Sports, Culture, Media Index
By Richard Bruce BA, MA, and PhC in Economics

It's good the USA and many other World Powers are Not Football Powers

The United States is not World Cup crazy. I saw a John Oliver video from his HBO show where he was mostly explaining how corrupt the FIFA is, but also how much in love he and much of the rest of the world is with football and the World Cup. It was as if to some degree he was trying to sell us on the beautiful game. Many others have tried to convince America to join this love affair with football. That got me thinking that one part of the appeal of football or soccer is that the United States is only marginally involved. If we dominated football like we do basketball I suspect that the interest of other nations might well decrease.

This leads me to reflect that football is not the game of first rank countries. If we look at the ten most populous countries and top ten countries in the FIFA World Rankings, Brazil, the 5th most populous nation and third on the football ranking, is the only country that is on both top ten lists. This is surprising.

None of the top three economies, USA, China, and Japan made it to the top ten in football.

The Soviet Union and the United States dominated the Olympics during much of the Cold War, but thankfully not football.

Football has provided a great opportunity for the second rank, and occasionally even lower rank, nations to shine. This maybe one of the secrets to its popularity.

Of course, football is also a great sport. I am just saying that the World Cup might need a bunch of obnoxious Americans yelling, U-S-A, U-S-A about as much as they need a return of the vuvuzela.

Created June 17, 2014

Sports, Culture, Media Index