Showing posts with label USA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label USA. Show all posts

Tuesday 25 February 2014

Swans in the USA!

With news of record television viewing figures for the South Wales Derby in America, we are checking in with our American writer JACOB CRISTOBAL, who takes a look at the impact Swansea City are having in his fine country!


By Jacob Cristobal 

Three weeks ago Swansea City hosted the return leg of the South Wales Derby against Cardiff City. We all know the result of that - a convincing 3-0 trashing of our bitter rivals, gaining some revenge from the early season fixture that yielded a 1-0 defeat.

We also know it was the managerial debut of Alan Tudyk... I mean Garry Monk (Googling Alan Tudyk will reveal why we may confuse the two!). We also know that since then the Swans have played back to the form that got them to the Premier League originally.

The dismissal of Michael Laudrup (to who I must say thank you for the memories and the great hair) has definitely seen the Swans playing better. What might not be a known fact for some is that the South Wales Derby a few weeks ago generated some good television ratings over here in the US.

In fact, up to this point, the South Wales Derby gave NBC (who have the broadcast rights in the US) their best ratings ever among all of the Premier League matches they've shown since the start of the season.

In the land of television viewership numbers the match scored a 1.2 overnight rating, which means at least 1.2 million people around the country tuned in. That's right - the South Wales Derby posted the highest Premier League TV ratings here in America to date! Give yourself a round of applause if you were in the stands singing Hymns and Arias.

There were other factors to this boost in that it was sandwiched between the Sochi Winter Olympics coverage, while a manager being sacked is always going to cause a brief spike in any club taking the sports headlines.

One thing NBC has done very well in their maiden voyage of broadcasting the Premier League is giving all the clubs a fair shot at the spotlight. Where in the past it would've been easy to just highlight the big four because... well they're the big four, today there's no excuse not to cast out a wide net.

And when there's a derby on the Premier League calendar, NBC has tried to give that match the stage for all in the US to see.

In the case of the South Wales Derby, a late start resulting in the match being broadcasted here in the West Coast at 9:30am versus, say, 5:30am or 7am definitely made it easier for us sleep-in folks (yours truly) to tune in.

There is also the reality that the Swans are getting an increasing fan base in America. You already know my story, but I know north and south of me (shout out to Melissa Douglas and Jonathan Weaver who live in Vancouver B.C. Canada and Portland, Oregon respectively) that there are folks following the Swans.

There's even a Facebook group for American Swansea fans and associated Twitter account. Their progress so far in the Europa League and breath-of-fresh-air manager Garry Monk has fans near and far saying "this is the Swansea we know!"

Just look at the last match against Liverpool - the Reds had to score four to beat them. If Swansea can repeat the energy in the first leg against Napoli and pull off the stunner and advance further, it will no doubt bring echoes of when Fulham made that surprise run in 2002. And, for a club already lauded as being the alternative to the "big four", such a bump will only intensify that support.

If there's one club that's been the biggest recipient of NBC's solid effort of bringing the Premier League to the US, very few would debate it being Swansea City. And just like the energy of their supporters in the stands at the Liberty, it could very well be the energy of the US-based supporters increasing the club's popularity here.

Monday 23 July 2012

"The land of the freeee... and the home of the Swans!"

Firstly, before the actual blog starts, to celebrate Swansea City's trip to the USA, press 'play' below and stare at the picture!

Star Spangled Banner by mahjepahje


What a multimedia treat that was! (Okay, you can press stop now and carry on reading...)

Following the intense emotional slap we all took after Brendan Rodgers left the club in the immediate post-season, we've had quite a calm ride. Michael Laudrup came in, shocking a few and exciting many, but since then it has been quite comfortable to watch, listen and read about Swansea City.

With just under four weeks until the Swans begin their second Premier League season, and before I take my two week holiday (…in Italy, thanks for asking), lets have a brief recap and then look ahead to what still needs to be done.

The first game under Laudrup was a success. An expected relief for all. 5-0 against Port Talbot showed that even a Swansea B team can score goals and, though it was against a much weaker side than any they'll face next season, it showed there is potential in the reserves and kicked off the Laudrup reign wonderfully.

The squad, minus a few of the Team GB hopefuls, have already made the journey to the USA for their 12-day, three-game period of friendlies against Colorado Rapids, Ventura County Fusion and San Jose Earthquakes. These games should pose a significant test to the Swans A team and allow them to (I hate this word) 'gel' before they return for more warm-up matches against Blackpool and Stuttgart in the familiar setting of the Liberty Stadium.

As I mentioned, we're seeing a pretty calm pre-season transfer-wise. No major names have come to the club, but the three that have put pen to paper (unless it's done digitally these days?) are all worth taking notice of.

However, some areas still need attention before that visit to QPR.

Starting with one of the most important areas on the pitch, I'd say another semi-decent goalkeeper is needed at some point. This signing isn't the highest of priority at the moment, but it may well be if Vorm and Tremmel simultaneously fall ill this winter. But for now we can leave this area and hope they take their vitamins.

Defence has certainly been boosted by Jose Chico Flores coming in as centre-back, while Curtis Obeng impressed many with his speed in the Port Talbot game - something he was unable to show off last season. This is a relief as, if he can do it at Premier League level, it would mean defence is pretty much sorted with a starting four of Rangel, Williams, Flores and Taylor, with Tate, Monk, Obeng and Richards available to cover.

An area which is now saturated with quality is midfield. The arrival of Jonathan de Guzman and Michu has beefed up an already meaty area of the squad. Michu, with 15 La Liga goals last season certainly looks to fill the void left after the departure of Gylfi Sigurdsson. Add the two new boys to the likes of Britton, Agustien, and possibly Orlandi and Dobbie, and there will be plenty of options next season.

Upfront is now the main area of concern. Ignoring the wingers and just focusing on the strikers, will Danny Graham, Leroy Lita and Luke Moore be enough? I'd say no. It's close, but I'd like to lose Moore or Lita and bring in one more striker - one with enough quality and goals to relegate Graham to the bench. Then we would have ourselves a team!

Elsewhere in the world of football, it's worth pointing out that Brendan Rodgers is looking to recreate the play-off winning Swansea squad at Liverpool. Fabio Borini has already signed, while Rodgers is looking to prise Joe Allen away. There are also rumours that he is interested in Dorus De Vries as a second/third keeper. My bet is he is also after Darren Pratley and Lee Trundle. Gorka Pintado has also been spotted at Anfield, though he was just there to have a stadium tour.

The only major point in that last paragraph is that Allen's place with the Swans is under question. One thing I will say is: I'd happily take £15million for Joe Allen. He's been fantastic in the last few seasons and is one of the few 'local boy made good' stories around, but, in my eyes, he's not worth £15million. Therefore, if Swansea were able to bank that much for him it would be good business for the sad farewell.

Nothing is set in stone yet and there are plenty of reasons why it may not be the right move. I feel he has another few years with the Swans yet, but there is obviously truth in the rumours and Rodgers always seems to get his way...

That's it from me for about two weeks. When I return I expect a new goalkeeper, a winger and a striker. I expect Swansea will have won their warm-up games. I expect Sinclair and Allen will have signed new contracts. I expect no injuries to the three Team GB players. I also expect the unexpected and know that there will be at least one more surprise that none of us will expect!