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England v USA: Why The Biggest Winner Will Be The Premier League

england usa England v USA: Why The Biggest Winner Will Be The Premier League

No matter which way you look at England’s opening game of the 2010 World Cup against the United States, the biggest winner will be the Premier League. Sure, the headlines will be focused on the World Cup but after the tournament is over, the long-term winner of the increased interest in this game will be the Premier League.

Each World Cup massive amounts of soccer fans are “born” around the world as they find themselves falling in love with the beautiful game. And with the June 12th game between England and the United States being center stage on a Saturday during an ideal time (2:30pm ET and 7:30pm GMT), the TV ratings for the game in both countries and around the world will be absolutely massive.

There are so many storylines surrounding this game, but here are a few more reasons why I believe the Premier League will be the biggest benefactor from this game:

  1. Over the next seven months, expect to see the American footballers who play in the Premier League placed under a microscope as pundits, commentators and football supporters will keep a closer eye than usual on Americans such as Tim Howard, Jonathan Spector, Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore and others.
  2. England and the United States have a love-hate relationship from both sides of the pond, so Americans will want nothing more than to beat the English, and vice-versa. This special relationship transcends soccer fans and is understood by most mainstream Americans who don’t follow the sport. However, expect to see an incredible number of sports fans tuning in to watch this game to see if the United States can defeat their former warlords. And for these new fans, expect them to be introduced for the first time not only to several skillful American players but to incredible footballers such as Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard. When the World Cup is over, these new soccer fans may be more likely to follow the Premier League than Major League Soccer because of the accessibility of the EPL on US TV and the greater number of games shown on the box.
  3. The match between England and the United States is going to shine the media spotlight on the rivalry and may, if the reporters do their job correctly, reveal how many Americans are massive followers of the Premier League. That in itself would be an interesting story for mainstream reporters to tell and will provide the Premier League with even more free publicity.
  4. Some of you may not like this, but expect the England against United States match to renew the interest in the 39th Game. We’ll get to see how many Americans will turn out at sports bars across the entire country to watch this game. By seeing how many people are in love with the beautiful game as well as admirers of the English team (but supporting the United States), this will show how much interest there is and how bringing English club teams to Americans shores for a meaningful league game will be so appealing.

What are your thoughts on the above points? Click the comments link below and share your feedback.

About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013. View all posts by Christopher Harris →
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23 Responses to England v USA: Why The Biggest Winner Will Be The Premier League

  1. Ray says:

    1) While I think there will be additional scrutiny on the US players in the EPL, I think 95% of the american public will only know what the pre-WC/Nike hype machine tells them. In addition, most of the blogs and soccer related coverage will either be overly critical (ie.. Jamie Trecker) or devolve into the “soccer will never be good in the US” discussion that always ends up happening.

    2) I see no downside to the MLS as EPL coverage increases. The more people turned onto quality football the better. In fact, over the years I’ve grown to appreciate the MLS precisely because the EPL is so top heavy. Honestly you have Chelsea, ManU, Liverpool (maybe now replaced by Man City) and Arsenal. The rest are the little sisters of the poor. I enjoy watching teams like Tottenham, Everton and Fulham but they zero shot at walking away with a Barclay’s Premier Leage Title.

    Additionally, once you start seeing venues on television (via ESPN2, Setanta or FSC) like Craven Cottage, Burnley or Sunderland you start to realize that the MLS venues like the new Chester Stadium or the home of Columbus Crew are pretty darn nice facilities.

    3) While it great to be playing England…I just don’t see the “rivalry” aspect as much as I do while playing Mexico. I think the casual fan will be sucked in, but honestly, I expect England to torch the US defense and going into it any other way I think is being delusional. I think the US will do well to hope for a draw and plan on beating Slovenia and Algeria to move through.

    4) I think regular season EPL games in the states are going to happen, it’s just a matter of time. It’s also most likely going to be a combination of the Big 4 playing here. I’d venture to guess that a Hull v. Wolverhampton game would sell about as many tickets as a KC Wizards v. Seattle game would at new Wembley.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Ray, good points, but to be fair, the English stadiums you mentioned are unique. Parts of Craven Cottage are listed buildings and extremely rare historically, including the architecture in and around the Johnny Haynes Stand, so it’s quaint and old on purpose. Sunderland’s Stadium Of Light is a model soccer stadium and is a shining example of how a new ground should look and be designed.

      Burnley’s Turf Moor is another story. No one anticipated the club getting promoted to the Premier League and when they did, they didn’t have much time to upgrade the stadium to Premier League standards. Turf Moor is your archetype of the old English grounds that used to be all over England.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

      • Ray says:

        I replied below as well. I was not trying to put down those staida but more point out that their is a real investment on the part of the MLS to provide world class facilities to its leagues. I hope that clarifies. :)

    • Jeff says:

      I’m an American and part of the reason it’s hard to watch the MLS is the stadiums and pitches. Not sure what this has to do with this article anyway. But you mention two American stadiums and one of them hasn’t even been completed yet. Have you watched a Houston Dynamo or DC United Game lately. Rubbish. The Stadiium of Light is an awesome stadium. And Craven Cottage and Turf Moor are classics. I love watching games their. The atmosphere is incredible.

  2. Leeboy says:

    Ray – “Additionally, once you start seeing venues on television (via ESPN2, Setanta or FSC) like Craven Cottage, Burnley or Sunderland ”

    Nothing wrong with these stadia! Craven Cottage may be small but it’s historic and has been refurbished recently; Burnley’s stadium is again small but up to modern standards; and The Stadium of Light was built in 1997 and has the fifth-largest capacity of any English football stadium at 49,000

    • Ray says:

      I’m not knocking those stadia, but rather pointing out that as a leaue MLS has made a commitment to bring world class facilities to its teams. I think 20,000-30,000 seat stadia are the perfect venues for most teams.

      • ovalball says:

        I couldn’t agree more, particularly in relation to the MLS. The commitment to true soccer stadiums is a great move. They bring the fans right into the game. 20,000 fans in a purpose-built stadium can make it rock. The same number sitting in a football stadium built to hold 70,000 get completely lost, even if squeezed into the lower tier. The noise and excitement just vaporize.

  3. Leeboy says:

    Ray – “I think regular season EPL games in the states are going to happen, it’s just a matter of time. It’s also most likely going to be a combination of the Big 4 playing here. ”

    NO CHANCE! Sorry matey, the 39th game – if it ever happens – will never be a “big 4″ game. There is no chance these club’s would take one of their biggest games away from their fans. They would likely make more money hosting it at their own stadia, which are all pretty big

    • Ray says:

      I think you have a point and that is something I didn’t consider although I have heard that in the past. Living in Pittsburgh, I would not want to see the NFL Steelers give up a home game to go play in England (although the local stadium has not been kind).

  4. brn442 says:

    Teams playing stateside. It will be “just a matter of time”? before the Sun implodes, it’s all relative I suppose. It’s not going to happen anytime soon, I can assure you.

    As the Gaffer sai, part of the charm of English Football are the Stadia, yes some are past their sell by date but you would never know unless you’re actually there. The same reason it’s always more pleasurable to watch an American Football game at Lambeau Field than the new Cowboys Stadium. I’ll take Craven Cottage over any Stadium in Italy in a New York minute.

    The match will be a plus for the EPL as most Americans that follow the sport are familiar with the players but It would depend more on the quality of the match however. I remember how embarrassed I was by the poor Italia 90 final, the way it killed momentum stateside going in to USA 94 – the final of which wasn’t exactly a classic either.

  5. Steven says:

    Count me as an American who was sucked in by the 2006 World Cup. After watching it I decided it was time to begin following the English league due to the access offered by FSC. Without any knowledge of the teams, I blindly chose Chelsea as my favorite (seems to have worked out better than if I would’ve stumbled upon Newcastle).

    Going into the draw the one team I didn’t want the US in a group with was England. After watching players such as Lampard, Gerrard, Rooney, Cole (Ashley and Joe), and the others, I found myself increasingly interested in the English National team, and cheering for them in their friendlies and WCQ matches.

    That said, I’ll root for the US in the opening match, but then for both teams for the rest of the way. I have no evidence to support this, but my feelings are a lot of new fans feel the same way.

  6. AtlantaPompey says:

    1) It’s already started. The announcers in the Everton-Tottenham match talked about the matchup of Defoe vs. Howard penalty kick being a precursor of June 12th before he even took the kick. (And what a weak kick it was. My mother could have saved that)

    2) I can definitely see this sparking interest, but I agree with Ray that the big rivalry is and always will be Mexico.

    3) Lots of free publicity for the EPL if and only if the various television networks point this out to the newcomers or casual supporters. ESPN should take this opportunity to advertise their Saturday morning matches, if they still have them at that point.

    4) I still don’t like it, and I probably never will. I don’t like the NFL giving up a regular season game and playing it at Wembley. However, I recognize that it does hold some interest for some people, especially those who stand to make money off of it. I’m certain that a stadium can offer one of the big four enough money to convince them to move a home match, especially a club playing their home matches at a small stadium moving to a much larger stadium here in the US. Think Chelsea where Stamford Bridge is much smaller than any of about 50 stadiums in the US. However, it can’t be Portsmouth v Burnley, as I will have the stadium to myself.

  7. Tom says:

    I think before you see a 39th league game, you’ll see a League Cup games (maybe the final in NYC?) moved here. Too much is at stake, either Champion’s League births or relegation, to commit teams to North America in the middle of the season. I guess maybe they’d move the opening weekend abroad, but still, I’m not sure it will happen.

    You might see Italy do this earlier. While they have as much at stake, they have more to gain because home attendences are not big, and they want more international exposure.

    As far as the grounds- people love the old grounds. I agree the MLS needed soccer stadiums, and I am glad we have them, but on TV a full Craven Cottage is much more compelling than a half-full MLS ground.

  8. Jason says:

    The idea of League cup games being played aborad I think is a realistic concept. I would like to see that for sure.

  9. mark says:

    I honestly think this draw will hinder the US audience more than help it. There will be a flock of new fans that will tune in for this game and if the US side performs poorly it is likely that those fans will not tune in again for the next matches.
    On the flip side, if the Americans opened up their group against the other two teams, a lot of new fans would tune as well (I realize maybe not as many as England) and if the States performed well, maybe even dominated, a lot of hype and excitement would be surrounding the team going thru the first phase of the tournament regardless of the outcome of the third and most difficult match.
    I think Americans are have too much of a short attention span to follow a team that doesnt immediately produce results, so the outcome of the USA vs England match is essential for growing a fan base on this side of the pond.

  10. Kevin says:

    Beneficiary, not benefactor.

  11. Dahn says:

    Am I the only one that can actually see the U.S. team playing up to England? (as they played up to Brazil and Spain in the Confederations Cup) Maybe they won’t win, but I don’t think they will be destroyed.

  12. John says:

    So I was born in the U.S. and only started following soccer about two years ago…however, I think when the time comes, I going to find myself rooting for England more than my own country. Is this wrong?!

    I spend 6-8 hours a week watching the English stars play in the EPL and UEFA (rarely watch the MLS) and read so many articles written by the English press that I feel almost like a Englishman at this point with all the trials and tribulations of the English team. I honestly felt like a “fair weather fan” when the U.S. made it to the Confederations Cup final. Of course I cheered them on, but I felt like I knew very little about the team and the individual players (compared to what I know about Rooney, Lampard, Gerrard, etc…).

    It’s a weird feeling, but being a soccer fan in America has many perversions like this…

    • triplehelix says:

      you don’t speak for any american fans of the sport but yourself. i’m a fan, and i have no such feelings. i like the game, so in addition to following MLS, i’ve adopted fulham in the epl, because of their proclivity towards american players.

      i’m not saying there is anything wrong with following another league, but you do it with a taint. a glory chaser embarrassed of the lowly yanks so you cling on to a more highly regarded side.

      you made the choice to dedicate yourself to a foreign league, to read about a foreign national side, and to ignore your own. i guess there is nothing wrong with that, but it doesn’t sit well with me. not saying i wouldn’t sit down and have a pint with you or anything, but you might be interested in the answer if you asked yourself why exactly it is you chose to immerse yourself in all things english football, and disconnect yourself from american soccer.

  13. jleau says:

    I think the match could be a boon to the EPL but that’s predicated on it being a good game in which the US team either wins or loses but performs very well.

    I think this World Cup has the opportunity to create a bunch of new fans in the US. ESPN is going to be providing unprecedented coverage and Americans tend to tune in to things they feel are a big deal. If folks stick with the tourney long enough to gain an appreciation for the incredible game that soccer is, the EPl and MLS will benefit. I think the US will need to at least advance to the knock-out phase to hold the nations attention.

  14. Paul says:

    First off blah about the stadiums, MLS sucks because the talent pool blows and the coaching is terrible. I enjoy watching the U.S. world cup games except when they lose to Mexico that 5-0 really pissed me off. I wear my american flag PONCHO MADE IN MEXICO (looks like an american flag) just to mock the mexicans – made in mexico but for the american. Part of the reason I don’t watch MLS is because on the tv next to it is a premier league game or a south american game – passing is much better, kicks to the goal is awesome while these MLS games are just laughable. But don’t compare MLS to the US World Cup team US World Cup team is very good and my opinion very unpredictable because there is a small pool of skill being developed in the United States especially when mexicans pour in this country and start multiplying with the tag ‘born in the usa’ kids. Thank you mexico and there is a huge melting pot of other nations here too so, ‘though underground’, there is a large soccer life in the big cities and growing in smaller cities. Don’t underestimate the growth of Soccer in the United States (just not tv pleasurable yet here) and I assure you USA has a much better chance winning June 12th then the 1950 team did and that 1950 team won! As an American WE LOVE THE UNDERDOGS STORY!!! So this game is a big deal in the soccer underworld in the USA. USA does not get many opportunities to play the best teams in the world, this is why England should win because England plays with the best every single day…..GO USA!!

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