This past Wednesday, a pair of friends and I were offered free tickets to attend the New England Revolution versus Columbus Crew Major League Soccer match at Gillette Stadium. As a Boston sports fanatic, I consider myself very lucky for having attended numerous professional sporting events. Up until Wednesday, I had never attended a professional soccer game before, so I was not too sure what to expect. I was surprisingly pleased, yet oddly disappointed with the experience.
For starters, the only type of soccer I am entirely familiar with is the EPL, or English Premiere League. The EPL has some of the best players and teams in the world. Typically, with the best teams come the best fan bases. England is home to some of the most rabid fans on the planet for any sport. The fans simply live and breathe for their teams. America is quite different when it comes to how they support their teams. In the case of the MLS, it seemed as if their fans were nearly extinct. Gillette Stadium’s 68,756 seats were filled with only an estimated 2,500 patrons. The cotton candy hawker asked my friends and I if we wanted to buy a snack 10 times. Nothing was being sold, so no revenue was being produced, and the game was eerily quiet for a professional sports event, which bothered me a tad.
However, I still found the game itself entirely enjoyable. The play was fast paced, the talent was decent, and the goals were certainly more exciting than any homerun or touchdown because of their rarity. By the time the game had subsided, I was completely satisfied with the action I had witnessed. My satisfaction led me to a question I still have yet to answer. Why haven’t Americans figured it out yet?
Americans have yet to solve the game of futbol (soccer). We have yet to benefit from it, unlike nearly every other sport. America, the greatest country in the world, receives billions of dollars in athletics revenue every year from nearly every major sport. The NFL produces more money than any sport in the world. The NBA is on the rise. The MLB provides us America’s favorite pastime. We even stole hockey from the Canadians and created the NHL; but we just cannot conquer soccer.
Any ideas on why that is? Leave a comment.