Originally Posted by DSpivack
You could argue that it's better to be a fan of soccer in the US than in any other country, given the plethora of TV options for worldwide leagues. It's easier to regularly watch (find on TV) the EPL here than it is England, if I am not mistaken.
Lip, just look at the facts, even if you don't care for the sport.
Money and advertising? This niche sport has a multibillion-dollar TV deal for the World Cup that is larger than that in any other country.
Popularity? The average attendance for an MLS game last season was 18,000. In North America, the only leagues drawing better than that are the NFL, MLB and Liga MX (Mexico's soccer league). The Seattle Sounders led MLS by averaging 44,000 fans per game. Only 2 dozen teams in European leagues drew better than that. As a whole, MLS is the 8th-best drawing soccer league in the world.
TV ratings? Look at what ESPN gets for Premier League games, or what Fox gets for the Champions League Final.
Some niche sport. You might not buy it, but the facts say otherwise.
A lot of Fox affiliates won't even broadcast Champion League Finals because the ratings are so low and ESPN doesn't get great ratings with the Premier League either. There are obviously a lot of die hard soccer fans in the US who have a huge passion for their sport but I think that right now it is still on the same level and maybe slightly below hockey, another possible "niche" sport with a passionate following from their fans.
Back to the topic at hand, I would be curious to know what the sort of coverage and reception the World Cup got in its third go around (which would have been what? 1936?) as opposed to the World Baseball Classic. I think the WBC could be a great thing for baseball but there are still some kinks that need to be worked out and participants (particularly the US) really need to buy into the importance of the event.