By Rick Horrow
Podcast edited by Tanner Simkins
- Major League Soccer will host a new MLS All-Star Skills Challenge presented by Target at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports on July 30. The first-time event takes place during the MLS All-Star break, allowing fans to watch on MLSsoccer.com and the MLS App and streamed live in English, Spanish, and French across the digital platforms of all five MLS domestic media partners – ESPN, FOX, and Univision in the U.S., TSN and TVA Sports in Canada – as well as in more than 170 countries around the world through MLS’ international media partners. Points in each of the competitive skills will be earned based on accuracy, as well as style and include: touch and volley; shooting; and passing. The 2019 MLS All-Star Game Presented by Target will take place in Orlando on Wednesday, July 31 at Orlando City Stadium, which holds close to 26,000 fans. The festivities join the city’s rich tradition of hosting mega events, including two annual college football bowl games, PGA Tour tourneys, and the annual Pop Warner Super Bowl and cheer national championships.
- FIFA is ready to move into the world of gaming. According to SportsPro, EA Sports’ officially-licensed FIFA series has a thriving online community and a strong governing body to deliver a credible route into esports. EA Sports’ officially-licensed FIFA series began in 1993 and has become among the most successful franchises of any kind. It has sold over 280 million copies to date across every major format. Now, over a million players have been known to be competing online simultaneously at peak times with the FIFA Ultimate Team mode at the center of that online experience. By 2017, the game was making $800 million a year, and between unit sales and in-game purchases, FIFA 18 made EA $3 billion worldwide in its first year of release. Although most esports leagues focus on online battle arena games and first-person shooters, FIFA is now consolidating its esports strategy around a concept they are calling eFootball. After the first ever FIFA eNations Cup in April, look for a FIFA esports league to be formally introduced soon.
- The U.S. women’s national team beat the Netherlands on Sunday to defend their title as reigning World Cup champions. When they get back home, they’ve got a different battle awaiting – their legal fight for equal pay and treatment. In March, the 28 members of the 2015 World Cup-winning team – including current national team stars Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, and Carli Lloyd – filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation alleging gender discrimination in their treatment versus how the governing body treats the men’s team. “The U.S. women’s soccer team does not need to be the best in the world in order to earn equal pay. The point of non-discrimination law is that employees doing similar work should be paid equally,” Columbia Law School’s Suzanne B. Goldberg told ABC News. The lawsuit also cites the denial of “at least equal playing, training, and travel conditions; and equal promotion of their games.” Added Goldberg, “In this instance, where the women’s team is outplaying the men’s team, there is an argument that they should be paid more than their male counterparts,“ she said. A U.S. Soccer spokesperson confirmed that the women’s team and the federation tentatively agreed to mediation after the World Cup.