The World Cup Shows Americans What is Wrong with Football, Basketball and Baseball
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The World Cup Shows Americans What is Wrong with Football, Basketball and Baseball

I played soccer growing up in the 1980s and my daughter plays growing up these days.  It is still a great sport for children, but it really has never taken off as a spectator sport.   Americans just don’t gravitate towards soccer.    It is probably largely due to poor marketing, incompetence of the US Soccer Federation, and corruption of the US Soccer Federation.   Many Americans especially cite the theatrics (fake injuries, etc.) involved in the game as a real turn off.   There is also some very real ugliness on the pitch (Luis Suarez single handedly caused most Americans to tune out after biting an Italian in 2014).

In 2026, we will be hosting the World Cup together with Canada and Mexico.  The day after the 2026 World Cup ends, we will be right back in the same place where we were the day after the 1994 World Cup ended (and the day after we hosted the Copa America in 2016).

Even, as Americans, if we don’t get excited about soccer, it shows up what is wrong with our sports.  In soccer, the game starts at full intensity and, aside from 15 minutes for halftime, the game goes on uninterruptedly. 

Football, basketball and baseball lack the constant activity, and by contrast are fundamentally broken.  Football is a sport where the game isn’t even being played for most of the time that the clock is running.  Basketball, as well, is one where the final 2 minutes of the game can take an hour.  And, baseball isn’t even a sport; I view it as an excruciatingly long advertisement.  The reality is that our sports in the US are tremendously contrived to suit commercial interests with the last 2 minutes taking hours in order to hold your suspense while you are bombarded you with a pitch for Wendy’s.

So watch a couple of these World Cup soccer games, realizing how different they are from our games, and you won’t be able easily to go back to watching most sports in America.  Maybe then, after understanding how fans are being played with, soccer will become more appreciated in America.

Ari Socolow
Ari Socolow: Ari Socolow is the Chief Economist and Editor-in-Chief at BestCashCow. He is particularly interested in issues relating to financial literacy and bank transparency. Since co-founding this website in 2005, Ari has been frequently cited in the media as an expert on local and national savings accounts, CD products, mortgage and loan products and credit card rewards products.
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