Every four years, the U.S. takes a look at the World Cup and develops a slight crush. What would it take to really fall in love?
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this year's a Lee Pierre. Anyone with especial leafy birthday today can get in on some good deal. Doesn't free have found fountain pen? No, not here the race? For twenty sixty sixteen Bonnie. Sixteen there are still almost a thousand days before the first in this one fixing contest yeah presidential elections are pretty exciting, but that's not what I'm after. So what am I? After here's ran after I want to say one thing: this is not just about What
do not get the last World CUP held in South Africa. Two thousand ten drew a total TB worship of some three point: two billion over its for weak run. This year's tournament getting under way this week in Brazil, is expected to do even better. The world is pretty much crazy about soccer What soccer you dont? Let me say the word soccer. Do you know I didn't that's my son summoned up age, Turkey, profession sportswriter? How can you tell me where you ve publish you working men? I have an article published our sock talk. I occasionally ran my own blog. What does your blog call defer interested list Solomon on city, what is fully football in American Socket game plan and love worldwide
of worldwide? Yes for the most part, but here U S sufficient be honest, the reality is when the World CUP is over. Soccer is not going to be a dominant sport and the Euro, states. Nothing can help me care about soccer hills ass, not to tackle this latter. Socrates, sir, if nobody wants to see why it's the most popular important work. Nobody wants. Does nobody here, you're we're a tiny speck, there's a big world out there you show that is wrong with you. I'm an American. Many Americans, of course, do live soccer. Here's a hard core fan, who also happens to be one of the best players in sport known to the rest of the world as American Football, Andrew, like quarterback for the Indianapolis Cults, he spent a lot of his childhood in Europe. I think, if we state in Europe, I probably would have ended. Play soccer out on off. I'd be nearly good enough to be a professional.
Andrew luck, as you will hear later, is soccer fanatic as a Solomon, Dublin, Nor are they alone in this country. A variety of tv networks now broadcast european club matches all year, Long Emil S or major league soccer, the U S and canadian professional league continues to grow next year. It will add a twentieth. And why see, FC or New York City Football Club, which is co owned by the New York Yankees in Manchester City, which just one England's Premier League for the second time in three seasons: David Beckham, the sports biggest starved past few generations is trying to start another mls team in Miami, and indeed, if you take a look at a magazine rack this week, it's hard to find a magazine without the World CUP cover every four years. We hear the same mantra this time,
Soccer will really take root in the US, the way to take him elsewhere in the world. But, let's be honest, I probably won't many of the people were most fanatical about the sport in the US have some kind of tied to Europe or South America or Africa. All those magazine covers there really an excuse to put a great looking international superstar on the cover the Howdy metrosexual Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal, LEO Messi, the magical undersized Argentine, who plays for Barcelona and message? Twenty two year old, Parson, teammate, nay, more cultivation exuberant place for Brazil. So, yes, we may profess our love for soccer over the next month it. How deep is our love? One pole, conducted by Harris Interactive, found that just two percent of Americans who follow at least one sport There are many soccer their favorite through than one percent men, women soccer as their favorite America.
In football, meanwhile, between its pro and college versions, gets forty six percent of the vote baseball fourteen percent. So on today's programme we will ask a few questions. Number one: why doesn't America live soccer? The way the rest the world does number two. Would that change? If the? U S ever managed to win the world cup? number three number two possible without number one among the favorites in this year's World CUP, home team, Brazil, next door, neighbor, Argentina and defending Champion Spain. So expected to do well, are mighty Germany and believe it or not tiny Belgium, and who is Indianapolis courts. Quarterback Andrew Luck, picking to win the welcome my best guess, we'll shoot I'd, love to see the American
ok, you're, best guess after the event, let's assume him after the Americans. I am I'm a true fared stealing from W, and my see this is free economics, radio, the pot cast that explores the hidden side of everything: here's your host governor. Today, I'm for economic radio, we're talking World CUP, and why do you
unlike the rest, the planet typically doesn't get very excited about. Watching a soccer game to a football match. Sorry Solomon Football match played on a pitch, not a field wearing a kid, not uniform boots, not choose just how popular is the sport that Americans don't care about? All that much consider this this. Verbal America's biggest sport spectacle is seen by about a hundred twenty five million people worldwide, but roughly ninety percent, in the U Dot S, how about the World CUP in the twenty ten final in Spain beat the Netherlands nearly a billion people tuned in worldwide and how many of those viewers were in the United States. Since three percent, the journalist Jason Gay ready in the Wall Street Journal, says the World CUP quote, makes the Superbowl seem like open, might make a coffee shop.
Ok. So let's look for some answers. Why dont Americans care more about soccer will begin with soon you'll go Lahti each economics at Columbia, University, I'm also President United States Soccer Federation and on the Fever Executive committee. Fifa is the sports internet governing body the: U S: Soccer Federation overseas, our national teams and major league soccer, which grew Lahti, help get off the ground. We started.
The century, one thousand nine hundred and ninety two one thousand nine hundred and ninety three trump, putting together a business plan. It was a small group of people that were working at World CUP, part of our manifesto from a successful World CUP wasted to start a professional league. That's right! The US hosted World CUP in nineteen. Ninety four won by Brazil. Soccer fever did not sweep the nation as soon as you left the stadium- and I remember this very clingy ones going downtown and it was if they was no well going on Wilson. He's a british born author, an english professor at Tufts, he covered the ninety four cup for the new Yorker. I used to feel during the World CUP in ninety four that if the ins hood rated one of the grounds they could have arrested, ninety percent of the people who are inside, but even Wilson admits the sport is
here, I feel it is actually sort of its becoming indigenous. A lot of this has to do with the success of the email. Ass soon you'll go Lahti again, so the attendance is approximately eighteen thousand, which puts it in six or seventh eighth in the world in terms of attendance, which is which is obviously phenomenal accomplishment after eighteen years, The economic trends are generally positive. Number of teams has increased over attendance is increased. The one area where we still got some challenges in the media side in terms of television, intelligent ratings,
Ok, so the growth is real but again soccer. Here, isn't what soccer is elsewhere? Why not Jonathan Wilson? Well, I think it's a number of things. First of all is the competition of other sports and we would be hard to dislodge football. American football from the number one position and saga has to compete against football basket on key and basically so true, that's a lot of competition from other sports plus, which too many sports fans in America. There's something just on American about soccer. Here's what you're here
Yes to a real man's game soccer Tony, I could not be more fired up. What is how about you just gonna take issue with that real man's game science. Gay I mean that people take dives like gave us all the time when somebody comes in great fear them they pull down. The right course for you real in your men. Men were actors and Julia Roberts situations, beauty to nice Jonathan Wilson again, I remember when I when I first came in, I first studied poaching here I had a kid on a team lives coaching. He was six and use fantastic and and heat school at something like five goals in in the game, in the parents it screaming at me. Take him out on me now I like that one Take him out, he just go five crushing the other day in these other kids and they were in a panic, and I Never saw this happen in Little League, United, never saw anybody say. You know that kid. You know just struck out to play
in Europe, take him now. He didn't happen Why happen in basketball, hawaiian soccer, then, because soccer became a sort of sight of middle class anchored in America? the whole saga, mom phenomena and a feeling that somehow it's time to your suburban teams. Three in the? U, nine league is tied to your kids, getting into Harvard in ten years time, In most places, soccer has been bootstrap sport in England. Where the modern game developed. The push kids played rugby while the rough could. Play soccer. Even today, in the most soccer mad countries like Brazil and Argentina soccer is still hard. Sport played with elbows out, you don't see, allowed a soccer. Moms toting z blocks full of cut up oranges soon yoga.
I think there is some truth in that a soccer it in the. U S has been traditionally a suburban sport, but that's changing If you look at some of the other american sports in word, those players have come from and lots of cases, inner cities, we'd love to her to have more players from inner cities. Men have more diversity, and I think that starting to happen- and so you are absolutely right- that an urgent nor are traditionally in England. It may be kids outward learning how to play in the streets rather than perfectly manicured fields in. To a dollar soccer issues is also means a different career trajectory for a young soccer player in the United States. The american system of how you kind of come up in saga is very different to the rest of the world. Most of the world's great Saka plays did not and do not go to college, and they are pluck very early.
I think there is a fundamental difference in house. Soccer is taught in the rest of the world, are sort of the structure surrounding it. That's Andrew luck! Again, the american football quarterback who, before he went pro graduated from Stanford in architectural design. It seems at the kids, go professional at age, your thirteen fourteen and then their professional soccer players. You know what sort of a supplement of education, maybe after those years and then one third aged sixteen seventeen, their full fledged professionals which doesn't MASH, I think, with our system or the collar. System, however, sport in this country is run. We are really so. I think, there's a difference there in terms of this practice hours for its or fifteen years, all right or wrong. I dont nothing either one is right or wrong, so I do think that creates a disparity.
So when you look at the- U S national team, the ones will be competing this month in Brazil, trying to survive and group of death, but includes Germany, Portugal and pesky, Ghana, what do you see the? U S has never produced Truly world class player, their good team. They play well as a team. They have well class go although I may be getting back to live well class goalkeeper and that's because they can use their hands, presumably a profit and their big but sir. There, then, not. You know, they're, not the great artists of soccer, so the? U S is not huge fun to watch as a team that their workmanlike
thereafter letting I love. How are only in soccer is the word athletic and insult upright in every other sports the F letting isn't it. You don't mean something different: every sport, but in software and media that loud Gilda. Your your your muscles are fairly coordinated and run around like a not cases, because you don't have the skill to just stand in one place and do something extraordinary. The extraordinary lake LEO Messy, who dribbled at full speed, as if the balls attached to his boot were Louis Suarez of Uruguay, who scores mine bending goals, occasionally bites his opponents or the thirty six year old, Frenchman, Terry Ray who, after a legendary career in Europe. Now please for the Emma less, is New York rebels who play in New Jersey. This is becoming common international stars. Their speed and skills fading come to the? U S, to play an hour league for a few sunset you
becum did it in my Cfcs just signed the spanish striker David Visa, but the Emulous traditionally hasn't attracted the best players at their even ones born in America, the Emma, alas, the league that we have is a sort of second rate league. So if the play as one to be great place, they ve gotta go in and play in Europe in Germany, France, Spain, ITALY or England. So what about the correlation between a country's professional league and the strength of their national team? Soon yoga He says there are two successful models. We must have a strong professional league and the others essentially have an export driven model where you develop players and your club survive either by having those players play until nerve, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty or maybe a little bit later and then their transferred overseas playing some. The vessel is little Brazil model, for instance in Brazil, the Argentina
the children, America, must have Denmark in all those countries are in that situation. My view is that in a country like the United States, with as the population base that we have with economic strength, we have the long term model has to be the first one. For us, Americans want to have the best players in the world and we ve got a big population, and so I dont think eventually we're gonna be an export driven model and that's changed over time. So, in the short term, when we started major league soccer, it might have been best to have all of our best players playing abroad, because league wasn't as strong as other legs around the world over time. That's changed now, and a number of our players are playing at home in the league. Others are playing a broad, that's fine that continue to happen, but as the legal, stronger and players want to play in the best environment, then I think aren't we.
The file model, a where we ve got a top flight league and a top flight national team to match Ok, so we ve learned a few things about why? U S? Soccer isn't like soccer elsewhere in the world, but they were better than we think this spring, the? U S, national men's team, has been ranked number thirteen or number fourteen in the fever standing pretty good for country. That's not so enthusiastic about sport and coming up on for economics, radio. We are world champions in the women's why the disparity so whether its women in the workforce or voting rights ball of those sorts of things that that Movement liberation. Those positive steps happen in the. U S much earlier than they didn't countries around the world
and what will it take for? U S: men Sakharov, to become truly world class. I do think people tend to follow money when it It comes down to it. Thanks to Pennsylvania, lottery, scratch ass, pennsylvanians or scratching their way to fine and with new every month big top rises and second chance, drawings, excitements, always in order so try Pennsylvania, lottery, scratch, offer your ticket to fund and get yours. Did I keep on scratch? It must be eighteen or older. Please pay responsibly benefits older pennsylvanians every day, for economic radio, is supported by zipper. Creetur businesses have had to be flexible disease, from working remote? We too pivoting their business models for long term survival if you
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From W and Y see. This is for economics, radio, here's, your host, Stephen governor- the World CUP is upon us, Hocker, as you probably know, is the most popular sport on the planet. But not in the? U S, perhaps not. Coincidentally, we ve never won a world cup, our best finnish third place in nineteen thirty, when only thirteen teens played in our last two world cups, the? U S was eliminated by Ghana, which has fewer people than Texas. I talk to Senor Goo Lahti, president of the United States, soccer federation,
about this lack of american exceptionalism. Now the average american sports fan, let's say someone who understands it soccer here is how soccer works and understands world cup. That person probably thinks you s National Sacraments team failure. Last six world cups, theyve not gotten out of the group's stage three of those in the others reached around sixteen twice and quarter finals once that's it, and this is the Eu S, which is a sport power in many, if not most ways. So what's the story, why not better well a couple thing, so there are many countries that have qualified for less seven world cups like we ve just done. There are some, but, unlike some of the other sports in which the U S is dominant in the sport, is played in every country in the world, and is the number one sport and probably ninety five percent of those countries there's a few? Were a baseball cricket may be number one so this is a real world champion. Wear it
it out. I don't use terms like life and death, but words extraordinarily important. We ve got trees with several million inhabitants, who taken very very soon Firstly, so you know to be world champion, leaving aside some other sports in the? U s the where, where we declare world champions I will say the first World championship, enfranchise history. In this case. There, tuna countries a place we a new comer. We ve been doing this for a long time, but other countries have taken it far more seriously at a much earlier stage, and it's not just down to the fact that we ve got three twenty million people are a relatively affluent country because then check it would be very good and in one of those areas in some other european countries which, having done as well, would also be at the top. So we made a lot of improvement and if we could replicate Progress was made both on and off the field over the last quarter century. Then I think we
we'll be where we want to be in the next quarter century, which is one of the elite powers in the world. That said the? U S used to be relatively good at soccer, mean the first World CUP in nineteen. Thirty plainly famously beat England in eighteen fifty, but then there are those I think, forty years of ten ten cops or nine cups, where the? U S did not qualify. So I know you're not a technically and restoring a soccer, but you kind of our explain what happened. How did the sport that was pretty prominent in a country like this fall off so far? Well it in many ways what was happening that you know seventy or eighty years ago they weren't professional. In the same way, there are now that's that's change very much I can in the U S American football and baseball, took hold in a major way. So what you have back in the 30s to 40s and even in our one thousand. Nine hundred and fifty team were number of ethnic players were first or second generation young players and came to the
do they were born here with their families, and so we were competitive, but saying that we were a very good team or competitive in the thirties. For me the same as saying well at one time, India economic development level was one of the richest countries in the world that doesn't it. Obviously, today, in Time HORIZON indifferent issue, but that doesn't mean but it's got all the necessary ingredient to stay the course for several hundred years or in the soccer case. Eighty years you ve got. And a lot of, I think, compelling and resident suggestions for why? U S! Men soccer is not quote better and in that it seems to be heading in a direction where it is better than it has been. But here to me is the biggest mystery men's team ranked fourteenth. If we look at the women's rankings over number, one is the: U S women's soccer team, beyond that they ve had massive success in winning the World CUP twice
never finishing lower than third. So how can it be that our men are so, let's call it promising for the moment very good and promising and the women are just totally kick ass. Why such a divide? Well, I think, there's a few different reasons. As the role of women in american society is very different and has been different for a longer period of time than it is for many countries around the world or whether its women in the workforce or voting rights. All of those sorts of things that that movement that liberation, those positive steps happen in the. U S, much earlier Then they did in many countries around the world that we could that we could name pretty easily. Second, as we invested far or resources in the in the women's team than almost any else in the world at an early at an early step. So we had. We had a head start and, unlike knowledge where you might have a patent. We did have a patent on this in the gap has narrowed, certainly, but we had lots of girls and women.
Playing. We had early success which gave us role models and me a hand. Men world champions. We had some of those are important that whole process title nine and that change modestly, the number of girls that that had universally scholarships, though I think all of those things change change that the landscape in terms of women Soccer One more reason: the? U S, women's national soccer team is so great and the best homegrown american female athletes aren't necessarily diverted big money. Sports, like basketball like this guy, was Andrew. What luck you may recall is the stand for great but who is also an end. If l quarterback can also die hard. Houston dynamo fan happier blocks Father. Oliver used to run the Houston dynamo before that he was an end if l quarterback himself, when he stopped playing
he helped run NFL Europe. So when Andrew was a kid, the family moved to Europe Andrew playing and watching a lot of soccer in Germany in England part of my affinity first, there is no net, must show the game, but I do want to say pageantry, but the emotions involved in the clubs and the people. I think the political, GEO political struggles that I think is the most powerful thing in the railways and when talking to people who, if you dont, know the sport as well always bring up the Barcelona verse, Madrid in Madrid. Seat of power in Spain forcing really the culture of Barcelona down at one point? Rightly? Couldn't you can speak the language you couldn't read the book see you couldn't waved their flags so the stadium? the new campers. What is called- and I may be totally off here- but this is this- is my understanding of it was- was one of the few platforms were you could exe
Rest yourself as a citizen of Barcelona in speak the language in and waved the flag and in an ethic. That's it is a very powerful thing and in insolvency, something we don't. You have in this country the closest my billion of college football down on the sour yeah, but I think you very no that's different nurses think a different cultures. With the tailgating and everything else, I think you know one in Europe. The soccer seems much more. Your physically he's ingrained in the neighborhood you walking along in and out. There's a stadium men right next to a bunch of houses or yeah yeah. What, because, like you said, you know a color of the flag or uniform or scarf whatever represents hundreds of years of political history and everything else so translate that then blow that up for me to the bigger stage which is now World CUP and talk to me just ferment
about how again you see fans attachment to their national teams into the World cup. Generally again? Verses? U S! Sports fans attachment to our national team, as I think it's funny, in one sense, watching the Olympics in our powers, but every years that our country really cares about, but whose representing arson- and we pretend to forget all the names. I figured you yet. I'm folks around the world with what their soccer, their national soccer tombs, remember every starting line up of every game that has been play. You know in the past thirty years it seems too sort of this stage for how their country's viewed around the world. If you think we're countries a bit
so much their marketing? It's almost or pr side of it. Let's talk about the economics of professional soccer in this country, so you know first I'll talk to me about the financial incentives at play. Emily S, major league soccer, salary caps have risen, a law and attendance is risen and even a viewer ship is rising. How much of a factor do think it is in building a sport like the Miller, s is the pure financial incentive, in other words, as soccer pays more will. Some of the best american athletes start to move into.
That's what theory would predict the least right. You know what I think. People tend to follow money when it when it comes down to it, and I think, there's no three designated player spots for mls teams and I thought I want to see the salary caps at around five million that doesn't include you know those dp slots. So I'm sure you get stretched a little thin towards the back end of the roster, which I think from my understanding that you know Simon all sports, which the longer you go into the seas and the more you get worn down. I think that's where you, you may lose your quality on the pitch. We are on the field you know, whatever arena urine, I think by Heaven, Dempsey and Michael Bradley, guys in their prime, come back to this day, it's in, get good money and show that it is quality soccer, it's a quality product or put not to feel. I think that's huge fora for the league in great great for great.
France great for me good too good to be able to watch them, has what do you think it would take? or american soccer to explode when Tiger Woods started playing professional, golf and dominating in a way that nobody'd ever seen even Nicholas, didn't dominate in the way that Tiger did it changed the perception of literally a generation of potential athletes of all the guys playing in the pda now horror in their let's say, between twenty and thirty, really say that you know when Tiger began doing what he did, they paid attention in a different way and tigers dominance brought a lot of money to the sport which trickles down to everybody there, a lot of people who became golfers who went to become offers without Tiger Woods plain and simple. I'm curious a if you think a sort of parallel like that might exist or be worthwhile in pro soccer. In the U S, and if so, who's out there, who might be out there to be that Pied pipe
I think more of a pipe piper would be a? U S national tv, no one in the world tat. I think that, as we know what we re, we love winners in this country. I was a little anger and Saturday when the metal count at the winter Olympics and it s a sort of ingrained in our society. So so I don't know, if there's one player, that would be a piper that would bring everything with them. Be a tiger woods. I do think our national team, when the World CUP would be would be unbelievable. I'm curious. I want to ask you if you want to answer this question not, but I did always want to ask you when you became. You know you are the number one overall NFL draft pick a couple years ago, which is a big big deal and you signed a four year contract for reported,
twenty two million dollars over four years, which to most people listening to this programme are any programme is an incredible amount of money. So I don't expect anyone to feel sorry for you, but through a quirk of history and labour relations, you came into the league just one year after this new labour agreement went into effect between the players in the owners and that vastly lowered the amount that a team could pay rookies rookie signings on the top level, so, for instance, the guy who came in two years before you, SAM Bradford, also number one overall pick that seventy eight million over six years now I guess I'd. Ask you two things by their first of all want again, if you don't want answers, it's fine, but I'd love to hear what you say. First of all, you kind of got legislated out of extra twenty thirty forty, depending on how you want to count at fifty million dollars a. How did you feel about that? It was through no fault of your own. It was through a labour agreement. Did you have you know where you were you burned or bum?
Where did you just think I you know my timing was little often I'm still extremely fortunate, yet others- those of a mission, maybe half a second pang of bitterness at my pet. For not having a earlier I realise that you know you can wasted oh I've worrying about things you can't control right. So, I haven't, I haven't, lost any sleep over it in an actually as I've sort, I'm going your three now and and talking with folks from our union in their each other in our teammates in folks at the front office, I realized the other, but the thought process behind it. All in all, I am ok with it. That is the best blaming of parents, for her and, I have to say even laid their parents or a lot of things, but that one was, though, that's worth it now. So, ok, so, but here's that here's a real question having to do with that. So the NFL is easily the most successful sport in America problem in in american history. And yet there are these pressures.
In the end, a father's, the concussion issue, which is surely scaring some potential participants away. There is the financial issues, so people are still getting paid a lot to play in the end I fell, but if you look at the aggregate numbers, the average annual salary, considering how short the career is and how difficult the career is physically and otherwise in a lot of ways. Soccer begins to look like a really nice viable alternative, if you're a great American. Actually, you can play for a long time. It's a context, sport for sure, but not where the NFL is, and now there seems to be this money flowing in. So I'm curious. I know you know predicting the future is impossible, but could you look down the road and envision a future where soccer does establish, if not a dominance, and at least a real, secondary and tertiary prominence in the american sports, landscape or
Do you think we're destined to be the country that doesn't go along with all the other countries? We have our sports and they have theirs yeah. You know, I think I think two things. One, I think, there's duffer enough room and the sort of sports culture for soccer to take to keep gaining traction. I don't say, take traction. I think it is a big. Mary is you know of the states in two I dont think we're gonna, always be the little brother innocence in the Sakharov. I think this our minds: citizens countries! We have to be the best and eventually to nothing. We're going to care about it and then help with this year. Hopefully we are the best at this world cup, but I don't like me. No, I think it's a matter of time before before we are the best. Only matter time
for the final word, I went back to the source who follows the sport more closely than anyone I happen to know conveniently he also lives under my roof. Summoned up here, the two sportswriter So what do you think it says about how soccer or football is different as a sport, then the american sports, it where you still Jeffrey unites all workers is in some way the scene of his language, almost everywhere in the world plays involves the vine. Every country pay much and it is united announcement crazy. Why do you think a mirror it is generally are less enthusiastic about fifty. Then most people around because, as you said,
This kind of universal love Universal Sport, but here not so much. Why do you think it is There are so many other sports. Denmark is gonna end with just open the best if applied as we had its came an anonymous realize. I think, though, that a success in Brazil the summer go low wages for binding, I say: here that team USA on your shoulders, don't let my kid down her if I guess listeners next time and for economics, radio, we try to figure out Why so many restaurants give you three food soon, as you sit down when they're in the business of selling, it seems to go against the restaurants. Financial interests sure it is good logic, doesn't make much sense, or maybe it does make sense after
research is a relatively low priced item. You're gonna occupy a table, or maybe it's just an accident of history. When you went to one of these taverns you your paying the meal with a single charge, and it was in the interest of the tavern owner that you filled yourself up with Brad, so that you would eat less of the expensive fishes in meat there's, no such thing as a free appetizer, that's next time and for economics, radio, free comics radio, is produced by W and Y see and governor productions. Our staff includes David Herman, Gregg, resolves ski, but a cone Borri Lamb, shrewdly Pinamonte Susie, Luxembourg and Chris Ban in if you are more for now mix radio. You can subscribe to our podcast on Itunes or go to free economic stock com, we'll find lots of radio, a blog, the books and more
Transcript generated on 2021-03-13.