Who said the world’s King Sport isn’t catching on in the U.S? Of course anyone can argue that the popularity of soccer in the country can’t compare to that of the big four: football, basketball, baseball and hockey. The NFL is by far the league with the greatest fanbase in the nation followed by the NBA, college football and MLB. The MLS still have a long way to go if they wish to compete with the big four, but if we look at ticket sales figures for the biggest soccer championships abroad we find that American interest in the sport is far greater than expected.
International ticket reseller Ticketbis claims that they have witnessed a steady increase in the number of ticket purchases coming from the U.S in recent years for Premier League and FA Cup games in the United Kingdom. In the 2012/13 season, Ticketbis registered 0.2% of FA Cup international sales coming from their U.S domain while in the 2013/14 season that number grew to 2.6%. Surprisingly, this season that number is currently at 16%. We can blame part of this sudden rise in U.S purchases on the 2014 World Cup which fixed a lot of national attention towards the sport.
Even more surprising, fans coming from the U.S. are responsible for the highest percentage of international purchases of tickets for this year’s FA Cup Final between Arsenal and Aston Villa at 6% of overall sales. This is significantly higher than those coming from any other country, including all of those in Europe. Norway accounts for the second highest number of international sales for the final at only 2.3% of total sales.
The rise in U.S ticket purchases for UK soccer events is prevalent among all the top clubs in the Premier League with the country listed either as top 1 or 2 in international ticket sales. So far for the 2014/15 season, Ticketbis have registered 6.6% of all Chelsea ticket sales coming from the U.S along with 5.8% of Arsenal tickets, and 5.3% of Manchester United tickets.
The figures above can serve as a good indication of America’s growing interest in international soccer. And as more and more world-class players such as Beckham, Lampard, and Gerrard decide to cross the Atlantic to come and play for U.S fans, we shouldn’t expect this interest to die down anytime soon.