It seems wherever we turn, all everyone is talking about is futbol. All of a sudden, soccer in the U.S. has an engaged, even nutty large fan base. It has never been considered a mainstream sport, but now we have definitely caught the fever. Maybe we are just tired of LeBron, the NBA draft and Johnny Footballs’ off-field antics. And maybe, it’s because baseball is just humming along, hockey is done and it’s summer.
But we say, “bring it.” It’s refreshing.
The World Cup has given birth to fashionable coaches, biting etiquette, new super hero/models, and never-before-seen wacky television anchor desks. It’s colorful and a change of pace. Hell, even The New York Times did a piece on world cup fashion. Many brands are leveraging the event with special edition products including Havaiana flip flops, Forever 21 and Melissa X Karl Lagerfeld shoes with pumps that sport a soccer ball on the toe.
In Brazil, World Cup spectators can buy special condoms in the colors of the Brazilian flag that taste like the Caipirinha, Brazil’s signature drink. Probably not going to be a success here.
The U.S. game versus Ghana had a record number of 11 million viewers on ESPN and ESPN2, only to be outdone a few days later with the U.S. versus Portugal game, which had a grand total of 24.7 million viewers between ESPN and Univision. Just a year ago, the MLS Cup recorded its lowest viewership of all time with just 505,000 people tuning in.
What can explain this love affair?
Here are our favorite reasons why Americans are drinking the soccer Kool-Aid:
Everyone is engaged on social media, FIFA, the players, the teams and yes, even the soccer ball. According to the Wall Street Journal, Facebook reported there has been 459 million posts about the World Cup during its first week, surpassing the number of posts during this year’s Super Bowl, Oscars and Sochi Olympics combined. FIFA has been extremely successful in its interactions with its fan base on all forms of social media. Their official Instagram has 589,822 followers, 2.2 million Twitter followers, and 32 million ‘Likes’ on their Facebook page. Official World Cup sponsor, adidas, has made a big impact on social media with their @brazuca Twitter account. The “Brazuca” is the official ball of the World Cup; adidas placed a GoPro camera inside the ball. The camera snaps pictures of celebrities and elite footballers playing with the ball, while the account tweets out the exclusive content to its 2.15 million followers.
Each game has become a nation wide social event. Bars all across the country have been packed for viewing parties offering drink deals and hosting crazy outfit competitions. Cities host outdoor viewing parties in their downtown areas, sans the alcohol. The Chicago Tribune reported that about 20,000 people showed up for the downtown viewing party for the U.S. versus Ghana game.
Rooting for the Team
We all get to root for the same team – the face makeup and red, white and blue outfits will probably launch new beauty and fashion lines.
Soccer is Cool
Another factor is the rise over the past decades of American boys and girls who play soccer. During the 1970s, the U.S. Youth Soccer organization had just 100,000 registered players nationwide. Now there are more than three million registered players, according to Todd Roby, a spokesman for the Frisco, Texas-based organization.
Time Zones – No Red Eyes
An agreeable time zone is making it easy for Americans to view the games live. By comparison, there was a six-hour time difference for the previous World Cup in South Africa, and an 11-hour time difference for the 2002 games in South Korea.
Oversized and Reasonably Priced TVs
These oversized high-definition TVs are making the games easy on the eyes. Seventy-seven percent of U.S. households now have an HDTV, up from just one-third five years ago, according to Leichtman Research Group.
June are July are usually reserved for the “boys of summer”, hot dogs and Cracker Jacks, which by the way, are making a comeback.
We just think it is great to be swept up a rush the entire world is sharing.