Sports are a major facet of American culture. While our country may be best known for “American Football” and baseball, there is a myriad other sports that are present and, in some cases, growing in popularity. Ask Europe or South America about their preferred sport, and you’re likely to get the answer, “football” (or “fútbol”) back. To us, that means soccer.
But here in the United States, soccer isn’t such a big deal—yet. It is catching on, though, and this year many soccer matches are seeing higher attendance than baseball games. It’s certainly not bringing in as many spectators as American football games, but the numbers are growing. While baseball receives less-than-ideal ratings on sports networks, soccer games are far more accessible than ever before.
The Seattle Sounders this year have drawn more than 39,000 viewers in for each of their games this year, far more than most Major League Baseball teams. And some soccer teams are returning after long absences, like the New York Cosmos’ revival in Queens, New York.
The Cosmos haven’t fielded a team in more than 30 years, but this summer they plan on kicking off once more. Members of the North American Soccer League, the team hopes to build a stadium at Belmont Park, providing a venue for games and a healthy retail space. The Cosmos, along with Carl Mattone’s real estate company, The Mattone Group, have proposed the use of what is currently a mostly empty parking lot covering about 28 acres.
The sports culture in the United States is similar but also very different from that of other countries. While sports always seem to produce incredible cash flow and diehard fans, the expectations and games couldn’t be more different. For example, soccer is a fast-paced game that generally takes around two hours. The players are on the field constantly, and there are few breaks to be had. Now consider American football or baseball, or even golf. These games are far more meticulous, broken up, and take longer to complete.
Is the face of Americans sports about to shift dramatically? Probably not, but there is an upward trend in regards to soccer fans. And soccer fans are known to be particularly passionate—so who knows what the future may bring.