Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Soccer slowly making ground


An odd sight gracd many visitors to ESPN.com this morning. The feature story was a link to this article about the Soccer Power Index. For a nation who espouses the NFL and American football as the greatest game on earth, why is soccer nosing into the American psyche at a faster rate, it seems, than football is emerging as a popular global sport?
Well, the fact that ESPN has the contract with at least two European leagues doesn't hurt. The fact that they will be airing the World Cup is pretty good too. Of course, they got the rights because they could make money overseas, but they are also able to air some of these games stateside, lending some more attention domestically.
Soccer, though, is seeping into the American sports world subtly, slowly. Instead of a grandiose domestic league, attention is being paid to the soccer formats that already exist. If ESPN can make poker a spectator sport, surely they can infiltrate the EPL and make Americans care about that. Most people resent anything being shoved down their throat, and America simply has not wanted to enjoy the sport. Now, individual Americans have begun to follow the sport and those that don't like it can still ignore it.
The NFL, by comparison, is garish and forceful. It is trying too hard to garner European attention. Now that ESPN has footing in Europe, they may be well served to let ESPN do the heavy lifting, letting those in Europe that would appreciate football do so on their own terms.

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