June 27th, 2010

world cup

The Future of Soccer in the U.S.

I've been hearing for 40 years that when the kids who fill soccer fields on Saturdays grow up, this will change.  But I don't expect that to happen in my lifetime.  Soccer is an acquired taste for Americans. 

The best basketball, football and hockey players in the world gravitate to the pro game in the United States. The best soccer players do not.  More viewers in the United States have seen a college volleyball game than they have a college soccer game.  SMU is the ONLY Division I college in Texas that even has a soccer team.

This spike of interest in World Cup soccer
comes around every four years.  But interest in the World Cup does not matter to the growth of  Soccer in the U.S.  Cheering for the U.S. team is always going to be popular during the World Cup.  

For the record, I have "acquired the taste" for soccer, which is the real "foot" ball.  The more I watch
the game, the more I like it.  The rest of the world "gets" it.  For once, I am with them.  

FOX SPORTS is now broadcasting the FOX SOCCCER CHANNEL (FSC) and FOX SOCCER PLUS in HD.  Dish Network is carrying FSC in HD.   Directv, which is the undisputed leader in HD sports programing is not broadcasting the FOX soccer channels in HD, yet.  

The growth of professional soccer fans in the United States, depends on viewers being able to follow American players playing in the top leagues, including the English Premiere League aka Barclays Premiere League, UEFA and other top European leagues.   

Once Directv and the major cable channels start making world football available in HD, Americans may start to show interest in the great game more than once every four years. 

I am switching to Directv on Tuesday.  My only disappointment is their lack of HD soccer coverage.  Here is their response to my concern:

I completely understand your inquiry about Fox Soccer Channel (FSC) and Fox Soccer Plus in HD. We don't have any news about FSC & Fox Soccer Plus in HD today but you can expect more information about new HD channels when our newest satellite is fully operational this year.

While we are unable to comment on upcoming programming decisions, we are always reviewing our programming options to make sure we bring you the best possible TV experience.