“It doesn’t matter how you try to sell it to us, it doesn’t matter how many celebrities you get, it doesn’t matter how many bars open early, it doesn’t matter how many beer commercials they run, we don’t want the World Cup, we don’t like the World Cup, we don’t like soccer, we want nothing to do with it.” Glenn Beck
Some of the most ardent of soccer supporters are of the thinking that the US media is against soccer. This is no more different to the right of politics saying the New York Times is left wing propaganda or the left attacking Fox News for spreading conservative gospel.
So let’s debunk some quick myths before we continue – soccer not getting the media attention it deserves is not that the country is scared of soccer, is not because it will take away the fan base of traditional American sports or that it will lose advertising revenue because soccer is continuous play, without constant breaks for commercials.
Ok – now we have that out of our system…
Let’s get this straight – there is nothing more the networks want than for soccer to be successful in the US. They see the popularity of the game worldwide and the enormous revenue possibility it could generate in a nation that has an insatiable thirst for sport.
But the media (and soccer fans for that matter) need to be patient. The growth of the game will continue its steady ascent up the sporting ladder, but for it to realize its full potential it will take a significant cultural shift over the next few decades.
But in the meantime we have a number of soccer ambassadors to start this shift. The fans.
If we can’t beat them, join them, should be the catch cry – and the good news is that we have a number of tools at our disposal that we didn’t have 5 years ago. Social media, blogging et al are avenues we should be promoting in our bid to have soccer heard nationwide. Sadly we can’t rely anymore on the papers to bump up a soccer related story from page 38 to page 14 in the sports section.
Create your own media, promote it on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to drive more traffic towards your content. The beauty of this is that you will be contributing to growing the game by providing more diversified and personalized content of which has already been proven to work.
In July alone, the MLSsoccer.com staff posted close to 700 original stories, a 33 percent increase from July 2010. And in response to the content, the website recorded just over 3 million unique visitors. The flagship website, MLSsoccer.com, also increased its video production by 33% in July, and reached 1 million videos viewed, which doubled numbers from 2010 (source: Forbes.com)
Just take a look at the current statistics for the game here. Get a retweet from one of these clubs for example and then you have your content spreading to tens of thousands of people!
Twitter (followers): Portland 20k, Columbus 17k, NY Red Bulls 30k, NY Cosmos 10,500.
Facebook (likes): LA Galaxy 281,500, FC Dallas 38k, Seattle 22k, San Diego Flash 3,500.
The potential is there – we just need to be vigilant in our quest to #growthegame. Take inspiration from the women’s World Cup Final for example, which saw a new record for ‘tweets’ per second and eclipsing the Royal wedding and death of Osama bin Laden.
The exciting climax between Japan and the US drew 7,196 tweets per second, according to Twitter. The previous record of 6,939 was set just after midnight in Japan on New Year’s Day. Other spikes include Bin Laden’s death (5,106 per second) and the Super Bowl in February (4,064).
We here at Soccer Support encourage all fans to write about the game they love. Report on your recent indoor team, comment on the Beckham to PSG to LA again story, and give ideas and personal insight into how you believe the game can grow in this country. Tweet to your friends and family, broadcast it far and wide and help us, help soccer, to reach its potential.
Soccer Speak USA as you may or may not know is the pre-launch blog of Soccer Support.
This blog was created to start the conversation about the game today and where we, the fans, would like to see it go forward. If you would like to contribute an article to Soccer Speak please email it to us in a word document to firstname.lastname@example.org and happy writing!