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and soccer exposure is light years better now than it was 30 years ago. if it keeps up this pace...
i dont think it will ever over take football, basketball and baseball but i think it will pass hockey at some point. 25, 50 100 yrs...
Basketball won't really change. The only real way for sports to change in popularity is for a shift in the athletes that it attracts. Basketball will never lose its athletes because everyone has access to it and 7 footers don't have anywhere to go. US soccer has the potential to gain athletes, but it is far away. It is the only sport that could make it a "big 5." Football is obviously a juggernaut and the game atmosphere won't ever have an adverse effect. They could survive with 30k in the seats. Baseball has been "dying" for 20 years. During that time they have seen ridiculous increases in revenues. The O's haven't changed their payroll in 15 years, yet have gone from the top of the league to the bottom in salaries. Those three are going nowhere and as long as Canadians stay in the US rather than Russia, the NHL isn't either. We are 30-50 years away from seeing any possible changes.
Americans just love to hate soccer. That's the only thing that has hindered its growth in this country. Once, they get over this mental bias, it will take off, which exactly will happen with the next generation of kids. The Internet has brought the American culture to the world and vice versa. With the explosion of social networks, forums and online media, kids will grow up embracing the next Ronaldos and Beckhams of the world. I think the MLS would still remain a third rate league, though, and its niche as a place for international superstars to retire will be seriously challenged by the Chinese Super League. However, one thing for sure is that soccer will never go away.
Even if for no other reason, soccer's going to grow significantly due to the demographic changes in the US population.
I don't see how the MLS is going to stay a lower level league if soccer is going to take off in the United States. The quality of MLS has improved with the increased focus on promoting it, I don't think that will stagnate. If soccer is going to break through (which I'm certain it will), MLS will break through with it. The two go hand in hand.
You can tell that soccer is becoming more and more popular. For instance, in the lead up to ESPN News the start of Euro 2012 was mentioned before I'll Have Another withdrawing from the Belmont and a chance at the triple crown. Twenty years ago was there even a mention of the Euros in the US? Even 4 or 8 years ago I think the Belmont gets an earlier mention. I think soccer will continue to become more popular in the States and the with the continued long-term health questions associated with football I think it's popularity will start to decrease.
Soccer passing horseracing is not exactly a notable achievement.
Yes, agreed. Until and unless we can have at least our own athletes see MLS as a destination, there is a cap on soccer as a spectator sport. I like soccer, but I have minimal interest in European leagues, and I have to believe most people that are casual soccer fans would agree.
When I was a kid in NJ, Pele came to play for the Cosmos on Randall's Island, and then they moved to the Meadowlands and got Giorgio Chinaglia and Franz Beckenbauer (I've probably spelled these wrong) and for a while it was huge, at least in the NY metropolitan area. Not sure if there's any right formula, but people have been trying to make soccer big here for decades and it just hasn't happened. Seems like an obvious choice to become big here but of the people I know who give a crap about soccer, they mostly laugh at the MLS and follow european stuff on tv.
As to espn putting it ahead of the Belmont, on sportcenter, I'm sure none of that has to do with self-promotion of events they cover. After all, it's sports journalism over all else at espn!
I'd bet even money that soccer will be the most popular sport in the US in 25 years. I've met the guys who buy rights for ESPN, and they are completely committed to promoting soccer. If ESPN promotes it, it will continue to grow rapidly.
Rugby sevens will increase in popularity dramatically over that time as well. It's been added to the 2016 Olympics, and it's a sport the US will be great in quickly. Once it gets proper USOC funding, there are enough athletes not quite good enough for the NFL that will be dominant. Fifteens is more like soccer in that it takes years of playing to get the tactical nuances to play at the highest level, but pure athleticism is much more important in sevens.
The NFL will drop off, but not completely. I's guess it takes a baseball-like trajectory over 25 years. Still relevant, but no longer #1. Its USP is the world's best specialised athletes beating the crap out of each other, and when the violence is toned down dramatically, it will lose some of its natural appeal.
The NBA will only get stronger. It's the best showcase for amazing athletic talent, it's very accessible, it's easy to understand while being tactically complex, and it's growing worldwide.
Baseball will continue its decline and probably end up where the MLS is today.
Hockey will probably be about the same, or perhaps rise a little - if only because it's got a little room to get back to where it was if it corrects the damage done since the last lockout.
Cricket is a complete wildcard. It's a great sport, and it has potential to grow based on demographic trends, but I don't see it gaining traction among casual sports fans in the US.
I expect MMA will grow as well - it's very well marketed, it's well managed, and it answers questions like, "who would win between a boxer, a karate fighter, and a wrestler?" that we've been asking since we were kids.
The MLS today is even below "niche." MLS is not even on the radar of the casual sports fan. Baseball will never fall that far.
I moved to Europe to work for the marketing agency for the UEFA Champions League in 1998. Until about 2006, it was work to explain to people what I did. There were a few Americans I knew that followed it, and a few people on this board that cared. Over the last 5-6 years, awareness has grown massively among casual fans. When I say "Champions League" now, most people know what I'm talking about.
I am positive that there is zero percent chance of this happening. i just dont see how anyone can think that.
the only way that happens is if there is some kind of apocalypse and certain demographics do better than others.
I think a lot of the changes you're describing are going to take a lot more than a single generation to happen, even if I agreed with all of them.
On a completely unrelated note, the people who are arguing "Soccer was the next big thing 30 years ago too" are completely missing a lot of points.
agreed on the latter. i hate when people say that
i have a pretty hard time seeing baseball ever experiencing the kind of decline being speculated
Some posters get it. Just think about globalization and rapidly changing demographics. I don't know about the 20 year time frame, but beyond that, Soccer will play a very big role.
"Anyone who talks about Jordan Williams leaving knows nothing about basketball. Absolutely nothing" - Hogie 02/27/2011
I don't think soccer will be bigger than football in the next 25 years (if ever), but I am very confident it will surpass baseball, maybe not quite in 25 years but soon after that.
If you look at TV ratings there is no Big 4 now, hockey's ratings are anemic. There is just a big 3. I could definitely see a new big 3 of football, basketball, and soccer emerging in the next 25-50 years.
Go away, KA!
I totally agree with these comments, except I think 25 years is too soon. I think NBA could be #1 within 25 years. Most posters aren't appreciating the changes happening around the world and their possible impact on American sports.
We're Americans. We expect the best of the best. We're never going to get to a point where we can afford the best soccer players in the world, and even if we could afford a few, the MLS still wouldn't be anywhere near the best soccer league in the world. And even then, we wouldn't embrace it if it's a bunch of foreigners running around (Canadian hockey players don't count as foreigners obviously).
We're tremendously spoiled in having the unquestioned best of the best leagues in all 4 of our major sports.
Tennis became a terrible tv sport in the last 10 years when racquet technology improved enough that no one can play the serve and volley game. Its actually TOO easy to return serves these days and they're slowing down the faster hard courts and grass courts. Passing shots are a dime a dozen and you get boring baseline rallies from guys with ridiculous endurance levels.
Yeah, I may have got that wrong or at least the reason why wrong. When I was young, watching Borg, McEnroe, Connors, etc. Those guys would play points that would last forever and it was great to watch. For whatever reason, you don't see that anymore and I don't even think about watching it on tv.
As for what most of you have said about soccer, I'll believe it when I see it. And I'm not going to see it. I'll admit I may be a little biased based on the fact that I don't like watching the sport. I wonder if those predicting the demise of mlb will admit the same? I can't believe I read that it would fall below mls in popularity. Holy shit.
The point is that ESPN is "all in" when it comes to pushing soccer. They have the power to shape public behavior/interest as much as any other sports media entity. That alone is a huge step for soccer that will grow the sport significantly going forward.
I agree with everything Hoophead posted, except that I don't really expect the NFL to drop all that much in popularity. The super bowl and fantasy are good tools to retain the casual fans.
but that's all tennis is right now at the top. the only reason no cares here is because americans haven't been trained to be well-rounded enough players and can't compete with the best anymore
This is true, but they did not get the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, so we will have to see how committed they remain when they don't have the rights to the world's biggest sporting event.
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