In a recent post, our own EclectEcon posed the question, “Does Soccer Have a Chance to Ever Become a Major Sport in North America.” He, himself, suggested that soccer may someday overtake the NHL, a painful admission, I am sure, for our Canadian brother. Alas, that someday is already here. According to Soccer America:
Univision’s prime-time coverage of Mexico’s SuperClásico between Club America of Mexico City and Guadalajara Sunday in Mexico City drew 4.3 million viewers ages 2 and over, making it the largest audience for a club soccer game on American television in the past 13 years. The viewership of the America-Chivas game surpassed the U.S. viewership of every National Hockey League telecast on both NBC and Versus (formerly OLN) during the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 NHL seasons with the exception of Game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup final series between Carolina and Edmonton, which aired on NBC and drew 5.45 million viewers age 2 and over.
Other large national team matches such as U.S.-Mexico games, World Cup qualifiers, and World Cup matches routinely propel Spanish-language broadcasters to the top of the Nielsen ratings in selected markets such as Los Angeles.
This doesn’t look like a case of “when will soccer arrive” but “why haven’t any English speakers noticed it’s already here?”