On Soccer’s non-popularity

Tyler Cowen considers why soccer is not such a popular sport in the United States. He supposes that Americans prefer sports where they are the best in the world. Nick at transistion Game, supposes that there are tribal and geographical influences on the sports and team we prefer.

I’ll add my two cents. American’s prefer games where there is a constant, unrelenteless buildup towards a winner. Where at any moment its clear who is winning, either by the number of baskets scored, precise field positioning in football, or the myriad of stats available during a baseball game.

Soccer does not reward the “tell me who’s winning right now” mentally because goals are comparatively rare. As the US showed against Mexico Wednesday night, you can thoroughly dominate an opponent and still walk away with a last-minute 1-0 win. The score of a soccer game actually tells you very little about how each team played. It takes watching a lot of games to learn what signs, nuances, and indicators to look for when assessing a team’s performance. Other sports require less work and analysis, that may appeal more to the bulk of american fans who want to watch a game to be entertained with little effort.