Soccer has become one of the top sports in the US during the past decade. After a slow beginning, it has increased in popularity. Besides enjoying the support of a professional league for both men and women, it has established itself as a long-term success story in the United States for a number of reasons.
Like so many other sports-related successes in the US, the sport has built a deep network of supporters, financial backers, fans, media enthusiasts, and government allies in its quest to enter the domestic market in the USA. It has significant competition in the form of major league baseball, NFL (American-style) football, basketball, and professional ice hockey. Already, soccer has displaced ice hockey as the third most popular sporting activity in the US and is positioned to grow faster than any of its other top-three competitors in the near future. Why? Here are some of the most relevant reasons.
More Access to International Television
In the digital age, millions of sports fans view games online. Plus, television broadcasters are increasingly showing international matches that feature global favorites like Real Madrid and its array of sponsors such as Emirates and online broker easyMarkets, plus other top European teams. As more consumers gain access to international TV broadcasts, soccer is poised to gain more fans and advertisers.
The NFL (American Football) is Losing Viewers and Fans
The USA’s number-one sporting league, the NFL, has recently been plagued with financial, image, ethical, and political problems. In just the past five years, TV viewership has declined significantly as fans tire of player behavior off the field, demands for higher salaries, and league politics. Not to mention now there are so many ways to watch soccer games live no matter the country they’re being played in giving people all over the world ultimate access.
MLS and the Marketing Push
Major League Soccer is a unique American success tale. Since starting in 1996, the league has grown steadily and now includes 25 US-based teams and three from Canada. Indeed, the Salt Lake City, Utah, team, Real Salt Lake, chose that name to emulate its team’s mentor, Real Madrid. Between 2008 and 2021, MLS revenues shot up from $37 million to $550 million, making US soccer one of the most financially stable sporting leagues in the nation. The league spends a considerable amount of its capital on marketing and promoting games, rivalries, players, and special events.
There are More Big Screen TVs Than Ever Before
With the price of large screen televisions coming down, consumers are able to score a great deal on big screen TVs and are learning to enjoy the unique benefits of watching soccer as it should be seen. The same can’t be said for US-style football, baseball, or basketball. The big screen advantage is unique to the sport’s appeal, primarily due to the large playing field and constant movement.
It’s a Gender-Neutral Sport
In grade schools, high schools, colleges and universities all across the USA, soccer is now a mainstay. Every day, millions of children take part in leagues. Many parents prefer their children play it instead of US-style football, which is notorious for serious injuries and high equipment fees. Although there are also common foot and ankle injuries US style football players can incur and treat easily, when it comes to kids, parents prefer the safety route. Perhaps the biggest part of the new sport’s appeal is that both boys and girls play it with equal vigor and interest. About one in ten US households with children had at least one child on a team as of 2022.