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Friday, January 12, 2007

Beckham not the answer for sport's growth

Soccer has never taken off in popularity in the U.S., like the rest of the world.

David Beckham's signing with the Los Angeles Galaxy won't change that.

The strategy was tried once before. Pele and Franz Beckenbauer joined the New York Cosmos in the mid-70s, hoping to spark ticket sales and excitement in the sport. The media foretold of the sport's rising popularity and how kids would soon abandon playing baseball for soccer.

Thirty years later, we're still waiting for soccer to capture the passion.

Pele and Beckenbauer were two of the top names in the sport, albeit past their prime, but they sparked an immediate interest in soccer. Giants Stadium was sold out for games. They lived like rock stars in Manhattan.

But, 30 years later, what's changed? The sport is extremely popular among kids, but the MLS struggles to appeal to the average sports fan. The MLS' biggest fan base is the Hispanic market, especially in Los Angeles.

Beckham might have a few years left in his game, but he was benched by the England national team and was on the outs with his professional team, Real Madrid. It will be exciting to see a player of his caliber playing in the U.S., I must admit. I would like to see him action on ESPN.

But, his involvement isn't going to finally push soccer among the big-3 sports.

The sport will never garner the popularity that it does in Europe and South America. Just ask a hockey fan. Hockey will never see the kind of support that it does in Canada and the northern U.S. It's a niche sport. Soccer fans, embrace your uniqueness.


Blogger Pedro Pizarro said...

David who?

8:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for proving my point Pedro!

Beckham's mystique is losing its glow in England, so what does he expect to do in America?

When I was visiting there for vacation last summer, Beckham's name popped up occasionally, but everyone was talking about Wayne Rooney, his teammate on the England national team.

1:47 PM  

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