Real Salt Lake communications team reveals some tasty tidbits in Reddit AMA

Leave a comment

Trey Fitz-Gerald and Sam Stejskal, Real Salt Lake’s head public relations honchos, held a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” session on Monday.

Here’s a link to the full version, which is worth a glance, but the best parts have been extracted here.

Editorial independence

Let’s start small. With the Major League Soccer website employing its own editorial team to write match reports, features, blogs and everything in between, there have been questions of its editorial independence.

While Stejskal did not say anything about the main MLS site’s independence and whether those stories are filtered to portray the league in the best possible light, he did say that the content on each club’s site is only subject to that club’s discretion, not the league’s:

source:

Every club has its own system of editing. As PR tends to be, some teams rival on the sycophantic, with hardly a negative word allowed near their URLs, while others are broader in their coverage and allowance.

RSL has always been on the latter side. In the smallest media market of MLS, the club seems to feel more of a responsibility to teach the game — RSL or otherwise — because of a dearth of coverage from independent publications.

When I spent a week in Salt Lake around the United States’ World Cup qualifier against Honduras, this was pretty obvious. I was the only media member at probably half of that week’s training sessions.

MLS Live

That feeling of responsibility to teach the game and find some way to reach out to the community extends to RSL’s policies on broadcasting. Anybody who subscribes to MLS Live, the league’s generally excellent streaming system that allows them to watch almost every game live, has been frustrated by blackouts.

Most games broadcast in local areas are blacked out so the channels do not lose viewers. MLS Live does not play each individual channel’s commercials, so advertisers could be less inclined to buy time if viewers are just going to watch online.

National broadcasts are also blacked out.

However, RSL does not black out its broadcasts in the Salt Lake valley:

source:

A couple of interesting facts from that response: first, it seems blackout rules are up to individual clubs and broadcasters to work out. Also, the notion of every broadcast being “a 2.5 hour commercial” for the club and the game is great justification for the policy.

Well done, RSL.

Twitter

While many clubs around the league use social media to keep fans up to date on the latest news surrounding the team, Real Salt Lake takes it a step further with regard to interaction.

Fitz-Gerald, who is in charge of the @RealSaltLake account, is never shy about retweeting stories and opinions, both positive and negative, and interacting with other teams’ accounts — with sometimes interesting consequences.

The man behind the iPhone gave Reddit a short discourse on his Twitter policy:

source:

An exchange between him and Sporting Kansas City’s fans came up in that thread as one example of other teams’ fans sometimes disliking the way RSL interacts on Twitter. True to form, Fitz-Gerald did not shy away from the disagreement regarding Chris Wingert’s collision with Kei Kamara:

source:

Say what you will, but it’s always nice to have honest, open interaction with an official from an MLS club. It makes them seem human, like the rest of us.

National coverage

Finally, let’s take a look at one of RSL’s favorite hobbyhorses: its lack of national television broadcasts:

source:

All things considered, Salt Lake really should get more airtime. If programmers are concerned about the size of television audiences, they could show only the games against big-market teams, such as the Los Angeles Galaxy, New York Red Bulls and Seattle Sounders.

With its style of play and recent success, everybody could use more RSL on their screens.

Spanish police dismantle match-fixing scheme in 3rd, 4th tiers

Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images
Leave a comment

MADRID (AP) Spanish police have dismantled a match-fixing scheme involving players and clubs in the country’s lower divisions.

Authorities said more than 20 people have been detained as part of the police operation launched on Monday, including players, although no names were immediately disclosed.

The matches under suspicion were in the third and fourth divisions this season and last season.

The match-fixing scheme reportedly involved Chinese betting sites.

The Spanish league said the operation was based on information collected by its analysts about suspicious activities.

UCL preview: Chelsea host Barcelona; Bayern vs. Besiktas

Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images
Leave a comment
  • Chelsea vs. Barcelona, at Stamford Bridge
  • Bayern Munich vs. Besiktas, at Allianz Arena
  • Champions League round of 16 resumes on Tuesday

[ UCL: Spurs fight back to draw Juventus | Liverpool thrash Porto in leg 1 ]

Chelsea, mired in some of their worst form since the disastrous 2015-16 season, welcome a Barcelona side enjoying one of the best six-month runs of results in the famed club’s entire history. The Blues have won just four of their last 12 games across all competitions, while the Blaugrana have lost once in 38 games.

On the plus side, Chelsea enter Tuesday’s colossal clash as winners of their last two games — back-to-back wins for the first time in 2018 — having outscored the likes of West Bromwich Albion and Hull City by a combined 7-0. Star striker Alvaro Morata returned to action against Hull after five weeks out with a back injury, thus Antonio Conte has something of a selection dilemma on his hands with the Spaniard perhaps only partially fit, and Olivier Giroud racking up a goal and three assists in the last two games, his first starts for the club.

Barcelona, meanwhile, have conceded just two goals in their last nine games (all competitions) and even managed to overturn their lone defeat, to Espanyol, and advance to the Copa del Rey semifinals (and eventually final). Despite losing Neymar in the summer, Barca mostly cruised through their Champions League group, only dropping points in draws away to Juventus and Olympiacos. Lionel Messi has, strangely, never scored a goal in his eight career appearances against Chelsea, a record which has been spoken about at length in the build-up to Tuesday — similarly to the goal-less record which plagued him against Juve goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, whom he finally bested back in September.

[ MORE: Man City win big away to Basel | Real Madrid 3-1 PSG ]

In the other round-of-16 first-leg matchup on Tuesday, five-time (soon-to-be six) defending Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich host surprise winners of Group G, Besiktas, ahead of the likes of Monaco, RB Leipzig and Porto.

Since taking over on an interim basis (through the end of the season), Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes has won 21 of 22 games of which he’s been in charge, including four of six games during the group stage en route to finish second behind Paris Saint-Germain, while also racing out to a 19-point lead back home in Germany.

Aguero involved in clash with Wigan fan after FA Cupset

https://www.pinterest.com/explore/winter-2016-hair-color/
Leave a comment

MANCHESTER, England (AP) Sergio Aguero was involved in a confrontation with a Wigan fan as ugly scenes marred the end of the third-division side’s shock FA Cup win over Manchester City on Monday.

[ MORE: Wigan shock Man City, the world and themselves ]

Fans spilled on to the pitch at DW Stadium as the host celebrated its 1-0 fifth-round win against the runaway English Premier League leader.

Supporters from both clubs were involved in disturbances, while television pictures appeared to show a home supporter and striker Aguero involved in a physical exchange.

Aguero appeared to hit the supporter after the fan said something to the player, and Aguero had to be held back by his City teammates.

[ MORE: Money from Wembley replay “will support Rochdale for 2 or 3 years” ]

Advertising hoardings were also ripped out and thrown as a pitch invasion by Wigan fans got out of hand while the defeated City players were being escorted off the pitch.

Footage also appeared to show objects, including an advertising board, being thrown at police officers by fans in the City end.

Wigan shock themselves: “Not sure how it feels, hasn’t sunk in yet”

Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Wigan Athletic didn’t just shock Manchester City with their FA Cup fifth-round slaying of the runaway Premier League leaders; nor did they merely shock the rest of the footballing world; they also shocked themselves into disbelief, according to defender Dan Burn.

[ MORE: Goodbye, quadruple! Wigan bounce 10-man City from FA Cup ]

Speaking following Monday’s triumph over Pep Guardiola‘s quadruple-chasing side at the DW Stadium, Burn admitted he himself didn’t know what to make of the night that would undoubtedly highlight and change his own professional career — quotes from the BBC:

“Not sure how it feels, hasn’t sunk in yet. It was a really tough game. The belief was always there. We’ve got Will Grigg, who does what he keeps doing.

“We pride ourselves on our clean sheets. We had a couple bad results before, so we wanted to prove ourselves, so a clean sheet against the best team in England is great.

“Once we scored, the fans really got behind us, just knew we needed to hang on. It was the longest 10 minutes of my life.”

[ MORE: Money from Wembley replay “will support Rochdale for 2 or 3 years” ]

Manager Paul Cook was able to articulate his happiness and pride only slightly better — “It feels great” — but offered the highest of praises to his players, whom “had to ride [their] luck at times” during the game, and gave everything they had to the cause, because that’s the only way you beat a team like Man City:

“It feels great. It’s such a severe test. They’re such a strong side and move the ball so well. We had to ride our luck at times and the sending off is always a big incident.

“Our lads deserve credit for their work and some of the blocks they made were outstanding, and to beat Man City you have to do that.”