World Cup 2014

Report: Poll suggests majority of Americans won't watch World Cup

World Cup trophy


If you are an American soccer fan reading this then there is a very good chance you are gearing up to enjoy the upcoming FIFA World Cup. A recent poll suggests you will be in the minority when you do watch it.

Two in three Americans don’t plan to follow the World Cup this summer, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll released Monday. Only seven percent of Americans said they plan to follow the tournament closely.

The poll found 86 percent of Americans said they either know nothing or only a little bit about the world’s most prestigious soccer tournament. More than two-thirds of respondents didn’t know the World Cup was being played in Brazil.

ESPN and parent company ABC are probably hoping the World Cup attracts some additional casual viewership — they paid $100 million for the English-language broadcast rights for all FIFA events from 2007 to 2014. Univision paid $325 million for the Spanish-language rights.

Hispanic Americans showed the strongest interest demographically, with one-third saying they will be following the tournament or some teams in the tournament closely, double the percentage overall for that question.

By comparison, 46 percent of American households watched the Super Bowl this past winter.

Just last month, an ESPN poll found soccer has caught up with baseball in popularity among America’s youth, signaling an impending shift in the landscape of popular sports.

Ratings for USMNT and Mexican National Team matches have grown consistently in recent years, and the upcoming World Cup is expected to shatter all previous ratings records for the tournament.


What do you think of the findings in this poll? Do you think more Americans will get into the World Cup once it starts? Not buying the findings of this poll?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Hoss

    Didn’t the US lead the world in World Cup ticket sales by a margin not even close? Perhaps all the Americans will be watching live in Brazil!


    • Gary Page

      Yep, and it still hasn’t been matched, but statistics for Brazil aren’t in yet, I don’t think. Still, considering that the US mark was set in 1994, even before MLS, it’s a pretty amazing mark.


    • Gary Page

      Al;so, I think more Americans bought tickets to WC in South Africa than any other foreign nation.


  • Mike

    I could be wrong, but don’t pollsters call land lines? This is what happens when we ask our grandparents about sports. They can’t even remember their own names.


  • Darwin

    Well, we all knew this because we are people and we have friends and co-workers. We talk soccer and are mocked for our passion. Nothing new.

    At least ABC and ESPN know where they stand, and they need to spend some money advertising to Americans. I would like to see this poll again the week before the World Cup to see if they did their homework.


  • TGA

    Re run poll with 10 to 30 year olds only. This is all generational. The old farts who watch baseball….”I just don’t understand soccer” but they will be glad to explain to u the infield fly rule.

    As recently as the 78 World Cup, the only viewing option in USA was pay per view in an old armory projected on a bed sheet.



  • CamRahn Bay

    I’ll have 2 screens going (if there are multiple games on… not sure I haven’t looked at the schedule that closely yet) so I am doing my part.

    It’s an interesting article and I appreciated it, but who cares if no one likes soccer in the USA? Most people’s sports opinions are frustrating anyways. I can’t imagine having a conversation at the water cooler at work over Klinsmann’s 4-2-3-1 formation without being infuriated…


    • Justin El Matador

      +1. I can’t stand talking to the layman about football. It’s tremendously frustrating, especially when they try to speak the language or give insight into anything tactical.. Reminds me of some former American Football playing know-it-all on “the Crowd Goes Wild” (I was only watching because it was directly after champs League)… He was talking about the Chelsea-PSG tie, completely misunderstanding the away goals rule, using non-footie terminology, and giving his tactical expertise about how PSG would play a 5-4-1 at Stamford Bridge. The funny part was when the English dame who was one of the hosts was cringing in the corner after everything he said. Later she said, “let’s here what the experts have to say” and brought on Rob Stone to give his insight.


      • Gary Page

        I have a neighbor who is Dutch, but he doesn’t follow the game much at all. I used to try and talk to him about the EPL and national teams, but gave it up. What lost potential!!


      • Justin El Matador

        Reminds me of my Dutch friend. Well, he’s half Dutch, half Greek. The only part he likes about football is the drinking!

        It’s interesting, the socio-economics of this game around the world. I find that a lot of Europeans and South Americans from a “higher Economic Class” do not follow the game much. It’s predominantly a poor to middle class sport around the world. Probably because the majority of us are in this category. It’s like Jurgen Klinsmann says, the game in the US needs to be embraced in the streets and at the lower income levels. Can you imagine how good we would be if the majority of kids grew up playing the game in the streets? It will happen soon… USA to win WC 2018 in Russia!!!


      • The Garrincha

        Nice! El Matador, + 10 looking for Pele!.
        Got to be here in the streets somewhere?


      • Justin El Matador

        We’ll find him somewhere playing in dirt with no boots ;-)


  • Kosh

    Meh, perhaps that’s why it’s called a World Cup. It’s more than just about us, Americans – this is truly one of the world events and I am sure it will have it’s audience and that audience will be as strong as ever.

    Having ratings here is nice and a plus for our sport but we’re coming along and in time soccer will be just as big here as the other sports. We are a stat loving lot and want things now but I am most certain that the WC will be just fine. The viewership may be lacking but them ad bucks ain’t and Creepy Seth don’t give a…


  • Bobert

    not a reliable poll.

    The use of the word “closely” is troublesome for the poll. How do we define closely? The best poll is actualy TV ratings. And the World Cup gets monster TV ratings in this country. Better than the World Series.


  • AtlĂ©ticoUnionCity

    Hahaha…the poll is stupid and the reuters article written by an ignoramus is even more insipid. The soccer-hating mainstream media will be coming out in force with anti-futbol propaganda as we get nearer to the world cup. They are dinosaurs awaiting extinction.


  • Other Jim

    Let’s start talking about “playing” and not only about “watching”. I’d like to see some facts and discussions about which sport Americans of all ages enjoy playing on a regular basis. I think soccer is pretty popular, when considered from this standpoint.


  • sregis

    what’s the point, really, of this headline? how is this informative or useful? apples-oranges comparisons are given w/ other random sports. what % of americans said they “planned” to watch the wc at this time 4 years ago? total glass half full meaninglessness.


  • Pingback: A Guide to the World Cup, Part Two | SuperTalk Mississippi

  • Maizupath

    What is this? How can most of the Americans don’t know about the fifa world cup or know a little bit about world cup Brazil? May be it’s a weird poll or May be it’s a weird insight.


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