Ladies and Gentlemen, the invasion may have begun. This summer, soccer has received more media attention and ESPN coverage than ever in the United States. Between the US’s World Cup Qualifying, the Confederations Cup, and the Gold Cup, the USMNT has been on tva lot. Now add in all of those friendlies between various American clubs and the superpowers over in Europe. Real Madrid, AC Milan, Barcelona, Chelsea, and Inter Milan all drew HUGE crowds in stadiums across the country and ESPN televised every game. And at least once a week, if not more, ESPN showed an MLS game. Soccer was more prominent in the United States than ever before during this Summer.
Now, the step is even bigged. ESPN is showing the Premier League and La Liga matches every weekend. That is a MASSIVE step. A lot of the reasons why American don’t follow soccer is that it’s tough to watch the games and to follow the sport. Well now, every weekend morning you can wake up to the best teams in the world playing live, meaningful games on a common station. For soccer fans living in the US, this is extraordinarily exciting. For me, I get to watch my favorite team, Real Madrid, every Sunday morning. Of course, I watched them before on other networks, but watching on ESPN adds so much more.
First off, it’s in english. Watching on GOLTV was such a pain, because I couldn’t understand anything that was going. I could barely understand the stats, because they were in spanish too. Now, everything will be so much easier.
Second, high definition is a possibility. Now, I have no idea if this will be the case, but there is the chance that these games will be in HD. Ever watch soccer in HD? It’s amazing. It’s amazing what making everything sharper does for a sport. It enhances it, makes you feel like you are a part of the action.
Third, real analysis. I’ve tried to watch some analysis by soccer guys on FSC, but it’s hard to really understand what they are saying. Not in terms of the language, but in terms of the jargon (ie, it’s “football” in Europe, not “soccer”). With American analysts, everything will be in American english and I will be able to understand what everyone is saying.
For a casual soccer fan, they get to watch soccer so much more often. For non-soccer fans, they can give the sport a shot and will realize why it is called “The Beautiful Game.” It’s hard to overstate what a huge step this is for soccer in the United States. Come the World Cup next season, I expect huge support for the US team, as well as high expectations. The US is no longer a pushover country on the field and are finally embracing the sport off of it as well.