June 28, 2006

Soccer Just Not Our Thing

8%

That’s the small percentage of adult Americans who said they were following the World Cup soccer championship being held in Germany very closely even before the U.S. was eliminated from the competition. Only 4% of Americans rate soccer as their favorite sport to watch.

The rest of the planet may be in the grip of World Cup mania, but in the United States, soccer is very much an also-ran in fan popularity. The latest survey from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press finds that just 8% of U.S. adults are following the soccer championship being held in Germany very closely; another 15% say they are watching fairly closely. Men, younger people, and college graduates are more likely than others to pay close attention to the World Cup competition. By comparison, the last three summer Olympics (in 2004, 2000 and 1996) were followed very closely by at least a quarter of Americans. (Read the full report)

This relatively low level of interest is not surprising given that just 4% of adults in this country rate soccer as their favorite sport to watch, compared with 34% who say this about football, 14% about basketball and 13% about baseball, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in February and March. 2006. At 4%, soccer is roughly in the same league with auto racing and just ahead of ice hockey and ice skating. (Read the full report)