It's time for American media to give soccer more exposure.
As I was scrolling through my twitter feed I saw a link from World Soccer Talk about ESPN’s SportsCenter only covering soccer 1.3% of the time. (http://worldsoccertalk.com/2013/07/28/espns-sportscenter-covers-soccer-1-3-of-the-time-daily-soccer-report/) That statistic was something that really got me thinking.
For one, soccer (or football) obviously doesn’t get enough exposure here in the United States. Right now our National Team is on an 11 game unbeaten streak, just won the Gold Cup, and is a win away from qualifying for the World Cup. Yet, sports outlets such as ESPN want to focus more on NFL training camps or which baseball player is using steroids now.
The only two things that had gotten less coverage in the study were tennis and the Olympics. This just shows how little it is perceived that Americans care about the beautiful game. There is something to be said that ESPNFC will get their own show starting August 11. But it still holds true that mainstream media doesn’t believe that soccer is becoming a major sport in the states.
So what can we, as fans of soccer in the states, do? For one, we can show our support for our main league, Major League Soccer. In a time like now, the summer, when there aren’t many sporting leagues happening it should be prime for the MLS to get great ratings. We can also push to get soccer covered more on mainstream sports channels. Write them, tell them you want to see more soccer highlights than there is right now.
The problem isn’t that Americans don’t care about soccer, it’s that media doesn’t recognize we care about it. Will the lack of coverage change in the near future? No, probably not, but the start of the dedicated soccer show on ESPN in August (as I said before) is a huge plus. As for now we are forced to watch channels such as beIN Sport or GolTV for our soccer fix.
So here’s to hoping the lack of coverage slowly starts to change for the better leading up to and past the World Cup. Even if that percentile went up by 5-6% in the next year it would be a victory for the soccer fans of the United States.