The Big Q: Will Soccer Ever Become America’s Most Popular Sport?

For decades, football has reigned supreme as America’s favorite sport. But football has been under fire of late, with lawsuits spawned by players’ head injuries, and talk of rule changes that critics say will wreck the game. Meanwhile, fervent soccer fans have crowded living rooms and local bars for the 2104 FIFA World Cup, which is set to conclude Sunday with the matchup between Germany and Argentina. Football has long been America’s most popular sport; will soccer ever take its place?


  1. noble says

    I have been a 30 year fan of soccer, fervent if you will, for all of that time. Having grown up playing, watching, and enjoying almost every sport, living on a daily diet of Sportscenter for years, I am so fervently a fan of soccer now that I basically don’t follow any other sports anymore.

    So my answer is : no, it will never be the most popular sport in America. Will it be popular? Yes, because it already is. Professional (not team USA) soccer games already have higher league attendance averages than NHL and NBA games, and the TV ratings in local markets surpass the NHL and NBA is most cases. In some cases, it even bests MLB games. And with the demographic shifts and entire generations of former soccer players entering the economy, it will sustain and possibly grow the wide popularity it already enjoys.

    But it will never be the most popular, I think, and quite honestly, I hope it isn’t. If you look at the shenanigans, petulance, and the host of issues that confront the NFL, MLB, other sports in America, as well as the highest levels of soccer in the rest of the world– No thank you, I’d rather not be fan of all that.

    Half the reason I stopped following other sports is because of my love of soccer, the other half is because of all the stupidity, behavior, and rule changes that inflict themselves on the “money” sports.

    • noble says

      Soccer is not a game designed for television, like the NFL. Baseball and soccer both pre-date TV, and there are lots of things going on off-camera that are hard to appreciate on TV. It’s also a difficult game to appreciate if you haven’t played it yourself, which many Americans still have not.

      But since you enjoy paint drying so much, you must love NFL games, which have about 20 minutes of actual football being played in a 3 hour broadcast. This has been factually proven by the way, look it up yourself if you want. Just one of the several reasons I hate the NFL, too many commericials. Another major one is that did you know that most lucrative sports league in the US (NFL) is also a non-profit? Yeah, they pay no taxes.

      I’m not here to debate how any sport is better than another. I like football. I like baseball, hockey, basketball. What I don’t like is what television, what big money, and what marketing of the leagues has done to those sports at the professional level. It’s really a shame.

      • Hedley Lamarr says

        I do like to watch when a player gets hit falls to the ground rolling around in pain and when the ref pays no attention the player gets up and is perfectly fine, just like a spoiled brat trying to get attention.

    • Mr. Moderate says

      David Letterman provided the answer a few days ago: “Pretty soon the World Cup will end, and Americans will have to find something else they pretend to care about.”