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Five Reasons why Soccer Will Continue to Gain Popularity in the US

Updated on August 14, 2016

Soccer on Storm

Fifty years ago soccer wasn’t in a US sports dictionary. Few Americans watched the sport and even fewer played. Today, things are different. In the next five to ten years, I believe we can expect soccer to take the lead in American athletics.

1. Increased ethnic population

There is no doubt that there is rapid growth of ethnic populations in the United States. According to an article from Four Square Church, racial and ethnic growth has made up over 90% of the population growth in the US. This includes the obvious Hispanic growth which accounts for 56% of the growth. This data is backed by the Pew Research Center which notes that there are now over 50 million Latinos residing in the United States. In addition to the significant Hispanic growth, the Asian population in America has grown by nearly 50% in the past ten years. The Wall Street Journal echoes these statistics which estimates that by 2040, Hispanics will comprise 50.8% of the total US population.

What does this mean? For nearly all of the rising ethnic groups, soccer (or football, as it is known in most cultures) is the primary athletic activity and spectator sport. This means there will be more Americans playing soccer both competitively and recreationally and even more people watching the game. The more people that support the sport, the more advertisers and sponsors will be attracted which will draw increasing amounts of revenue.

2. Decrease in the value of TV advertising

The value of TV advertising has greatly declined as many Americans (especially the Caucasian population) have learned to “tune out” TV ads. While the price of TV advertising continues to increase, the return for dollars spent is questionable. How does this impact soccer? The current popular American sports of football, basketball, and baseball revolve around TV broadcasting. It seems almost as if these sports were built for the TV as commercial breaks are frequent and comprise a great portion of total game time.

Soccer, on the other hand, has been able to draw revenue and popularity without the advertising and media space, other sports have. As the value of TV advertising decreases, the value of sports that depend on that revenue will also decrease.

3. Youth Soccer on rise

Now, more than ever before a huge percentage of American youth from all different demographic backgrounds are playing youth soccer. A generation raised on soccer will most certainly aid in the popularity of soccer in the US.

4. Economy struggles

More and more Americans are facing financial struggle and playing soccer is simply more economical than just about any other sport. The lower cost of equipment reduces the overall cost of playing soccer recreationally and competitively. Football, for example is an extremely expensive sport and many are finding that the cost is not worth the benefit. This is true at many small colleges and universities who have chosen not to have football teams due to the tremendous cost. In its place, soccer has the opportunity to become the most popular sport in many communities.

5. Increased international success

Despite many setbacks, especially for the men’s national team, the US has gotten better internationally. This has in turn, increased the amount of support from American Caucasians, who traditionally have not followed soccer. International victories also increase the amount of media attention given to US soccer. Recent victories such as the Women’s World Cup wins or the men’s win against Spain in the 2010 Confederations Cup, has certainly helped soccer gain popularity. American’s are usually eager to support their teams playing in international contests.

The Future of Soccer in America

Who knows how much the power of soccer will impact the American culture, but there is not doubt that soccer is on the rise. More and more Americans are rallying around soccer the American national teams. Time will tell just how much of a storm soccer will create.

What Do You Think?

Is Soccer Gaining Popularity in America?

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    • Jason Matthews profile image
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      Jason Matthews 3 years ago from North Carolina

      @ Marie-Renee: basketball is also growing in popularity around the world. I am working overseas right now and basketball courts are everywhere. Folks here love talking about the NBA and well-known basketball players. Soccer is nice though, because as you say, height is not has much of a factor! Thanks for commenting and for your encouragement!

      @ MarieAlana1: Thank you for your comment and encouragement. Youth soccer is gaining popularly! I think this has a lot to do with affordability (at least for recreation leagues) and increasing Hispanic/Latin American influence.

    • Jason Matthews profile image
      Author

      Jason Matthews 3 years ago from North Carolina

      @ Tazzmania 89: Actually I don't watch much TV. I have never been able to justify the cost of cable. I prefer the Internet because it can be used for both work and play. I can remember many of the ads shown to me online, because advertising services now have the ability to show ads that are relevant so the consumer, based on web searches. So, for example if I make queries looking for fashion clothing, I will see ads for online clothing stores. If I watch TV, I may see a car advertisement even though I have no plans or desire to purchase a car.

      Now, I realize I am talking about personal preferences here. However, in the hub, I am simply making the point that the power TV has is diminishing. However, I would never say that the power of TV is gone. TV remains (and will for some time) a leading media source. And sorry for my typo in the last sentence of my other comment. I appreciate your comments and I enjoy dialoguing with you!

    • MarieAlana1 profile image

      Marie Alana 3 years ago from Ohio

      This is a great hub! It is backed with research. At the youth level, I have been sensing the rise of soccer. That is, during the past couple of months.

    • Marie-Renee profile image

      Renee 4 years ago

      The same way that the US is a baseball and football country, my country is also a basketball country. Anywhere you go in the Philippines you will see basketball courts. Since the Philippine national team known as AZKALS became popular, the sport has also been growing in popularity. I have always been a soccer fan and encouraged my son to also give the sport a chance. The built of Filipinos is actually more suited for soccer where height is not a prerequisite. Am happy that soccer is gaining popularity in the US, too. Nice hub. Voted up and across, shared and tweeted.

    • tazzmania89 profile image

      tazzmania89 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      @JasonMathews

      Not quite as powerful as it used to be.

      What's the last internet ad you saw? Probably had to think about that.

      What's the last TV ad you saw?

      The value is there AND is known by internet marketers and TV advertisers alike. Internet is popular because of potential. Its the first mover theory, you never want to play catch up. It might be there one day but not yet.

    • Donnacha C profile image

      Donnacha C 4 years ago from Ennis, Co Clare, Republic of Ireland

      Soccer never will be as popular in the US as elsewhere in the world, mainly down to the popularities of American Football, Baseball and Basketball....and it's not necessary a bad thing either...

    • profile image

      Realist 4 years ago

      Good to see the sport beginning the long-awaited takeoff in the USA. If that is true, the kids of today's youth may be the first generation to have a shot of winning the USA's first ever FIFA World Cup title!

    • Jason Matthews profile image
      Author

      Jason Matthews 5 years ago from North Carolina

      @Don: Interesting that your son is collecting soccer cards. This is an example of how soccer is becoming more popular in America. It is a very attractive sport for youth to follow and participate. Thanks for your comment.

      @Tazzmenia89: Thanks for your comments; you raise some good questions and valid points. There is no doubt that the sport of soccer draws large revenues from TV ads. However, I would argue that TV revenues for soccer are much less than those of other major sports, making soccer less dependent on TV advertising. Also, I mentioned in my article that TV ads are decreasing in value, not worthless. Billions of dollars go into buying and creating TV ads every year so there is certainly value there. The reason I say that TV advertising is losing value is because the Internet and other methods of attracting consumers are bringing more competition to the marketing/advertising world. While it is still effective, I don't believe that TV advertising is quite at powerful as it used to be.

    • tazzmania89 profile image

      tazzmania89 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      I don't necessarily agree with point #2. Like all other sports, the main income soccer teams receive is through tv revenue.

      Why do you think the same teams are always shown on tv? Its because they have biggest fan base which leads to a bigger television audience.

      Why do you think they work hard to gain entry into champions league? The prize money of course which is funded by advertising dollars.

      If television advertising has no value, than why do you so many marketers put money into advertising and why is there at least 1 tv in every household.

    • profile image

      Don 5 years ago

      Very interesting article and I agree. I also think that getting premiership and uefa champions league games on TV is helping the kids identify with the sport that they are playing. More and more kids are watching the games and discovering the beauty in the game and identifying with the stars. My son for one is constantly buying soccer cards on ebay and and is thrilled to open packs of champions league cards to find the likes or Messi and Christiano Ronaldo.I think we are at the beginning of a fundamental shift in the game of soccer in the U.S.

    • samtenabray profile image

      samtenabray 5 years ago from uk

      As a massive association football fan I want to see the sport do well in all countries and these are some reasons why it will continue to rise is popularity in the U.S.

    • ithabise profile image

      Michael S. 5 years ago from Winston-Salem, NC

      Compelling article. I'm not sure that soccer is going to "take the lead in American athletics", but I agree with your reasoning. A very good article, sir. Thank you.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Interesting trend.

    • SpiffyD profile image

      SpiffyD 6 years ago from The Caribbean

      Some cogent reasons for the icnreasing popularity of the sport. I don't think that association football will become as popular in America as it is in the rest of the world. However, there's a chance that it could become a major sport - a respected alternative.