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World Cup Draws Record Turnout from American TV Viewers

World Cup 2014 Though it is by far and away the world’s most popular sport, soccer has not caught on in America in the same way it has in Europe, Latin America, and much of Asia. Evidence of the sport’s lower importance in the United States can be seen in what Americans choose to call it—its more common English name, football, is already claimed by another sport in the US! Many have claimed that soccer is steadily catching up to football, basketball, and baseball in popularity in the United States, and they need look no further than the 2014 FIFA World Cup Final’s TV ratings for evidence. Germany’s victory over Argentina drew over 26 million viewers, setting an American record viewership for any soccer match.

It is a long-awaited development, as the American market has been impervious to the soccer mania which overtakes much of the world, especially during World Cup season. The American ratings were helped by the tournament being held in Brazil in 2014, a country with time zones close to the U.S.’s own. In the past, the USA team’s games often notched higher ratings than World Cup final games, but this time, the trend was bucked.

The television market also, in a typical trend, saw growth during soccer’s great showcase. Netflix reached more than 50 million subscribers worldwide during the second quarter of 2014, with many of its strides coming in soccer-crazed Latin America. The region saw a surge in demand for Web-linked TVs, and Netflix swooped in to take their share of the market. The boost in demand for Netflix in Latin America bodes well for the streaming video provider’s next planned wave of expansion, into Germany, France, and four other European countries, starting in September.

LCD TVs also saw a bump in sales from the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Television sales particularly rose in Europe and South America, both soccer hotbeds. The Mexican government even ran a subsidy program for its citizens to buy new LCD TVs shortly before the World Cup!

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