Excitement for Soccer in America

Image Courtesy of the Associated Press (Mark Humphrey)

Soccer is on the rise in the United States.  Whether measured by television viewership, new franchises, or youth interest, soccer is the sport of the future here at home. 

There are three key points as to why soccer is on the rise.

1. Ease of playing with less equipment combined with an international focus

Soccer can be played on pretty much any flat level ground with a ball, and trees, rocks, or sticks for goal posts.   Other sports can also be improvised in terms of using equipment, but soccer is probably the easiest to play in terms equipment needed.  The sports international focus means that many migrants to the United States have played or love the game of soccer.  As the migratory population grows, specifically cultures that have higher reproductive rates than second or third+ generation American-born citizens the result is more interest in soccer. 

2. Smaller stadiums and shorter seasons provides for lower costs and sellout crowds

The nearly $7 billion stadium and entertainment center in Los Angeles for the National Football League’s Rams and Chargers, the billion+ AT&T Dallas Cowboys stadium, plus the increasing cost of land and labor throughout all sports makes soccer stadiums very enticing because of their lower cost to build and smaller capacity.  Soccer can also easily be played in existing football stadiums.  The combination of lower costs and smaller more intimate crowds generally results in increased profits, exposure, and publicity.  The fan experience is also through the roof, no pun intended, because soccer goals are harder to come by than say points in other sports and when in smaller spaces crowds tend to get louder.  In a word, soccer stadium experiences can be electric.  Like playoff hockey or baseball minus (for better or worse) the longer seasons. 

3. Market ripe for expansion

Where there is an influx of talent and interest in soccer, ownership groups can capitalize on creation and growth of Major League Soccer and international league franchises.  And indeed, this is what is occurring, especially where franchise entry fees and newly built stadiums are at times less than half the cost of other major American sports.  The relocation fee alone for the Chargers and Rams from San Diego and St. Louis to Los Angeles was $500 million.   

The potential for growth is sincere.  To put this in perspective, the $1.6 billion Adidas/Real Madrid (La Liga) apparel deal is worth more than nearly half of the Major League Baseball franchises according to Forbes in 2019. 

If potential owners had extra money to invest and the costs of entry were low, the question is not will there be more soccer franchises, the fact is when. 

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