July 18, 2002

"... (I)n 1884 the U.S. became the second country to establish a football association after England.": This comes from the World Cup site. The US is really a soccer granddaddy (though few know it). So why did soccer not take up here? "... football was hampered by being labelled an English game ..." Ah, that's the ticket. Just stirring the pot here: With the US team's great run in the World Cup and a youthful and diverse audience at home, how long before it becomes the no.1 sport in the US?

posted by worldcup2002 to soccer at 04:20 PM - 9 comments

The question is, how long until it's no. 10? One thing at a time!

posted by djacobs at 04:22 PM on July 18, 2002

Hahaha, you snarky New Yorker you! It is already no. 11! Tomorrow, no. 10! Gol! Gol! Gol! Gol!

posted by worldcup2002 at 04:23 PM on July 18, 2002

The only one of the big four that *might* be challenged in the short term (and I'm talking next World Cup at the earliest) is hockey. And that's a maybe. Soccer just doesn't have the appeal in the US that football, basketball and baseball have, and will have for a very long time. Football will always be number 1 to me, followed by basketball, hockey and baseball (in that order). Soccer could rise to #5 (maybe #4) in the US, but it would probably take another good showing at the next WC.

posted by bcb2k2 at 07:34 PM on July 18, 2002

Do you guys think baseball, with the impending strike (and other owner and player snafus) will do serious damage to itself, and help other sports in the process?

posted by worldcup2002 at 08:37 PM on July 18, 2002

I dunno WorldCup2002. I know a lot of lifelong baseball fans who have "given up" the sport this season. Now, I put that in quotes because we'll see just how long this "giving up" lasts. Some have converted into soccer fans, I know that. I think the more interesting story than the potential rise of soccer is just the rise of several other sports. I've had friends talk about the Tour de France and conversations about endurance sports (marathoning, cycling, triathlons, etc.) have been dominating our lunchtime conversations. That's probably because many of us participate in them, but I know we've managed to rope others in as well. It may be the overall shakiness of major league sports in general. It seems they're becoming increasingly financially untenable. With the stories of the Transfer market in Europe and England falling apart and football clubs diving deep into the red, combined with the rumor of two MLB teams going under this year - you have to begin wondering where our sports "institutions" will be 5-10 years from now. In America, the NFL is just amazingly dominate (hey, it's still my favorite too) that it may make these 2nd tier sports in America (Baseball, Basketball, Hockey) have to re-examine the scope of their finances.

posted by elsoltano at 09:55 PM on July 18, 2002

I don't think that football/soccer will ever be the #1 sport in the US, but that doesn't mean that it will never attain mass popularity. I think the strategy they are looking at is to attain popularity along the lines of hockey (the world cup had better ratings than the stanley cup). If MLS could draw on average 20k a game, that would be a success. I don't think baseball's troubles will have any impact on soccer's popularity either, unless espn, abc, et al. begin showing MLS games instead of baseball games if there is a strike. My favorite two sports are just too different to attract the same fans, unless they are freaks like me.

posted by trox at 08:08 AM on July 19, 2002

Bring on the baseball strike! Soccer will be number one right after the next World Cup, and none of you wankers will be able to do anything about it but join in.

posted by StarFucker at 09:46 AM on July 19, 2002

I think the reason football didn't take hold in America initially has to do with the immigrants trying to assimilate themselves into America by playing American sports. But the kids! The kids today play tons of soccer (growing up in the seventies and eighties soccer was my number one sport and the number one sport for most of my friends). They will continue to abandon it though when they get to high school and college because if they harbor dreams of making money playing a sport soccer is the least feasible option. But also with soccer, I tend to notice that adults seem to join soccer rec leagues more than any other (with the possible exception of softball) so to say soccer is not popular here doesn't paint the full picture...Americans love to play it, just not too keen on watching it, because what you can reasonably watch here isn't all that great (or I should say it's not THE BEST, which is what we want to see given the choice)

posted by vito90 at 09:52 AM on July 19, 2002

I love to play soccer (I'm on a couple of rec teams), but I'm not a fan as a spectator. It's not especially well suited for TV (or my attention span is not suited for watching it on TV). I enjoy watching it live, even a rec game, but pro soccer's too far from where I am for me to make the trip.

posted by kirkaracha at 12:34 PM on July 19, 2002

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