New York – With about 20 million youths involved in some form of soccer, strong ratings and revenue tied to the last airing of the FIFA World Cup and the changing socio-economic status of Hispanics in the country, soccer could rival other tentpole sporting events in the U.S. in the next several years, according to a presentation at the Hispanic TV Summit here.
TV Sports Market editor Frank Dunne believes there are four factors driving soccer’s growing acceptance in the U.S.: the organized development of the sport itself; underlying socio-economic trends in the country; the TV market and the cultural or symbolic value of the sport.
Dunne pointed to the more than 20 million American youth that are participating in some kind of soccer activity today, making the U.S. the biggest country in the world for youth soccer. In addition, America bought about 200,000 tickets to that last FIFA World Cup tournament in Brazil – second only to Brazil itself, Dunne said. Add to that a growing Hispanic middle class, themselves among the most rabid traditional soccer fans, and a growing acceptance of the sport by Caucasians, which proves the growing popularity of the sport.