News

More Americans succumb to World Cup fever

More Americans succumb to World Cup fever

WORLD CUP:USA fans watch the 2014 World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Belgium and the U.S., at a viewing party in Redondo Beach, California July 1. Photo: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The United States may not yet be in love with football, but more Americans became fans as the World Cup in Brazil progressed, according to an ongoing Reuters/Ipsos poll.

Fifty-six percent of Americans said they were following the World Cup as it headed into the semi-finals, compared with 39 percent polled during the first week of the tournament.

Strong performances by the U.S. team, which made it to the second round before being knocked out by Belgium, helped galvanize spectator interest in a sport whose worldwide popularity has generally not extended to the United States.

The World Cup “has been fun to watch,” said Josh Morris, 28, of Gladwin, Michigan.

PHOTOS: Americans are soccer fans too | Soccer’s saddest fans

“Four years ago, I hardly knew the last World Cup existed,” said Morris, who usually follows Major League Baseball and the National Football League on a weekly basis. “I still wouldn’t call it my favorite sport, but my interest is tenfold what it was.”

And while football may not have reached the national-obsession level it has in South America and Europe, the U.S. team’s group game against Portugal was the sport’s most-watched in U.S. history. An estimated 24.7 million tuned in on ESPN and Spanish-language broadcast network Univision.

Americans have also become more clued in about the tournament with each game, the poll shows. About 62 percent had heard or read about the World Cup by this week, compared with only half of respondents three weeks ago.

As for Americans’ predictions of who will win the tournament? Polled on the eve of the semi-finals, double the number of respondents backed Germany over Argentina. The two teams will compete for the trophy on Sunday.

Six percent of Americans polled still said their home team had a chance of winning – even though the United States was no longer in the tournament.

The Reuters/Ipsos online polls were of 1,365 adult Americans June 13-17 and 1,674 July 4-8. The credibility interval, a measure of precision, is plus or minus 3.2 percentage points for the poll in June and plus or minus 2.7 percentage points for the one in July.

(Reporting by Lindsay Dunsmuir and Maurice Tamman; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment, Sports

Ronda Rousey biopic in the works

rrousey

Paramount executives have picked up the rights to the 28-year-old's autobiography.

in Sports

Daily fantasy sports land in gambling industry crosshairs

yahoofantasy

Each year millions of Americans draft virtual sports teams online and enter real-money competitions that last only a few hours.

in Sports

Judge: St. Louis residents don’t need vote on stadium funds

In this Sept. 26, 2013 file photo, fans watch during the third quarter of an NFL football game between the St. Louis Rams and the San Francisco 49ers at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis. Pro football may have a firm foothold as America’s game, but in baseball-mad St. Louis the NFL is decidedly second fiddle. The St. Louis Cardinals can anticipate a red army at Busch Stadium for Game 5 of the World Series. Eight blocks away at the antiseptic Edward Jones Dome, the Monday Night Football matchup between the struggling St. Louis Rams and the Seattle Seahawks will likely feature a backdrop of thousands of empty seats.

The St. Louis Rams play in the Edward Jones Dome, which is outdated by NFL standards. The team is weighing a move to Los Angeles

in Entertainment

Ben Stiller back as dimwitted male model in ‘Zoolander 2′ trailer

13-overlay1

The sequel to the 2001 comedy is still several months away but with one-liners like these, we can't wait.

in Entertainment

Jon Stewart prepares to sign off

15-overlay2

After 15 years, the comedian will bid farewell as he hosts his final "Daily Show."

Bellingham Traffic