World Cup fever sweeps USA

Jun 26, 2014

Credit jasonwhat / Flickr

Bigger than baseball?

With ratings for Sunday's U.S.A-Portugal game tipping in at just more than 24 million television viewers, it's probably safe to say World Cup fever has swept the nation.  ESPN reports more than 18 million tuned in to its main, English-language broadcast -- an audience bigger than single games of both the World Series and the NBA finals.

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According to an article by The New York Times, the United States audiences for the World Cup has grown by 50 percent since the South African World Cup in 2010.

Missouri School of Journalism Professor Jim Flink said more people are watching due to the sport's increasing popularity in the United States.

There is little doubt to me that soccer is rising for no other reason that for every kid it is their first sport, because every kid can chase after a ball. So it is the first sport and for many, like my two sons, it becomes their sport.

But the question remains whether the soccer fever will last.

Flink said there is a sense of patriotism that could be drawing more sports fans to cheer on Team U.S.A.

Professor Mike McKean said he's waiting to see what happens after America's match with Germany on Thursday at 11 a.m. Central time.

If the US moves on, then there will probably be some increased viewership. If they don't move on to the round of 16, then you'll probably see those numbers decline quite a bit.