Super League: The War for Football gets to the heart of why this issue is relevant and essential — it serves as a warning.
We review of the Apple TV+ documentary series Super League: The War for Football season 1, which was released on January 13th, 2023.
There is something about docuseries that come from Apple TV+ that gets it right. From the brilliant 1971: The Year Music Changed Everything to the mesmerizing Lincoln’s Dilemma, the filmmakers have no trouble getting to the heart of the matter or showing you a perspective you haven’t seen before. For instance, in Super League: The War for Football, director Jeff Zimbalist (Remastered) can gather an eye-opening amount of interviews from the key players, each slimier and greedier than the next.
After all, if Austin Powers taught us anything, we should never trust a bald, shaven-headed man in power. As if being the president of FIFA wasn’t an alarming red flag in the first place.
Super League: The War for Football Season 1 Review
The mini-series looks at a disturbing trend across the globe—the loss of purity and even innocence of such things as sports. Now, is that naive? Absolutely. Since the explosion of television revenues in the 1990s, North American sports have been nothing but corporate entities. The days of early baseball or football leagues forming teams with local talent are a thing of the past. Except, the football leagues in Europe have kept that underlying theme for over a century. Hundreds of teams were formed long ago by working-class people in those respected communities.
Slowly, over the past twenty years, billionaires have gobbled up teams and have lost touch with what these teams mean and represent. Of course, they make a great point. It doesn’t help that the leaders of the European Super League at the top had three owners of Premier League teams, all owned by American billionaires. That’s what the formation of the ESL represents. It was the threat of the final nail in the coffin that made European Football, particularly in the United Kingdom, so great. The league attempted to break away and poach the most prominent names from the Premier League, the biggest names from across Europe. Yet, the ESL completely ignored a huge deal called the Champion’s League that performs the same function by taking the best teams from around Europe to compete.
What’s the big deal? ESL promotes exclusivity in a world that has gone through a period of fighting for inclusivity. The Premier and Champion’s league have a wonderful open format that allows anyone to move up or down. Leicester City is one of the greatest stories in sports history, winning their league and entering the Champion’s tournament for the first time in their history in 2015-2016. This couldn’t happen with the ESL. In fact, the only way would be to write a check and have significant political influence.
To put this in perspective for non-European football fans (hell, let’s be honest, American sports fans), this would turn the last inclusive sports tournament in America, March Madness, into an invitational for only schools with the most money. Or if the NFL told my beloved Buffalo Bills to take a hike so the Cowboys, Giants, Jets, Bears, Rams, Chargers, and Texans could play themselves for when it matters the most. However, this is happening already. The NIL influences college football and forces teams to jump ship to form their own super conferences.
Recently, money for Saudi Arabia has had the LIV tour buy golfers (and even broadcasters) to play in their tournaments. You even recently have Cristiano Ronaldo signing with the Saudi Professional League club Al Nassr to secure his golden parachute. People suspected Saudi Arabia of having a hand in the ESL, but JP Morgan shot down that idea, though the takeover of Newcastle recently has raised eyebrows.
Super League: The War for Football does a fine job of gathering journalists who explain why the issue is essential, perplexing, and even polarizing. Even while allowing the henchman, such as Florentino Perez and Andres Agnelli (strangely, the American businessman was never interviewed), to talk and display an alarming amount of greed to the viewer. (The Athletic reported that each team would have made 400 million dollars each to participate in the tournament) . You will watch friction between Agnelli and Champion’s League president Aleksander Ceferin is a driving force through the docuseries while finding it entertaining and informative. There is even a sense of espionage as reporters study documents and find a plan to allure the president of FIFA — hence the Austin Powers reference — Giovanni Infantino to the table.
Is Super League: The War for Football season 1 good?
What makes Super League: The War for Football remarkably educational yet entertaining is how the filmmakers get to the heart of the matter and the ones holding the checkbooks. So much so it was almost shocking how the filmmakers let the accomplices behind this madness have an open floor to state their case. And you know what, while the little guy won this round, these men make a point. The global market is changing for sports. It may be only a matter of time until sweeping changes are made that are happening all across the world.
In three days, the ESL rose and was quickly taken down by the voices of the people, which is rare today. If you look at what is happening in North America and worldwide, can the hooligans defend their turf again? That makes this docuseries relevant and essential — it serves as a warning.
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