MONEY Sports

Why Germany Is So Good At Soccer (and the U.S. Is So Mediocre) in 2 Charts

Germany's national soccer players Roman Weidenfeller, Shkodran Mustafi, Andre Schuerrle , Kevin Grosskreutz and Per Mertesacker celebrate
Kai Pfaffenbach—Reuters

Hint: It's Focus.

As Germany takes the pitch Sunday, fresh off crushing Brazil’s World Cup hopes in a historic 7-1 blowout, it’s worth reflecting how Germany got there. Not the team; the country.

See, this isn’t Germany’s first grab at the sport’s brass ring.The German national team is one of international soccer’s most consistent powerhouses. German teams—including those from the Nazi era, post-war West Germany, and reunified Germany—have qualified for 18 of 20 World Cup tournaments and missed the quarter finals of those only once. The team has also made it to a mind-blowing seven finals — a 35% appearance rate — winning three of them.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the United States has not exactly replicated Deutschland’s success. The U.S. has zero titles and zero finals appearances, and reached the semi-finals only once, at the first World Cup in 1930. This year, we were eliminated by Belgium in the round of 16, and finished 15th overall in the tournament. Not bad by our standards, but not great. And certainly not befitting of a country with the world’s largest economy, 300 million people, and an extremely competitive national team in almost every other team sport.

So why is Germany is so good and the U.S. so mediocre? Following America’s most recent loss, many theories have been offered. We over-coach our players; our college system doesn’t mirror international play; we don’t have a soccer “culture.” There’s likely some truth to all of these answers, but there’s one I find most convincing: competition from other sports. The U.S. has only so much athletic talent, and unlike many other nations, we tend to spread it around. Germany, on the other hand, concentrates the vast majority of its athletic talent on soccer—and they’ve certainly reaped the rewards.

In order to visualize this, I’ve assembled pie charts showing the revenue breakdown of the most popular professional sports leagues. The numbers aren’t perfectly analogous—updated figures on smaller German team sports are hard to come by, sports seasons don’t coincide and sometimes span more than one calendar year, and we’re including only major team sports. But as a rough proxy for each nation’s athletic focus, they are offer a clear picture of the sports the two nations care most about and to which they dedicate the most resources and, as economists and others would argue, talent.

In the two charts below, the green pie slice represents the percentage of major team sports revenue that goes to soccer. As you can see, it’s not even close.

GermanySportsRevNew

 

USSportsRev

Soccer eats up the overwhelming majority of German team sports revenue, while in the US, it barely makes up a sliver. Germany’s three major soccer leagues each take in over €100 million, and their combined revenue is €2.8 billion—the equivalent of over $3.8 billion. There’s really only one major sport in Germany, with a few second-tier leagues running far behind.

In comparison, America’s MLS teams have a combined revenue of about $494 million, as estimated by Forbes in 2013 (the MLS does not release total revenue figures). That’s about 1/7th of the NHL’s revenue, and 1/20th of the NFL’s total income.

So next time you’re wondering why the U.S. isn’t good at soccer, remember: the American people are not exactly focussed on the “beautiful game.” All things considered, it’s surprising we aren’t worse.

Sources: BBL: Deloitte via SportsBusinessDaily; DEL: Deloitte via SportsBusinessDaily; 3. Liga: DFB official figure; Bundesliga: 2014 report; 2. Bundesliga: 2014 report; NFL: Forbes via Statistica; NBA: Forbes via Statistica; NHL: CBS Sports; MLB: Forbes; MLS: Forbes

 

MONEY Sports

Stanley Cup Ticket Prices Collapse with Rangers Down 3-0

140610_EM_StanleyCup_1
New York Rangers Carl Hagelin (62), left, reacts as the Los Angeles Kings Willie Mitchell (33) and Slava Voynov (26), celebrate a second period goal by Mike Richards, center, during Game 3 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, Monday, June 9, 2014, in New York. Kathy Willens—AP

A week after Stanley Cup ticket prices soared, the Rangers are on the verge of losing the series to the L.A. Kings, and seats at New York's Madison Square Garden are selling below face value.

Here’s hoping you didn’t buy tickets for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup last week, when prices for the “cheap seats” spiked over $1,000 as New York Rangers fans eagerly sought the chance to see their team fight for the championship for the first time in two decades. The Rangers lost the first two games of the series against the Los Angeles Kings in excruciating overtime sessions in L.A. And after the Rangers lost Game 3 on Monday night at Madison Square Garden, the bottom dropped out of the market for tickets.

As of first thing on Tuesday morning, the get-in price on the secondary market for Game 4 in New York dropped 42.62% compared to asking prices prior to Game 3, according to the ticket sale and research site TiqIQ. Before the Rangers had gone down 3-0 in the series—one loss away from elimination—the get-in price for Game 4 stood at $955, down only slightly from last week. Afterwards, the cheapest tickets were selling for $548.

And prices have continued to fall. At the popular ticket resale site StubHub, get-in prices were starting at $528 as of 7 a.m. on Tuesday, and they dipped to $488 by 9:30, then to $470 by around 10:15.

Prices have already dropped below the face value of what’s currently being offered to the public via Ticketmaster, according to TiqIQ’s Chris Matcovich, who anticipates a further fall in price as we get closer to Game 4. “The quantity is not extremely high so I expect them to fall some more maybe $300’s,” Matchovich said via e-mail. “The crazier thing is a lot of people spent $1000 to $1100 earlier this week for this game. Now they wake up this morning and the value of their ticket has plummeted.”

As for a potential Game 6 back in New York’s Madison Square Garden, the get-in price is now hovering at about $1,100. That’s certainly pricey. But it’s down significantly from last week, when the cheapest seats were selling in excess of $1,700. If there is a Game 6, of course, the Rangers will have to have won Games 4 and 5, and they’ll be within a couple more wins of making an amazing comeback. Potentially.

TIME movies

Could a Fourth Mighty Ducks Film Actually Happen?

The cast of the first 'Mighty Ducks' films with producer Jordan Kerner (kneeling). Jordan Kerner

Here's what cast members from the original films had to say about the possibility of another sequel

Jordan Kerner, producer of the Mighty Ducks trilogy made a splash in TIME’s oral history of the franchise when he revealed that Disney is interested in producing a fourth installment of the beloved hockey series, assuming that a compelling new story line materializes. While we published 12,000 words and several galleries on the films, some material wound up on the editing room floor, including what former cast members thought about the possibility of a fourth film. For those hungry for a hint at whether it’ll ever happen, here’s what they had to say:

ELDEN HENSON (Fulton Reed): You know, it’s not something I’ve really thought about, but I would absolutely do it. I owe a lot to Jordan [Kerner] and Steve Brill, who wrote the movies. I mean, they really sort of kickstarted my career and allowed me to do a lot of things. And these movies allowed me to pay for my own college. So I’m extremely thankful and would always go back.

MATT DOHERTY (Les Averman): I have a feeling that that would be well-received and it would make a lot of sense. I could totally see a full circle on that — somebody maturing into a Gordon Bombay-like role themselves. I could see it making sense from every point of view. I have a feeling that people would probably really receive it well because it’s still around.

MARGUERITE MOREAU (Connie Moreau): Well, I think if they were to do another one, you know, whether it was us playing or our kids playing, you just couldn’t lose the underdog story. That whole idea of “struggle is a part of life but it’s also the most rewarding part,” kind of keeping that working class feel to it that I think is the real heart of the first movie would be so cool. That’s the thing I think a lot of people respond to, plus the amazing, amazing hockey plays, like the Flying V. The Flying V still gets a lot of love on Instagram.

SCOTT WHYTE (Gunnar Stahl): Oh, I’ve thought about it, and I would be there in a heart beat if I was ever asked. In a perfect world, I would love to see a fourth movie like all these years later now. I mean it’s kind of like what can we do? What would be a cool concept? And I’m not even thinking with me being part of it, though of course I would love to be part of it. I was taking a shower in the morning, going, “Man, what if Gunnar came back? The kids hadn’t played hockey in years, and all of a sudden — for some reason, for a charity event — I don’t know what. But some of them went pro and others didn’t. I don’t know. But they got the old team back together. Then all of a sudden maybe they bring the foreign exchange student kids. You know, somehow I get involved.” It would be actually so great to see all these years later, to see the whole family back together and to do this again. And to get on the ice again one more time. There would have to be a good storyline obviously and would have to make sense for them to do it. But I would also think that for nostalgic reasons and just to be able to go out there and do it again, I think it would be an amazing experience. Because you never know. Actually there was talk during Ducks 3, they had said, there’s a chance we’re going to be doing Ducks 3 and Ducks 4. A TV series was a concept for awhile that was being thrown around. And they ended up creating the Mighty Ducks animated series, which obviously wasn’t related to the movies, but I think what I had heard was that it was either going to be Ducks 3 and Ducks 4 movies that were going to be kind of back-to-back or it was going to be Ducks 3 and then go into a TV series. And then when the cartoon came out, I just thought, “Okay, they probably just did Ducks 3 and then the animated show and that fulfilled the Mighty Ducks package or the prophecy or whatever they needed.” But man, Ducks 4 — I would totally be there in a heart beat.

CARSTEN NORGAARD (Wolf “The Dentist” Stansson): Over the years, I’ve heard rumors of it. And it’s kind of interesting, with the impact that it has had on so many kids, that a fourth hasn’t been made — or a TV series hasn’t been made of it. But it’s a good trilogy as it is. But other than rumors, I don’t know any more about it. I can tell you that when I left the Ducks, I got all my gear and my skates and everything in a big, beautiful ice hockey bag, and it still sits in one of my closets ready to go.

MONEY Sports

Cheapest Rangers Stanley Cup Tickets Already Starting at More Than $1,000

New York Rangers
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 27: Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers makes a save against Scott Hartnell #19 of the Philadelphia Flyers in Game Five of the First Round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on April 27, 2014 in New York City. The New York Rangers won 4-2. Scott Levy—NHLI via Getty Images

New York Rangers fans have waited 20 years to see the team play for the Stanley Cup championship, and they're paying top dollar for tickets in New York City.

It’s been a long two decades since the New York Rangers were in the Stanley Cup Finals. Now that Lord Stanley is within the Blueshirts’ grasp, diehard fans are paying big money for home game tickets.

Heading into Game 6 of the NHL Eastern Conference finals on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden, tickets on the secondary market were averaging about $800, with the “cheapest” seats selling for $350. Within hours of the Rangers defeating the Montreal Canadiens, sending the New York squad to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since Mark Messier led the Rangers to the championship in 1994, those $350 seats truly do seem cheap. So do the $800 tickets for that matter.

“People are dying to see this team back in the Stanley Cup Finals,” Connor Gregoire, of ticket resale and aggregation site SeatGeek.com, told a New York CBS station in advance of Game 6.

As of Sunday morning, it wasn’t yet determined who the Rangers would face in the finals. But, because either opponent (Chicago Blackhawks or Los Angeles Kings) would have home ice advantage, it was clear New York would host Game 3, 4, and (if necessary) 6 at MSG—and ticket prices for those games skyrocketed. At StubHub, the cheapest seats for Game 3 were going for more than $1,000. Meanwhile, tickets for Game 6, the last game of the series that the Rangers could possibly host, were starting above $1,500. According to ticket aggregation and research site TiqIQ.com, the average ticket price in New York ranged from $2,200 for Game 3 to more than $2,700 for a potential Game 6.

Prices haven’t changed much since it became clear the Rangers will be playing the L.A. Kings for the Stanley Cup championship. As of Monday, the cheapest prices for Games 3 and 4 at MSG started at more than $1,100, and Game 6 tickets were available for $1,700 and up.

Those are the least expensive tickets, mind you. Lower section seats near the glass for Game 3 were posted with asking prices of more than $7,000 apiece at SeatGeek.

As the Daily News recalled, the Rangers’ 1994 dramatic, long-awaited championship is still remembered fondly by fans, who had suffered through 54 years without a Cup:

“The waiting is over!” play-by-play legend Sam Rosen bellowed. “The New York Rangers . . . are the Stanley Cup champions! And this one will last a lifetime! No more curses. This is unbelievable.”

Today’s New York fans are hoping that the magic comes back to Madison Square Garden ice, and that their wait for another championship ends at the 20-year mark. Those lofty ticket prices demonstrate how badly fans want to see the team hoist the Cup. They also show how crazed Rangers fans are in general.

The same can’t be said of the fan base in Los Angeles, which isn’t exactly known as a hockey town. Last week, the Chicago Tribune noted that NBC, which is airing the games, must be rooting for the Blackhawks to make the Stanley Cup Finals because an Original Six Rangers-Blackhawks series would blow away a Rangers-Kings showdown in terms of TV ratings, thanks to Chicago’s diehard hockey fans.

Likewise, ticket prices probably would have been higher for a Stanley Cup home game in Chicago versus sunny Los Angeles. On Friday, tickets for Game 6 that night at the L.A. Staples Center, when the Kings could have closed out the series against the Blackhawks at home, were starting at around $120 on the secondary market. Now that we know the Kings are in, ticket prices on StubHub are starting below $500 for Game 1 in Los Angeles, or less than half the get-in price at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Tickets to a potential Game 7 in Los Angeles are available for just a smidge more than $1,000, “cheap” compared to the going prices in NYC.

TIME Sports

You Will Never Know Joy Like This Adorable Little Kid at a Hockey Game

He is positively giddy when player Jordin Tootoo gives him his stick

Hockey player Jordin Tootoo failed to make the Detroit Red Wings’ playoff roster and was recently sent to the team’s AHL affiliate, but he seems to be maintaining a pretty good attitude nonetheless.

While walking to the locker room during a recent game, Tootoo spotted a young fan and completely made the kid’s night (or week, or probably his entire life) by letting him keep his hockey stick. Seriously, has anyone else ever known euphoria like this?

Meanwhile, though, another young fan (who you’ll notice in the top right corner of the video) is just looking for a high-five, and Tootoo totally leaves him hanging. That boy’s complete and utter despair kind of cancels out this other kid’s unadulterated joy, reminding us once again that the world is a dark place and life is ultimately pointless and nothing really matters. Bye.

TIME hockey

Michael Jackson-Style Crotch Grab Earns NHL Coach $25,000 Fine

NHL 2014: Blackhawks vs Blues APR 17
Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville during the first period in Game 1 of the NHL Playoffs between the St. Louis Blues and the Chicago Blackhawks at Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri. Billy Hurst—AP

The NHL disciplined Joel Quenneville for “inappropriate conduct”

Now if he had followed it up with a moonwalk, things might have ended differently.

The National Hockey League levied a $25,000 fine against Joel Quenneville, coach of the Chicago Blackhawks, for grabbing his crotch during a playoff-game tirade, the league announced Friday.

In double overtime Thursday night during game one of the playoffs with the St. Louis Blues, Quenneville launched into an excited outburst after an official failed to call a penalty he thought should have been called, Sports Illustrated reports. After shouting and waving his arms about he punctuated the end of his address by grabbing his crotch in the manner of Michael Jackson or streetwise toughs looking to start a fight.

“I was definitely excited, disappointed [in] the call, but I’ll apologize for my behavior,” Quenneville said. “It wasn’t appropriate at all. It was a bush-league move on my part.”

Bush league or not, the Internet loved it.

(turn your sound on)

[Sports Illustrated]

TIME nhl

Tampa’s Ryan Malone Arrested for Cocaine Possession

Ryan Malone
Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Ryan Malone stretches before an NHL hockey game against the Minnesota Wild in St. Paul, Minn. Malone was charged Saturday with DUI and possession of cocaine after a traffic stop, police said. Ann Heisenfelt—AP

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ryan Malone's bad season just got worse when he was charged with cocaine possession and driving under the influence. The 34-year-old was arrested by Tampa police and is being held on $2,500 bond

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ryan Malone was arrested early Saturday morning and charged with cocaine possession and driving under the influence.

The 34-year-old N.H.L. left wing was arrested by Tampa police at 5:40 a.m. local time Saturday and is being held on $2,500 bond, reports the Tampa Bay Times.

“We are aware of the situation concerning Ryan Malone this morning,” Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman said in a statement. “Ryan will not travel with the team to Washington today, but beyond that we cannot comment further at this time.”

Malone has scored just five goals and racked up 15 points in 57 games played this season, an underwhelming performance compared to previous years. He was recently demoted to the Lightning’s fourth line and has a year left in his contract with the team.

Malone has also had seven traffic violations since June and an April 30 court date for driving with a suspended license.

[Tampa Bay Times]

TIME nhl

Goalie Named ‘Quick’ Makes Craziest Save You’ll See This Season

Jonathan Quick lives up to his name with an incredible, scorpion-like save

He’s more scorpion than man.

Jonathan Quick, goalie for the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings, just pulled out the most mind-blowing save of the season. The Kings haven’t scored much this season, but thanks to Quick, they haven’t been scored against much, either.

Belly on the ice after following a pass across the posts, the appropriately named Quick played the predator as Blake Wheeler of the Winnipeg Jets fired a rapid shot toward the net. Lifting his right leg into the air like a stinger, Quick deflected the puck back out into play, with nary a sidewards glance.

It must be seen to be believed.

TIME hockey

Hockey Player ‘Stable’ in Hospital After Collapsing During Game

Stars-Jackets encounter was postponed after the incident

Dallas Stars center Rich Peverley collapsed on his team’s bench during the first period of play against the Columbus Blue Jackets Monday evening. Peverley was quickly rushed off the ice and taken to a local hospital where he was successfully treated for what a doctor called “a cardiac event.”

Peverley is now in stable condition, per a National Hockey League statement. A video of the game broadcast shows Peverley being taken away from the bench after play was stopped and his on-ice teammates rushed to investigate the situation:

The rest of the Stars-Jackets game was postponed in light of the incident.

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