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Why do Americans (as a whole) dislike Soccer?

Discussion in 'Sports Programming and Events' started by jaywdetroit, Mar 2, 2007.

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  1. Mar 2, 2007 #1 of 346
    jaywdetroit

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    It seems that there are many opinions out there on the merits of Soccer as a spectator sport. I have posted a thread lobbying D* to add Fox Soccer Channel to its regular lineup. I have a feeling people want to talk about whether or not soccer is worthy of this request.

    So I am providing a thread to do it.

    Here are my 2 cents on the subject: I once talked to a National Sports Reporter from MSNBC. He had written a rather encouraging article about Soccer in the U.S. and painted it with a positive spin. I asked him about the article and complimented the fact that it wasn't about what a useless spectator sport soccer is. He replied that the National Media seems to have an agenda to keep the sport off the radar as Editors REFUSE to believe anyone wants to read about it. Therefore - no articles get written because the writers are not getting paid to write them. They write them out of their own interest only.

    That makes me wonder- Could it be that the powerful folks in this country want to suppress soccer to avoid even more competition for the NFL and MLB? Conspiracy yes, but plausible.

    Well at least 1 didn't want soccer suppressed - Lamar Hunt - virtual founder of the AFL, was also had a MAJOR interest in the MLS. He was visionary enough to see the Super Bowl, I wonder what he was thinking by sinking all this money into U.S. Soccer.

    I would love for D* to add FSC to its lineup if even to give some of the skeptics a chance to learn more about the game. Of course, for there to be any interest, the writers have to start reporting on it.

    Once you understand the flow of the game, its much more interesting than the 1 - nil scoreline suggests. If not for any other reason, that the pure implication of that first goal.

    It is truly - the beautiful game.
     
  2. Mar 2, 2007 #2 of 346
    Capmeister

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    Those of us who didn't grow up playing it or watching it, just don't care.

    It's a cultural thing.
     
  3. Mar 2, 2007 #3 of 346
    sigma1914

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    First, I want to say I love all competitive sports, including a good 'footy match.' Interesting idea on a possible "conspiracy" by the media. I think it comes down to money...plain & simple economics. How do channels and televised sporting events make money? Advertising. We all know how big a role commercials play in the Superbowl. When soccer matches are televised, there is no commercial interuption. Ad space is often paid for & given to soccer related companies like Adidas for them to be mentioned X ammount of times in a 45 minute half. As dumb as it sounds, a commercial free 45 minute slot makes no sense to a money driven tv exec. So, now we have a weak financial program (a soccer match) to pitch to a big time tv station (Fox or CBS)...good luck. What's the next option? Pitch it to 2nd rate stations and get crappy time slots. Basically, due to there being no financial benefit in broadcasting soccer in the U.S. like other major sports, the lack of exposure leads to lack of interest by Americans.
     
  4. Mar 2, 2007 #4 of 346
    saltrek

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    Very true about the ad time. But, just about all of the breaks during football and hockey (and probably basketball too - do you really need 10 time-outs a game?)are created solely for TV and are not a natural part of the game.

    If Soccer makes it, they will have to create 2 minute stoppages at various points during the halves. Then how will the ones who really love the game feel about their sport?
     
  5. Mar 2, 2007 #5 of 346
    jaywdetroit

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    I agree with your points on advertising - but I think that some of the solutions (much as the nauseate me) are just as good as commercial breaks. IF NOT better in the emerging DVR world.

    We've seen brand names in the corner of the screen for X amount of time or on the score box, or like you say, product placement into the broadcast. Not to mention the prominence of the Ads they can place along the sidelines. Do I really need 30 seconds for you to explain to me what Coca Cola is? Just making me look at it every time the Goalie handles the ball is sufficient for a companies like Coke/Adidas/Budweiser etc.
     
  6. Mar 2, 2007 #6 of 346
    FTA Michael

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    IMHO, there's just not enough scoring. Here are some wild estimates and observations:

    In soccer, there are about 2-3 scoring plays per average game. Think 2-1. Lots of small victories and impressive ball movement, a fair number of close calls, but rarely more than three goals in a game.

    In the NFL, there are about 5-7 scoring plays per game. Think 24-17. Based on its popularity, this seems about "right" to US fans.

    In MLB, there are about 5-7 scoring plays per game. Think 5-3, with some of those runs coming on 2- or 3-run events. There are the same slow build-ups that soccer gets, but there are more scoring breakthroughs.

    In the NHL, we're getting back up to 4-6 scoring plays per game. Think 3-2. One of the reasons the fans came back pretty strong after the full-season lockout was the rule changes to bring scoring up from its 3-5 plays level.

    In basketball, there are dozens of scoring plays per game. In arena football, looks like about 15 or so. Both seem to be doing well.

    A secondary flaw is timekeeping. Would it really hurt the game for the time to be kept on the scoreboard clock, with the referees stopping it for injuries and such? Americans want to know to the tenth of a second how much time is left in hockey and basketball. The notion of playing a vague amount of time until the referee blows the whistle runs counter to that.

    But IMHO, the huge problem is scoring. If the MLS starts putting up NHL scores, it'll help keep us ignorant Americans from nodding off in the stands. :)
     
  7. Mar 2, 2007 #7 of 346
    jaywdetroit

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  8. Mar 2, 2007 #8 of 346
    Stewart Vernon

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    I think there are several things going on... some I understand, some I don't.

    I don't understand, for instance... there are bunches of kids, boys and girls, playing soccer. There are soccer fields around where I live where for hours on those days traffic is almost deadlocked with people going in and out... so I know kids are playing, and it would seem even in the heart of ACC basketball country, more young kids are playing soccer than basketball or football!

    But... something happens, those kids grow up... and not only stop playing soccer but don't want to watch others play either! That seems a little odd to me, that there is so much interest, then a few years later none.

    Then again... I'm not sure how many gymnasts, track/field, ice skating, etc etc participants as kids grow up to watch the sport either... so some sports just have a natural (apparently) disconnect even from those who grow up with it.

    I agree about the low-scoring... Soccer is much like hockey to me (I don't like hockey either) in that you can go a very long time before something happens, then a score and it is all over in seconds. There may be no more than 1-2 scores in an average game too.

    Even with the NFL... most folks hate seeing a 6-3 defensive/field goal struggle these days... Most folks want to see lots of up and down the field with results from those trips by scoring points.

    To be fair, some of the NFL is also smoke & mirrors... because they get 6 points for a TD and 3 for a field goal... If only 2 points were awarded for a TD and 1 for a field goal (and no extra point or 2-point conversions)... then average games might be more like 6-4 or something similar... and I think that would turn folks off.

    Think about pro tennis, and the strange scoring there... there are 4 pts in an average game (15, 30, 40, win) though sometimes they go to deuce or advantage in "ties"... but really we are talking about 4 points, yet it sounds different being 30 or 40 to "love" (zero) than 3 nothing!

    There is some psychology... and also some truth to whatever is already popular having a leg up.

    Nascar is popular (I don't like it though)... and there is no scoring at all during a race. Points are awarded after the race ends... and points are totalled for all races to the end of the season before you find out who won the season... but there is a lot of fast action during a race... so apparently scoring a lot of points during a game is not necessary for popularity.

    And to be completely fair... In many countries soccer is about the only national sport. A few countries play baseball very seriously... and some are starting to have more basketball as evident from recent Olympic results... Here in the USA we have lots and lots of sports options to divide the attention of fans.

    It is entirely possible that as the rest of the world adopts a variety of sports in their locales... they too many lose interest in soccer in favor of other sports. Unless and until that happens, we really don't know.
     
  9. Mar 2, 2007 #9 of 346
    Sharkie_Fan

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    HDME - you're right as far as playing soccer when we're kids and then we don't. I think perhaps its because at 5, 6, 7, 8 years old, you can play soccer and have alot of fun. Baseball is rough at that age when nobody can catch and you can hardly hit the ball and so on. Anybody can run around and kick the ball, even though at that young age its like a pack of bumblebees chasing the ball, it's fun.

    At some point, they get more coordinated and more athletic, and for whatever reason, we switch our kids over to baseball, football, etc.

    I think the scoring aspect probably has something to do with that. Once kids start getting older, and soccer starts getting more structured, it's not the same amount of action that a 9 or 10 year old wants. They can switch to baseball and football where everything is moving all the time... Check out a little league game sometime - 15-14, 12-9.... the scores are way up there and to a kid, that's "fun"....

    And I think as Cap pointed out, it's a cultural thing. Why it started, who knows, but American kids play soccer when they're little and then switch to other sports as they get older. At some point, we as a society decided soccer wasn't the "in" thing and it gets shoved to the back burner. Throw on top of it the fact that it doesn't play well on TV for advertising, etc.

    Also, I think there's a bit of cyclical dynamics going on here. Because soccer isn't that popular, there aren't that many well known american soccer players. Because there aren't that many well known soccer players, kids don't grow up idolizing them.... IN short, soccer isn't followed real close because it's not widely popular...
     
  10. Mar 2, 2007 #10 of 346
    jpl

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    Figured I should move my comments over to this thread. I do have a theory as to why soccer is not as popular here as it is everywhere else. I've heard all sorts of excuses, like:

    1) It's low-scoring - well, so is baseball
    2) It's hard to follow the rules - come on... that one just makes me laugh - it's one of the simplest sports on the planet
    3) It's like watching paint dry -- all I can say to this one is: to each his own. there have been soccer games that are dry as toast, but then again, I've seen football games that can be described that way as well... and baseball... and so on. But like there are exciting football games, there are also exciting soccer matches.
    4) I've even heard people go off on the "tyranny of the ref" - that one guy has too much power on the field, and it's too subjective
    5) There are already too many sports out there - please... new sports are added all the time! tell me why, then, we have things like the X-games show up all of a sudden... and why sports like NASCAR just take off all of a sudden, from a small following to one of the fastest growing sports in the country.

    All of these are just justifications for why some folks don't like the sport. If they don't - then that's their perogative. As for why it never caught on here like it has elsewhere - I think that's more cultural than anything else. There's a definite American attitude (this is a good thing, btw) that says "we don't follow - we lead - we do things OUR way - the fact that everyone else does it, doesn't mean we will... in fact that just means that we probably won't"). To give an example of what I'm talking about - look at horse racing. Which way do horse-races run? Answer - counter-clockwise. Ever wonder why? Because horse racing came here as a result of the English settlers - it was a big sport in England. During the Revolutionary War times, though, we decided to counter all things English, but we didn't want to give up the races. So we reversed them - the English run clockwise - we run counter-clockwise.

    I really think it's just that simple - it's not an elite thing... it's actually kind of an anti-elite thing. It's not that we didn't invent the sport (there are lots of sports that we adopt that weren't invented here) - and it's not just the popularity everywhere else. It's more that we're almost EXPECTED to adopt it BECAUSE everyone else has. I really think that sticks in the craw of many Americans. Personally, I don't think there's a better sport to watch. On TV it's fantastic - live it's even better. And when I had the chance to go to some of the World Cup matches here in 94... That Italy/Ireland game opening the ceremony at the Meadowlands in NJ was something I'll never forget (especially since there were, surprisingly, only about, oh, I would say 3 of us in the entire stadium - or so it seemed - rooting for Italy - EVERYONE was in green - just made me ill :) - and especially since Italy lost) - even though it was like 140 degrees in the stadium that day.
     
  11. Mar 2, 2007 #11 of 346
    jaywdetroit

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    I was at all the Silverdome games in '94 - it was surreal. There is nothing like it. The Brazalian fans were the most memorable.

    I really think soccer is suppressed by the media. Kids who played don't watch because its not on. Its as simple as that.

    And I am not sure that kids switch in droves over to baseball, football, and basketball. At least they don't in my community. In fact I switched when I was 11 or 12 from those other sports to soccer.
     
  12. Mar 2, 2007 #12 of 346
    Sharkie_Fan

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    I can't speak for any locale other than my own, but I know here we have alot of young kids switching away from soccer. In this area, they switch because there is a really large hispanic population that grows up breathing soccer.... If you're an average player, you're going to have a hard time making a team in this area because there are alot of young hispanic kids who have had a soccerball at their feet.... In our area it boils down to a cultural thing. The hispanic culture, soccer is their big pastime. The "american" kids aren't necessarily in love with soccer, and so if the going gets tough, they switch to a new sport...
     
  13. Mar 2, 2007 #13 of 346
    jaywdetroit

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    That's interesting to learn. We don't have a very large Hispanic culture in Michigan. So there isn't that competition. I'm pretty red blooded, but my 1 year old is already kicking the ball around. Hopefully he'll be able to compete - (assuming he even likes the sport).
     
  14. Mar 2, 2007 #14 of 346
    FTA Michael

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    (shrug) You know, I never said that soccer is bad. I was just responding to the title with my best guesses.

    Some folks love good footwork, some love a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt. There's nothing wrong with any of that. But my guess as to why "Americans dislike soccer" is that there's not enough scoring. I'm not saying that *I* dislike soccer.

    If you want to say that the people who don't watch soccer because there isn't enough scoring are wrong, well, as Yogi Berra once put it, "If the fans don't come out to the ball park, you can't stop them." I hear that Ghost Rider outgrossed the Shakespeare festival too. ;)
     
  15. Mar 2, 2007 #15 of 346
    jaywdetroit

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    An excellent observation. Good call on the Yogi Berra quote too.
     
  16. Mar 2, 2007 #16 of 346
    Lord Vader

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    Why do so many Americans dislike soccer? Simple: IT'S BORING.

    I can think of better things to do than to watch guys run all over the place trying to kick a ball into a net once a game (twice if they're lucky).

    Watching paint dry excites me more than does soccer.
     
  17. Mar 2, 2007 #17 of 346
    Sharkie_Fan

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    That's pretty good that your 1 year old is already kicking the ball. My 3 year old doesn't have the attention span for that! He'll kick the ball, but there's no way he's waiting around for someone to kick it back to him. Playing catch with him consists of him throwing the ball to you, then running up and arriving at almost the same time as the ball, so he can grab it, run back to his previous spot, then throw it again!

    We're doing his birthday party tomorrow and he's having a pinata, so we'll see if he's any better with a baseball bat in his hand than he is with a soccer ball. ;)

    We're a farming community here and have a large permanant hispanic population that is supplemented during growing season by a migrant population that spends half the year here and half the year in Mexico. My parents neighbors have a bunch of fields and grow strawberries for Driscolls. They're up before the sun and get home after the sun has gone to bed during growing season. The rest of the time, they're out in the back yard playing soccer... Their kids are my age and we played baseball together as well growing up, but soccer was their first love and they were damn good at it. We consistently have teams in this area competing on the state and national level and doing very, very well.
     
  18. Mar 2, 2007 #18 of 346
    Steve Mehs

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    Never been into soccer, maybe it’s because we don’t have a MLS team here, we did have the Buffalo Blizzards minor league team which drew fans, but not enough to keep the team alive. I tried watching some games a few years ago during the free preview of MLS Direct Kick and found it boring. It’s not fully the lack scoring for me, it’s the lack of scoring opportunities.

    I’m a long time NFL fan, on again off again NHL fan, new MLB fan, former long time NASCAR fan. I love sports, but basketball and soccer never did anything for me. I’ll catch 5-10 minutes of an NBA game if it’s in high def though.
     
  19. Mar 3, 2007 #19 of 346
    Steve Mehs

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    Because of this thread I gave soccer another chance, I flipped to Fox Soccer Channel during the first intermission of the Sabres game tonight. Even though I had no idea who the teams or players were, or what country it was from, I did get interested and if it wasn’t for the ending of the half I probably would have missed the first few minutes of the second period of the Sabres.

    Question, how is time dealt with in soccer? I noticed the clock progresses, instead of the typical countdown. Also halftime came at 46:15 into the game, kind of odd that it isn’t an even 45 or 50 minutes. If it matters this was the Barkley’s Premier League.

    I’m not exactly saying I’ll be catching every game I can, but it grabbed my attention enough to make me watch again, As far as the MLS, I take it the NY/NJ Stars are now the NY Red Bulls?
     
  20. Mar 4, 2007 #20 of 346
    BJM

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    There may be "injury time" added to the end of each half at the discretion of the referee, to make up for long interruptions during that half due to injury. The official end of the half (or game) is when the referee blows his whistle (twice at the end of the game). The game clock is running time, as you noticed from 0:00 up to 45:00 (or beyond for injury time) in the first half, then 45:00 to 90:00 (or beyond for injury time) in the second half.

    Yes, the NY MLS team is the Red Bulls.
     
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