Is Soccer Popular In The United States?


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Soccer, the most popular sport among the world, isn’t having a good time here at the United States. In the past few decades, soccer has been considered a less popular, marginal sport compared to the “Big Four.” However, the recently men and women’s world cups seemed to change the situation.

“With the United States through to the knockout phase and interest and television ratings soaring, soccer can rightfully claim a place at the American sporting table. Alongside the National Football League, Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association and National Hockey League, it has changed North America’s Big Four into the Fab Five.” Says a Reuter’s article during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Indeed, when it comes to World Cup, everyone becomes feverish. According to the record of ESPN, with more than 10 million audiences, the first game against Ghana was the most watched soccer game by the time. For later matches against Portugal and Belgium, the numbers of audiences went no surprisingly higher.

Even after the World Cup, the fever still didn’t seem to end. Shortly after the World Cup, NBC NEWS reported that nearly 110,000 fans crowed into Michigan stadium to watch the game between Manchester United and Real Madrid. To this extend, it is fair for people to say that soccer has become a popular and central sport in the United States.

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But the question is, how long will this situation last? Before the 2014 World Cup, there wasn’t a sign of soccer gaining popularity and all the sudden everyone is watching it. Instead of an important event of an important sport, people are more likely treating the World Cup as a rare worldwide event, like the Olympus. “In 2012, 32 million Americans watched Usain Bolt win the 100-meter race. It wasn’t a reflection of racing’s emergence as a major TV destination. It was a reflection that the Summer Olympics are a special glimpse of rare global talent that air when America’s most popular sports, the NFL and NBA, are dormant.” Says in “Americans Love the World Cup; We Still Don’t Care About Soccer” on the Atlantics. Another statistic from ESPN also supports such claim by showing that despite many people watching the World Cup, only a few of them would keep on watching the MSL (Major Soccer League).

So has soccer turned the Big Four to Fab Five yet? No, people watch the World Cup mainly because of its rareness and national pride related, not because of soccer itself. However soccer do have a chance to become a national wide sport due to the growth of youth soccer participation in recent years and the huge impact of the World Cup.picture from M. Alex Johnson — NBC News

3 thoughts on “Is Soccer Popular In The United States?

  1. I really enjoyed your article! I liked how you used your article title to pose a question, and then used statistics, graphs, and facts to prove the answer. I also completely agree with you; although Americans are definitely watching more soccer, it is probably mostly out of nationalism and national pride, not because they enjoy the sport. My question for you is: with the increase in youth soccer participation, do you think soccer popularity will also increase in the US, or do you think people will continue to watch only the World Cup for national pride?

    • Great question. That’s something that I’m working on which might form the next post. For the question itself, I have to say that there is a chance for soccer popularity to increase but no one can guarantee it.

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