An Indian Civilizational Perspective

World Cup Soccer Mania in the US

This year’s World Cup soccer has been very successful in the US, based simply on the interest it has generated within the normal American public. I have never seen Americans discussing soccer the way I have seen during the world cup. There is a TV in the coffee area, where – my client being a finance oriented company – people only watch CNBC. But for last couple of weeks, ESPN is the channel of choice. People actually keep coming for water or coffee on one pretext or the other to watch an interesting game.

The numbers across the country mirror that as well. According to ESPN.com numbers, I saw in the morning paper today in Boston, there has been a 71% increase in average viewers for the 2010 World Cup over 2006. In fact there were 5.2 million viewers for the Friday’s soccer match – the 3rd highest viewership for a soccer match in US.

World Cup also has secured a place amongst the biggest productivity sapping sports events in the US. The top 5 go as follows:

  • March Madness
  • Fantasy Football
  • Super Bowl
  • World Cup Soccer 2010
  • College football bowl season.

People are changing their schedules and becoming flexible to accomodate their soccer mania and urge to watch matches. The Boston paper “Metro” shrieked this morning “World Cup causes virtual strike”.

That’s very interesting for a country which doesn’t watch or play much soccer. Although, slowly but surely, from a “girl’s sport”, and soccer moms.. this sport has seen men becoming interested and also Dads becoming involved in the game at the grassroot level as coaches. I take both my kids for soccer matches and both love the game.

As US team does well – as it did against England – soccer can only pick up in this country. And that will be great for the sport as the amount of money that US can invest in that game, no other country can even match it! Also, as the Hispanic community grows in the US, the future of soccer in US is virtually secure.

How are you doing with the World Cup? Do you watch the games? At work (you can at ESPN3 on the net) or just at home?

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