Thursday, June 24, 2010


I wanted to make sure I had a clip of Landon Donovan's goal in stoppage time against Algeria. After the second disallowed goal in as many games, this one felt pretty damn good for American soccer fans. And, sorry, Jim Rome, you may not care, but many others do. Some prognosticators were wondering if this victory would propel soccer to the forefront of America's sporting consciousness. Jim Rome says only so long as they keep winning. He's right and wrong. The hype will only grow with each victory but the reality is soccer is here. When you see English Premier League results regularly displayed on ESPN's ticker and that channel carrying the Confederations Cup and Champions League games, it is obvious that things have changed. Ten years ago, and this would be six years after the United States hosted the World Cup (which was supposed push soccer to the forefront of America's sporting consciousness) this wasn't happening. Sorry, Romey, people care about soccer, just not the cave dwellers who call into your show.

One more thing, have you seen the ratings for this year's World Cup? According to an ESPN Press Release:

Through Wednesday, June 23 (40 games on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2), the 2010 World Cup is averaging a 1.8 U.S. rating (for the two-hour match window) -- up 40% from 2006 (1.3). Household impressions are up 46% (from 1,389,000 to 2,025,000) and P2+ impressions are up 49% (from 1,789,000 to 2,658,000).

The 2006 games were played in Germany, so it isn't a time zone issue. Sure the England vs. USA match had cache and yesterday's game was do or die, making for riveting viewing, but clearly these numbers aren't result of the circumstances surrounding individual games. More people care now. Will soccer displace American football, baseball or basketball? Hell no. But ESPN's investment in the game should indicate what it thinks its very mainstream audience wants.

And what they want is this. I would've gone YouTube but FIFA, in their blessed marketing ignorance, is pulling down every clip they find...except, of course, the shaky shots made by folks filming their televisions with  handheld camcorders.

No comments:

Post a Comment