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