Soccer on Television

January 4, 2011
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Soccer is the most popular sport in the world, with hundreds of millions of people playing the sport and about 18 million people playing it right here in the U.S. But yet, most TV providers don’t offer a soccer channel as part of its package; instead, one must pay extra to be able to watch soccer in their house.

Besides the World Cup and a few college games here and there, soccer is very non-existent on television unless you pay extra to get a channel. And it’s not even like channels, such as ESPN, are showing games played by our men and women’s national soccer teams. Soccer is just never on TV. But yet, for people with DISH, the NASCAR Channel is on 24/7, a sport that barely garners over 200 million viewers a year.

Many people believe that the big reason soccer isn’t shown more on TV is because Americans didn’t invent the sport. The most-viewed sports in our country – football, baseball, basketball, and even NASCAR were invented in the U.S. Because of this, many people in the country are ignorant of soccer, which is probably why there is no market for soccer on TV. The big TV execs over at the sports channels believe that soccer has no market on television.

But, EA Sport’s FIFA video game franchise is one of the best-selling franchises ever, which shows that people do enjoy soccer and that it is popular. But then why is there no free soccer network available? In his article off of www.slate.com, James Surowiecki asks the question, “Is it really plausible that there’s a huge market for an international video game, and no market for international soccer on television?” The FIFA franchise is the best-selling game sports franchise in the world and has sold over 100 million games in its lifetime. If EA Sports can cash in off of soccer, why can’t television?

The market for soccer is there. Will soccer ever make as much money as football in the U.S.? Probably not. But can soccer be profitable on TV? Yes. Americans become more interested in soccer every year – just look at how much interest and excitement the 2010 World Cup created. Someone just needs to give the soccer market a chance on television. Maybe ESPN2 can replace bowling or poker with it and see how people react with soccer on TV.

The market for it is there. A profit can be made. People will watch. But until that day, Americans will still be ignorant about soccer.





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