Dov Charney, the World Cup and Aereo over Brunch
As part of the new Marketplace Weekend, Lizzie O'Leary will sit down for a weekly conversation about the topics you want to know more about and the stories you may have missed. In this, the inaugural epsiode, Lizzie sat down at Les Noces Du Figaro in downtown Los Angeles with Andrea Chang of the L.A. Times and Buzzfeed's Ken Bensinger.
The brunch discussion topics included:
1. The Supreme Court's decision on Aereo.
2. Andrea Chang's report on the exit of Dov Charney from American Apparel, the company he founded:
American Apparel founder Dov Charney was an unpredictable executive.
Although heralded as a retail innovator and an advocate for American manufacturing and fair wages, he also faced numerous sexual misconduct accusations.
Over the years, the chief executive -- who on Wednesday was ousted by American Apparel's board of directors because of "alleged misconduct" -- behaved oddly during many interviews with Times reporters.
During a factory tour several years ago, he refused to answer questions about the company and talked repeatedly about "Sesame Street."
3. Ken Bensinger's report on U.S. soccer and the World Cup, examining the man who helped build soccer in the United States:
In the middle of 1989, suburban soccer dad Chuck Blazer had just lost his job, had no income, and was struggling with debt.
But he did have a few things going for him: He was audacious, with a keen eye for opportunity; he was a splendid salesman; and he knew a vast amount about the world’s most popular sport. Not the fine points of on-field strategy — he’d never actually played the game — but rather the business of American soccer, which was, back then, woeful. Compared to baseball, basketball, and football, soccer was a starving runt. Multiple professional leagues had flopped. TV networks couldn’t even figure out how to fit commercials into the 90-minute, time-out-free games, and they rarely bothered to broadcast the sport. The United States national team hadn’t qualified for a World Cup in nearly 40 years.
A quarter-century later, American soccer has become an athletic and economic powerhouse, due substantially to the contributions of Blazer. He helped win Major League Soccer’s first real TV contract, and just last month the MLS inked a $720 million TV deal. The U.S. national team, which he helped promote, is now a World Cup mainstay, ranked higher than powers such as France and the Netherlands. And more people in America are playing soccer than any team sport save basketball.