Will you watch the World Cup? Most Americans won’t, poll shows

U.S. soccer fans watch the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
U.S. soccer fans watch the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

When the U.S. men’s soccer team lines up in Brazil to play their first game of the soccer World Cup in June, their home support may be tepid at best.

Two in three Americans do not plan to follow this year’s tournament, according to an ongoing Reuters/Ipsos poll. Only 7 percent said they anticipated following it closely.

It’s been 20 years since the United States hosted the World Cup, an attempt at the time to bring soccer to a mass American audience. Two years later, a new professional league – Major League Soccer (MLS) – began. The league has grown from 10 to 19 teams.

The arrival of international stars such as David Beckham and Thierry Henry to play for MLS teams in recent years has boosted the sport’s popularity. The owners of successful English Premier League team Manchester City, in partnership with the New York Yankees, are due to debut the New York City Football Club for the 2015 MLS season.

A Beckham-backed Miami team is also in the process of being established in order to join the league.

But soccer still has a long way to go before its marquee event can stake a claim alongside football’s Super Bowl, the National Basketball Association finals, and baseball’s World Series in American minds, the poll shows.

Eighty-six percent of Americans said they either know nothing or only a little bit about the World Cup, and more than two-thirds did not know Brazil is the 2014 host nation.

Jose Vargas, 48, does plan on watching the World Cup in Houston, where he has lived since coming to the United States in 2003. But he will be supporting his birth nation: Colombia.

And while he says that soccer is popular among his Hispanic friends, he does not think a diversity of Americans is that enthused. “Soccer is really a sport that’s followed in Latin America and Europe,” he said.

ABC/ESPN paid $100 million in 2005 for the broadcast rights in English to FIFA events from 2007 to 2014, including this year’s World Cup, while Univision paid $325 million for the Spanish-language rights.

The poll does show that one-third of Hispanic Americans will be following the tournament or some teams closely, double the percentage for respondents overall.

Hispanics comprised 16 percent of the total U.S. population in 2010, according to census data.

Kelli Cousineau, 33, and her family will not be watching the World Cup at home near Phoenix despite her having played soccer in junior high.

She switched to volleyball for a chance at a college scholarship and says that soccer still isn’t taken as seriously. “It’s just not a sport that has a lot of following,” she said. “The other sports like basketball, baseball and football are considered all-American.”

The results were taken from an ongoing Reuters/Ipsos online poll and include the responses of 1,416 adult Americans from April 7-11. The credibility interval, a measure of precision, is plus or minus 3 percentage points.


Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.


Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…


OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…


MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.


Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."


'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.


'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."


TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.


Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.


Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.


Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”


Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.


Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.


Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…


NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.


The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.