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  • The 2014 World Cup made soccer mainstream
    The 2014 World Cup made soccer mainstream Frontier
    Frontier on Wednesday, July 16, 2014
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    Sports [371]
    By now we've all agreed that this was the Best World Cup Ever (tm). The highs were so high and the lows were so low. It was captivating and amazing. It was horrifying and disgusting. We could not turn away.

    But we've gone over all of this. In. Great. Detail.

    What sports editors, talk-show hosts and American opinion makers everywhere want to know is this: Do I get to stop caring about soccer now?

    We can point to any number of qualitative and quantitative measures as proof that something awoke during this past month. There were tens of thousands gathering to watch games on TVs in bars, in stadiums and in public parks. The television ratings blew away anything we'd previously seen. The United States' first match of the 2014 World Cup was the most watched men's soccer game in American history. The match against Portugal then beat that record, drawing a combined audience of 24.7 million people when the English- and Spanish-language broadcasts were combined. Huge audiences also watched the USA play Germany and get knocked out by Belgium.
    Plenty of people were inclined to write that off, though, as just another example of Americans supporting their country in a manner similar to our quadrennial interest in figure skating or swimming. Just wait until the USA is eliminated: no one will care, you just watch.

    Except, it didn't happen like that. The entire tournament, all 64 games, turned out to be a pretty significant draw. ESPN/ABC reported a total audience of 115 million, while Univision Deportes reported 81 million viewers. The average broadcast had a combined audience of somewhere in the neighborhood of 8 million people.
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