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Four Star Daily: Zardes like Aladdin, diamond in the rough

Gyasi Zardes got his profile in the paper, plus Opta Sport for sale, MLS academies, and NBC Sports ratings.

USA TODAY Sports

  • The LA Times posted a Gyasi Zardes profile today, Gyasi Zardes is considered a diamond in the rough. The rough would be his poor shot selection with Jim Peltz conceding in the beginning that Zardes and others believe he should be more selective with his shots. Not sure if I'm being counted in the others there. Peltz went with the idiom because several of Zardes' Galaxy teammates believe once he can reign in his shot attempts he'll be a great talent. The Donovan quote there is spot on, that Zardes needs to stop thinking it's okay if he wastes a chance cause he'll get another. Attempts get fewer and fewer the higher the talent level, so he has to treat every one as if he'll never get another.
  • This came out in the UK late last night our time but Perform Group, who own Goal.com, have made a bid on Opta. It's not yet clear how that would affect Opta's deals to supply leagues such as MLS with statistical information. It's a story to keep an eye on.
  • In the print Sports Business Journal this week, there's an article on the MLS academy system. It mentions that it's been since 2006 that the homegrown protected list has made academies a priority in MLS and that this year was the first in which MLS mandated all franchises have an U-14, U-16, and U-18 program. The Galaxy have 140 players currently in their academy system and 1,400 players in affiliated youth soccer programs. Chris Klein is quoted saying "The area our league was most behind in was player development, but we're catching up".
  • Not much detail here, but good to know NBC Sports posted its most watched primetime quarter ever in the second quarter of this year. They also had the largest year to year increase of any cable sports network. The two Stanley Cup final matches were a big boost. Some fans were grumbling that events of national significance should be over-the-air, but ESPN has been doing this with major college football bowl games for some time, and I expect Fox Sports 1 to do the same this fall with Major League Baseball.