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Report showcases newfound love of world soccer across U.S.

Americans and sports have always maintained a nuanced relationship when it comes to “the love of the game” in other countries. While U.S. audiences may be fanatical about their football, baseball, basketball and hockey, the most popular sports in the rest of the world such as Soccer and Rugby, are often an afterthought with nary a bar showcasing even the most popular of matches.

For the first time however, 2014 saw a slight turning of the tide, as World Cup viewership among Yanks saw not just a greatly enhanced viewership, but also a newfound enthusiasm. Recording somewhere around a viewership of 23 million, the U.S. victory for the Women’s World cup set new USA soccer watching records at a staggering rate of 77 percent greater viewership than the exact same match in 2011. According to the New York Times it was the most watched Match in US soccer history Was this a fluke or a black swan of televised sporting events?

It doesn’t look that way. A new report released by peer to peer ticketing platform Ticketbis entitled “Goalnomics” as reported by VICE, is pushing the envelope on just how much further Americans are now ready to go in order to watch the rest of the world’s favorite game. The secondary market ticketer tallied significant data points showcasing that Americans are not just willing to watch a good match, but even travel quite far in order to see their favorites. The U.S. alone was in the top three purchasing nationalities for matches to premiere league soccer stadiums. In fact Americans comprised 17.5 percent of all ticket holders, far overshadowing the league’s far closer EU neighbors. While Chelsea and Manchester may not be tourist cities, Americans it would appear, next to the French and Swedes love to hit a good match.

Americans were not just going for the fish and chips or to glimpse Big Ben either. La Liga which maintains stadiums across Spain, saw a striking 8.2% of watchers coming from the U.S., according to the report. The stats alone between the world cup and soccer tourism paint an interesting new picture. Americans want not just to watch major worldwide soccer events, but are even willing to cross the Atlantic and spend a pretty penny to do so.

Much speculation has come in the form of answering the question as to why the past several years has such an increased appetite for a sport that traditionally saw far less American viewers. Why did more U.S. citizens tune in for the 2014 USA Vs Portugal match, than the 2013 world series (25 million Vs 15 million) ? Many theorists believe it is another massive attitude shift affected in part by social media. As more and more Americans become connected to the Facebook and Twitter feeds of their international friends, they have begun to share a greater affinity towards the sport. While it may not answer the question in full, it does beg to ask just how American is baseball and apple pie these days anyhow?

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