Can The World Cup Create New American Soccer Fans?

As the opening date of the group stage draws near, it doesn’t take long to notice people on the streets sporting the jerseys and waving the flags of their country. It’s a moment to take pride in your nation as the selected players represent you.

Any time the prestigious tournament rolls around, the sport catches the attention of the United States for a brief amount of time. Numerous television networks fight for the broadcasting rights, as the ratings for soccer seem to soar during the period despite never recreating those strong numbers any other time of the year. It begs the question of, “does the U.S. have a passionate enough of a following to warrant any success the team may garner in the tournament?”

Soccer still lags far behind the major sports in this country in terms of viewership and attendance, despite the recent trends of growth that suggest a shift could occur in the near future. It’s safe to say there are more than enough eyeballs on the one month that consists of the World Cup, but how about the other times of the year when Major League Soccer is in session?

It’s tough to pinpoint the exact reason why the average American will tune into the World Cup and cheer on their team but insists on ignoring the existence of a league within the country’s borders. It may be a lack of awareness and perhaps some teams have yet to reach out and publicize themselves enough in their area to get more fans in the stadium.

Maybe there isn’t a team nearby for them to cheer for. MLS consists of 19 teams at the moment, with two more to join for the 2015 season, and another arriving two years later.  Some of these teams are filling holes in the map where the lack of a professional soccer team is very apparent. It seems Commissioner Don Garber has made it his mission at the moment to focus on expanding to the Southeast, where previous teams folded at the start of the millennium, and also gain teams in bigger markets to feed more money into the league.

MLS isn’t the richest league in the world by any means, which might be a reason why it hasn’t caught on yet because it doesn’t have the same amount of reach as the Premier League or La Liga. That by no means negates MLS’s development, which has been incredible since its inception in 1996, as the number of teams has nearly doubled and the level of play has vastly improved. The fact remains, though, that the sport can’t acquire the TV deals it desires to extend to broader audiences. Networks that broadcast MLS games seem to only acquire a dozen from the entire slate of games and, of the teams chosen, there doesn’t appear to be much diversity.

Pages 1 2 3

32 Comments

  1. Dean Stell June 3, 2014
    • krazymunky June 3, 2014
    • Taylor June 3, 2014
  2. bennett311 June 3, 2014
    • Angry June 3, 2014
      • quiletown June 5, 2014
  3. goatslookshifty June 3, 2014
    • Christopher Harris June 3, 2014
      • quiletown June 5, 2014
        • Christopher Harris June 5, 2014
        • Gene June 13, 2014
    • Tim June 3, 2014
      • goatslookshifty June 3, 2014
  4. Mufc77 June 3, 2014
  5. Gringo June 3, 2014
    • quiletown June 5, 2014
  6. Frill Artist June 3, 2014
    • quiletown June 5, 2014
  7. Taylor June 3, 2014
    • CTBlues June 3, 2014
      • Taylor June 5, 2014
    • quiletown June 5, 2014
  8. Remy June 3, 2014
  9. john marzan June 4, 2014
  10. Toby June 4, 2014
    • quiletown June 5, 2014
      • FlyChap June 6, 2014
  11. Bergkamp_10 June 4, 2014
    • quiletown June 5, 2014
      • Flyvanescence June 5, 2014
  12. rkujay June 5, 2014
  13. Matthew Hall June 7, 2014

Leave a Reply