One of my assignments for my British Cultures class is to write a weekly journal about something I’ve done or noticed that I thought was interesting. I wrote about football and American football. I hope you guys enjoy my analysis.
During my half semester break, I had the good fortune of being able to go to my very first soccer, or more commonly known as football, game while in London. I went to go watch the England v. Montenegro game and it was absolutely brilliant. Even though I am not a sports fan by any stretch of imagination, I found the game to be thrilling to watch. The energy in the stadium during the game was great. Almost everyone in the stadium was rooting for England, except for a small corner that cheered for Montenegro. Groups around the stadium would randomly start to cheer for England, even when nothing interesting was happening. They would sing and cheer, while trying to entice others into joining. Which mainly worked too, whenever one part of the stadium started, other parts would soon follow. I’d never experienced a sporting event with so much national pride though it was mainly for England. In the states, the only sport that even comes close to that is American football, but even that is not national.
In the states, we are so regionalized that our sports reflect it. Every state has their own team and it becomes very competitive. For instance, the rivalry between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots is legendary. We have other regional separations as well, such as between East coast and West coast or North and South. Besides the Olympics, the United States has never been truly united in rooting for any of our sports teams.
This is interesting because when Great Britain was the world power, they were able to export their sports to other countries. An excellent example of this is the FIFA World Cup. The World Cup is the most watched sporting event in the world. According to FIFA officials during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa over 3.2 billion people tuned in on their televisions at home to watch the competition. That is 46.6% of the global population. The United States on the other hand, were not as successful in exporting their own sports.
American’s favorite sport, football, does not receive quite the same coverage as the World Cup. According to International Business Times, only about 111.3 million people watched the 2013 Super Bowl finals. However, the game itself, which was between the Patriots and Giants, was not even the most popular part of the Super Bowl. Viewership reached its peak of 114 million during the halftime show. In comparison, in the final match between Spain and the Netherlands in the World Cup, 619.7 million people spent at least twenty minutes watching the game. The World Cup received almost six times more viewers than the Super Bowl did. This shows that not only is the World Cup more popular in general, but also more globally popular.
I think that one of the main reasons the United States was never able to successfully export their sports was because while they were the world power, they never had huge amounts of influence in a lot of countries unlike Great Britain with her colonies. Great Britain was able to exert huge amounts of influence on underdeveloped places such as Africa and Brazil at the time she was the world power. As for places such as France and the rest of Europe, they are closer and their histories more closely entwined. This was not the case with the U.S. By the time the U.S. became the world power and started to try and exert their influence through sport, soccer was already well established and much loved. Another reason is probably because of a feeling of rebelliousness from the other countries. Compared to the U.S. countries such as France and Germany had been around much longer, but the U.S. was the most powerful nation at the time. There were probably feelings of resentfulness.
I doubt that American sports will ever be popular anywhere, but in America. I believe that the global sport will most likely always be soccer. Soccer is even gaining more popularity among Americans, though American football will probably always be the more popular.
This is only what I think. Tell me what you guys think. =)