USA Soccer To-Do List:
End FIFA corruption. Check.
Beat Netherlands. Check.
Beat World Champs. Check.
America has conquered soccer! Okay, not really….but it’s been a good couple of weeks for the US in the soccer world.
In the long run, it’s been a great year for soccer in America.
We should all see by now that Orlando has completely adopted the beautiful game. The proof is in the pudding, as they say. Support has been insane from the incredible World Cup watch parties all over town last summer to the 62,000-plus for the inaugural MLS match and subsequent 30,000-plus average for the rest of the MLS matches for Orlando City.
So here in Orlando, I think it’s safe to say that soccer has become a major sport…but has it become a major sport for the entire country?
Now, obviously soccer isn’t catching the “Big 3” yet. Football, baseball and basketball are still the biggest major sports in this country and I doubt any of them will ever fall out of the major sports conversation. Major League Soccer has a ways to go to catch the NBA, MLB and NFL, but over the past few years, they’ve been trending upward.
Not only did the inaugural match for Orlando City draw 539,000 viewers, but so far this season the average viewership on Fox Sports 1 (Avg- 219,000) is up from NBC Sports Network’s coverage in 2015 (Avg- 142,000).
That’s nation wide. Not just in Orlando, Portland or other soccer hungry, non-NFL markets.
Again, that’s not reaching into he realm of the “Big 3” yet, but yearly improvement tells me that it’s on it’s way to at least challenging the NBA and MLB. You take those ratings growths and mix them with the multiple polls done over the past few years showing the popularity of soccer in today’s youth surpassing basketball and even at times baseball and the debate could be over.
Then you look at social media. Yes, Facebook and Twitter play a big role in determining the popularity of something these days and my God is it buzzing during soccer matches. All soccer matches.
I wake up on a Saturday morning and my Twitter feed is a constant stream of tweets about European Leagues. During yesterday’s USMNT vs Germany match I couldn’t even keep up with the tweets with how fast my timeline was moving. The same goes for Orlando City matches and yes, even the Women’s World Cup when the USWNT played the other night.
In 2015, Twitter tells me all I need to know about the pulse of a situation…seriously, it does.
I knew how Deflategate would go immediately because of how it was being talked about on Twitter. I can say the same thing about the Ray Rice suspension, the Adrian Peterson saga and other hot button issues.
And hot button issues aren’t the only things you can gage on Twitter.
The popularity of something is apparent as well thanks to social media. From movies to music to TV shows and yes sports, people constantly tell you how much they like and dislike things on social media. Because of this, I think my next statement is safe…and true.
On this day, June 11, 2015, I hereby declare that soccer is an official major sport in America! The “Big 3” is now the “Big 4” and there is nothing wrong with that!
Any and all feedback welcomed! Hit me up on Twitter (@Ditti33) or via e-mail (ditti@740TheGame.com).