It seems soccer, as they call it, is starting to stir the soul of the American fan and many are already finding time to stray away from basketball courts to enjoy some moments of football madness and 2014 Fifa World cup present such a special case study.
“Is U.S. Trending away from dunking?” A journalist at Rio De Janeiro asked Michael Jordan, the star that made the sport so popular around the world: “Basketball isn’t a sport in U.S. It’s the very life of 'Uncle Sam’s Hacks' and I don’t think that can change.” He Answered.
But key indicators suggest interest in football has reached a new zenith. CNN Report that USA had the largest global audience in 2014 Fifa world cup. And I can break it down for you, starting from Media participation.
The average sports fan in U.S. is getting into football during this world cup like never before. Watching ESPN’s coverage in the states, with every game broadcasted live and actions appearing in Sports centers, fan fests in major cities. What that means is this; football is no longer a minority sport but one that is on the up.
For instance, the match between U.S Vs Portugal, according to Nielsen report, were watched by 25 million television viewers. Larger than that of NBA finals in 2013, which average 15 million viewers on ABC, while baseball’s 2013 world series delivered similar figure on Fox.
The digital realm is another area that’s experiencing a surge of traffic from America’s world cup interest. The last group game, U.S Vs Germany, set a fresh online audience record, when over 15 million people screamed the game via watchESPN.com
The world cup has also seen new heights of 389, 000 average messages per minutes recorded on Twitter, eclipsing the previous mark set by activity around Super Bowl, Academy award (OSCAR) and Sochi Winter Olympics, combined.
Facebook confirmed this year’s festival of football is the first event that generated1 billion engagements – posts, comments, and Likes – on its platform with 220 million users’ interactions.
A Fifa official says the traffic from the USA accounted for over 400 million engagements with world cup content through its website, fifa.com and mobile App, 2014 fifa world cup count down.
Stadium Attendance in Brazil:
It’s not just 'fandom' in the digital sphere, where America has been a force, but supporters from the states were second only to host nation Brazil in the amount of tickets bought for the tournament – 196, 838 tickets were sold to fans from USA. No wonder, we saw such Mormon crowd of Americans all around Brazil’s stadiums, surpassing British fans and German fans respectively.
Report shows that 2014 world cup games in general brought about a 50% audience increase in the U.S, higher than those from South Africa 2010 – 4.3 million as against 2.8 million in 2010. Another point in time is USA 1994, which was 2.2 million.
The explosion of interest was partly generated because of the heroic performance of Jurgen Klinsmann managed U.S Men’s soccer team (USMT), that defeated Belgium , drew with Portugal and gave a good account of themselves against Germany. The team got to the round of 16 in the tournament.
However, this isn’t an overnight sensation. It’s been building and growing for 25 years now. “We are excited to see our fan base grow and more and more people involved in the world cup.” Rod Bucthe, USA Soccer Senior Manager of Communications said.