There is no greater publicity stunt in today’s world than having your own reality TV show. If you’re a washed up actor, a wannabe singer, a future backup dancer, or a twenty-something tool that wants to room with other twenty-something tools for a few months, then reality television is for you. If you’re a major professional soccer franchise, however, you shouldn’t have to rely on an overdramatized gimmick to sell your team on the local fan base.
- Reason #1: Respectability. How often do you associate “respectability” with reality TV? Never. Reality TV in and of itself is a low-brow form of entertainment (think circus, clowns, rodeo) meant to stimulate the minds of an impressionable viewership. So when you are a team that’s part of a league that plays a sport fighting to gain a certain level of respect in the American sports spectrum, why whore yourself out to the local broadcasting pundits with this farce of a show? I’m gonna go Maury Povich on you for a second here: If you want respect, you have to respect yourself first (audience cheers, mom cries, seventh-grade dropout remains unmoved while faced with the prospect of bootcamp). TV talk show jokes aside, this isn’t a move that will fuel respect, and when you’re fighting to gain respect, it just doesn’t make any sense to take that big step backwards.
- Reason #2: Past history of local Reality TV. Some of you hardcore locals may remember a couple years ago when KIRO broadcast an American Idol-like show called “Seattle Stars,” which was essentially a junior high school talent show for people over age 21. The majority of the contestants were people who spent their Friday nights in karaoke bars, butchering songs by Journey and Richard Marx while simultaneously having their friends video tape the entire escapade so they could upload it to YouTube the next day in hopes that a major record producer might stumble across it. It sounds bad, but was actually much worse when viewed live. The entire “Stars” production was amateur (it was hosted by sportscaster Gaard Swanson of all people) and reeked of desperate programming from the get-go. And where the hell are all those singers now, you ask? I don’t know. Kent, probably. The point is, local reality TV is flat-out bad, and I can’t see the Sounders show being anything beyond that.
- Reason #3: Do you really want dudes like Larry, 390-pound retired bartender from Index, selecting members of your soccer team? No one should want that. I’d be pissed if localites were allowed to pick any members of any of my teams. I wouldn’t even want the opportunity to weigh in on the decision myself. I know that you, me, and everyone else out there who isn’t a professional scout, field coach, or front-office guy is not nearly as good at selecting members of any sports team as the staff being paid to do just that. You wouldn’t want some random guy off the street prescribing you medicine for that rash of yours, and likewise the average joe shouldn’t be meddling with any kind of organized athletic institution in the way the Sounders are promoting.
Over the past few months, I’ve gotten to the point where I actually care about what the new Seattle Sounders do on the field. I’m not a soccer fan really, but I do want to see this team succeed. It’s civic pride, if nothing else. That’s why I don’t want to see this reality TV thing go down. It’s a step in the wrong direction for a franchise that, so far, has made all the right moves.