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Soccer Ascendant in U.S. with World Cup on Horizon

  • FIFA President Gianni Infantino said that soccer would be the top sport in the U.S. by 2026.
  • There are signs the game is gaining popularity.
Front Office Sports Today

Could Promotion-Relegation work in College Football?

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September 21, 2023 | Podcast
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The U.S.-hosted 1994 World Cup helped lay the groundwork for Major League Soccer to launch two years later. The 2026 World Cup could take the sport and league to even greater heights.

“By 2026, soccer or football will be the No. 1 sport in this part of the world,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said at FIFA’s event announcing the 2026 North American host cities.

While that’s a heavy lift, there are signs that “the beautiful game” is on the rise in the U.S.

  • Apple is paying MLS $2.5 billion for 10 years of exclusive streaming rights.
  • A November survey of U.S. sports fans by Ampere Analysis found that 49% like soccer behind only football (70%), basketball (61%), and baseball (57%).

Ted Segal, who bought the Houston Dynamo and Dash for an estimated $400 million, told Front Office Sports last year that the World Cup will bring a “step change in enthusiasm [for U.S. soccer] that accrues to the benefit of MLS and NWSL.”

Segal contributed to Houston’s successful bid to be a host city.

American Dollars Hop the Pond

Once Los Angeles Dodgers, Lakers, and Sparks co-owner Todd Boehly completes his acquisition of Chelsea FC, American backers will have significant stakes in over half the Premier League’s 20 clubs. 

And it’s not just billionaires who are bullish on the league. Comcast secured U.S. broadcasting rights to the Premier League for $2.7 billion over six years, more than double the previous $1.1 billion deal.

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