NC State Ag Economist Dr. Mike Walden – “What’s Behind the Soccer Surge?”

Mary: This is Mary Walden with economist MW welcoming you to the economic perspective. Today’s program asks, what’s behind the soccer surge?  Mike, you and I grew up in the 1950s and 60s.  Baseball dominated the sports world in the 50s, and then football came on strong in the 60s.   But recently soccer seems to be sport that has really grown in popularity.   What are the reasons?

Mike:  Summary Answer

  1. The growth in the popularity of soccer has really caught me by surprise
  2. Stadiums are sold out and the highest professional league is now expanding
  3. Big difference from when professional soccer was tried in the 60s and 70s
  4. Demographics are a big reason – growth of residents with foreign ties – particularly Hispanic – where soccer is popular
  5. Globalization and technology are also factors – can watch European soccer matches live, and the US has more global ties
  6. And the Millennial generation – which is increasing its influence in the economy – has a much more global outlook
  7. Last, soccer is easier to play in many ways than other sports – especially in schools – and also it is easily adaptable to both males and females
  8. So, we may soon be talking about soccer in the same sentence with baseball and football
  9. I’m MW

Mary:  And I’m Mary Walden for the N C State Extension