Soccer: Bottom of the American Sports Food Chain, But Rising

March 21, 2011
American League Central
by Ken Lund

While soccer may only be considered a secondary sport, at best, in the U.S., in almost every other corner of the globe it is the sport. In fact, the FIFA World Cup is the most watched sporting event in the world. For the 2006 final, an estimated 750 million viewers were tuned in.

Although the majority of Americans pay soccer little to no attention in comparison to other sports, it is gaining in popularity. This could be attributed to the influx of Latin American immigrants – a large portion of which come from soccer-obsessed countries – over the better part of the last half century. Or perhaps its star is rising due to the hard push by the MLS (Major League Soccer) to bring attention to the sport – i.e., the recent stateside stint played by one of soccer’s most internationally recognizable names, David Beckham.

Another factor helping to improve soccer’s popularity is that the U.S. national team has improved tremendously over the last few decades. At the time of publication, it is ranked 14th in the world and first in all of North and Central America. Having survived the qualification rounds, the U.S. will take part in the World Cup, which is to be held this summer in South Africa.

For those interested in watching the U.S.’s games, they will be shown on regular television. However, if you are interested in catching the action of other teams, you may not be so lucky. To catch non-U.S. games you may have to turn to satellite TV. Not only does satellite offer tons of sporting channels, but you can pick up broadcast networks from different countries around the world – ones which will undoubtedly be showing their respective team’s games.

Also, a lot can be learned from watching a soccer game. If you have a young child who plays soccer, watching a game is a great way to learn more about the sport for yourself. The same goes for those who simply want to explore a new sport. One can also learn about the cultures of the countries going head-to-head. Often, the sportscasters will serve up tidbits of cultural information. Many times there will even be a video clip that tells a little bit about each country playing. So, enjoy the competition and learn a thing or two.

Sports have a magical way of bringing together people of all ages, shapes, sizes and colors. This holds particularly true for soccer. What other reason would cause 750 million people from all over the world to gather around their TV sets to simultaneously watch the 2006 World Cup final?

So, why is it that Americans neglect a sport that has the rest of the world so captivated? Even to this day, many MLS games are hard to find on cable. For now, it looks like it’s satellite TV or bust. However, if soccer’s popularity continues to increase, perhaps we will see more of the “world game” or “beautiful game,” as it is often called, on American TV.

Whether you are a soccer newbie or long-time fanatic, direct tv satellite can set you up with more soccer than you can handle. direct TV packages will give you information on deals and special sports packages.

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