Sunday, 14 Apr 2024

Soccer: The Sport That Defines the Present

Soccer, often hailed as the sport of the future in the United States, has actually solidified its presence as one of the country’s biggest sports for quite some time now. Although the domestic league and national team may not be considered the best in the world, soccer’s popularity in the US is undeniable. Here are six reasons why soccer is the sport of now, not the future.

is soccer losing popularity

1. Soccer is already ahead of hockey

In terms of attendance, viewership, and overall popularity, soccer surpasses ice hockey and is nearly as popular as baseball. Soccer is also more accessible when it comes to participation. While hockey requires expensive specialized equipment and dedicated facilities, soccer simply needs a ball. Additionally, the average age of soccer fans skews younger compared to traditional American sports like hockey.

2. Youth movement is huge for the sport

Professional soccer ranks as the second most popular sport among those aged 12-24, just behind the NFL. The easy access to top leagues and players through television and streaming platforms has allowed young fans to grow up with the game. The FIFA video game series has also played a significant role in introducing millions of people to the sport at a young age.

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3. Soccer features a melting pot culture

The diversely rich social fabric of the United States makes it a fertile ground for soccer’s popularity. Soccer has evolved from being sustained solely by local ethnic leagues to capturing the hearts of Hispanics and other demographics. Leagues such as LaLiga, Liga MX, and even the Argentine Primera and Brasileirão, have gained English-language streaming deals, making every match available in the US for the first time ever.

4. Soccer is still growing fast

While soccer has already entrenched itself in the lives of many Americans, it continues to experience steady growth. In 2019, 52% more adults identified themselves as soccer fans compared to just seven years prior. In comparison, gridiron football saw a 7% decline in fans during the same period, possibly due to the limited actual playing time in American football games.

5. Soccer is a money maker

Soccer is a massive global business, and the USA plays a significant role in its success. In recent years, major European leagues have secured lucrative media rights deals in the US, generating hundreds of millions in revenue. The American soccer fanbase is highly valued by soccer executives worldwide, as the USA serves as a key market for broadcasting, branding, and off-season tours. In 2019, the global revenue for soccer exceeded $40 billion, double that of the NFL.

6. Fútbol is a really, really big deal

Soccer commands worldwide attention, with over half the global population tuning in to watch the World Cup in 2018. Among Hispanics in the US, their country’s victory in the World Cup ranked as the second most important event in their lives, second only to the birth of a child. The UEFA Champions League final, a club competition, attracts more viewers than the American NFL Super Bowl. For example, the 2021 UCL final drew in 700 million viewers worldwide, while the Super Bowl that year had 112 million viewers.

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In conclusion, soccer has already cemented its place as a major sport in the US. Its popularity, accessibility, and diverse cultural appeal make it a force to be reckoned with. So, the next time you visit your local mall or witness the packed stadiums during summer friendlies and international tournaments, remember that soccer is as beloved and important as any other sport in the USA.

FAQs

  • Q: Is soccer more popular than hockey in the US?

  • A: Yes, soccer surpasses hockey in terms of attendance, viewership, and popularity. It is also more accessible for participation.

  • Q: Is soccer growing in popularity among young people?

  • A: Absolutely, professional soccer ranks as the second most popular sport among those aged 12-24, just behind the NFL.

  • Q: Does soccer have a diverse fanbase in the US?

  • A: Yes, soccer appeals to a melting pot culture in the US. Leagues like LaLiga and Liga MX dominate Spanish-language TV ratings, while English-language streaming of leagues such as the Argentine Primera and Brasileirão has also gained popularity.

  • Q: Is soccer a lucrative business?

  • A: Yes, soccer is a massive global business, and the USA is a key market. Major European leagues have secured lucrative media rights deals in recent years, generating significant revenue.

  • Q: How popular is soccer on a global scale?

  • A: Soccer commands a massive global following, with billions of viewers tuning in to watch competitions like the World Cup and UEFA Champions League. Hispanics in the US consider their country’s World Cup victory as one of the most important events in their lives.

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Soccer has firmly established itself as a major sport in the United States. Its accessibility, rising popularity among the youth, diverse cultural appeal, continuous growth, economic impact, and global significance make it a force to be reckoned with. So, whether you watch soccer at stadiums, on TV, or play the game yourself, embrace the fact that soccer is the sport that defines the present in the US.

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