Soccer Is Gaining Ground in the US

I was browsing for books on football at the Brookline Booksmith earlier today. One of them caught my eye:

The United States of Soccer: MLS and the Rise of American Soccer Fandom

The book traces how football finally took off in the US. And indeed, the most recent data confirm the main premise of the book.

By the end of 2016, the average attendance at MLS games stood at 21,692. This is 1,000 more than French Ligue 1 as of December 2016.

Meanwhile NBC made a calculated bet by broadcasting live premiership games. Very quickly cautious optimism gave way to outright euphoria. According to Comcast,

Nearly 10 million viewers have tuned in to NBC Sports Group’s Premier League coverage since Aug. 17, leading to a 67 percent daily viewership increase for NBCSN, marking the largest cable sports network growth over that span. Meanwhile, mobile viewership continues its rapid growth; fans have streamed nearly 35 million minutes via NBC Sports Live Extra over that span.

Even considering US trending tweets, today’s game between Manchester City and Arsenal was in consistently in the top 10 trends for the duration of the game. See the hashtags #MCFCvsAFC.


Data from “

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