Interview with Francesco Costa who edited the second mini-series “The American Way”, a trip to the States between the oval ball and social dynamics
Football and Texas, an indissoluble union and an effective way to try to understand America today. After last year’s success, Francesco Costa, deputy director of the Post, offers us the second mini-series “The American Way”, available exclusively on Dazn. A journey into the society and culture of the United States through the lens of the most popular sport, precisely football (of which Dazn also offers NFL matches), in the symbolic state for this sport. It is Francesco Costa himself who explains this docu-series to the Gazzetta.
Why does football lend itself so well to talking about America?
Because football is a very American phenomenon, more than basketball, and then because of its size. The soccer World Cup final was the second most-watched live sporting event by Americans in 2022 with 25 million viewers. Those are big numbers. The NBA makes 14, baseball has made 13 in the World Series. Here, the Super Bowl made 112. The order of magnitude is here. It is the largest US cultural phenomenon among those we know little about here. It shapes the culture of Americans in ways we sometimes miss here.
Football is not really understood in Italy…
No, they see a very rough version of rugby. But it’s not like that. Football is a sport where the mind, memory, organization, team spirit play an incredible role…
In your series you focus on football, but also a lot on Texas. Why is this state so important
For two reasons. If you want to go and investigate the cultural relationship between Americans and football, there’s no better way than going to Texas to do it. Football is widespread everywhere but, as we tell in the documentary, there is a particular omnipresence in Texas, at every level. There football is bigger than anything else. The second reason that brings us to Texas is the importance of this state which is already the second most populous state today, the one with the fastest growing economy, +8% in the last year, almost three times more than California. It is an economy that attracts people. The future of America is Texas. One more reason to try to understand it both from a political point of view, but also from a cultural, economic, social point of view…
Among other things, the ethnic changes in this state could be decisive for the election of the next presidents…
It’s so true. Today the city of Houston is the most ethnically diverse in the United States, the area between Austin and San Antonio is growing tremendously in terms of population, in the south there are many people of Latin American origin, Spanish is almost spoken more than English English. And so yes, socially, demographically and politically, Texas has already changed a lot. The Democrats, who have more consensus among the minorities, hope to conquer it because it would be like conquering half the White House… But beyond the Presidential elections, it is important for us to understand, and this is what we tried to do in the documentary, that Texas does not it’s more than just oil, herds and cowboys but also very cutting-edge universities and a very different population from the one we imagine with the Texan stereotype we have in mind.
And is this ethnic shift, not just in Texas, one of the reasons soccer is so popular?
Yes, the soccer audience in the United States is on average younger and very Latino, while for example African Americans continue to be attracted to basketball and football, while baseball has its audience mostly among Latinos and whites. especially the coasts.
Another aspect connected in some way to the ethnic divisions of the United States is also the obsession with the “politically correct”, a trend that seen from Europe sometimes seems a bit excessive, but perhaps many knots related to the racism. And this phenomenon also affects the world of sport.
There are excesses. I don’t think there are in football, a world that has been slower to intercept certain changes than, for example, the NBA, the most progressive league. Both the question of the name of the Washington team (forced to abandon the nickname Redskins, and become Commanders, ed) and the controversy over the players who knelt during the national anthem, had greatly divided the owners of the franchises. Since the death of George Floyd, things have changed a lot. And a whole series of discussions has accelerated. Today it seems to me that for them the need and desire to take the NFL out of the United States and become more global also passes through not necessarily becoming more politically correct but more attentive to the reputation of the league and therefore not being able to afford a scandal on the racism, for example. If you want to address a global market, there are many identities and sensitivities that you must try to respect.
Will he ever make it to football in Europe?
It is already growing a lot, with the European League, the Elf, which the Seamen Milano have just entered, the matches in London and Monaco… In America it is said that it will soon also be played in France. Of course, the expectation cannot be that it will become what football is in the United States or what it is in Europe. But in the United States one day dreams of making a world final between the winner of the Super Bowl and that of the European league. It’s clear that there wouldn’t be a game for a while, but it would be a good sign of growth. The NFL wants to invest heavily in expanding football in Europe and we know that if the NFL sets its sights on…
Final curiosity, do you have an NFL team you root for?
As a recent football fan, I was impressed with Allen the first time I saw him play and so I like the Buffalo Bills.
December 31, 2022 (change December 31, 2022 | 17:15)
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