Aug 10, 11:25:00 AM EDT  

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