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The Growth of Soccer Interest in the US

Before this summer, I had only watched a handful of soccer games.  Never had I watched from start to finish.  But after the 2014 FIFA World Cup, I had watched a part of nearly every game, and watched the entirety of several.  I was a part of a new wave of soccer interest in the United States.  Over 24 million people watched the US play Portugal and Belgium last summer.  This was more than the average views for the NBA, NFL, and MLB championship series.  What was the reason for this new storm of interest?

It seems to be an example of adoption throughout social networks.  I have always known people who were interested in soccer, but I never bothered making the transition to becoming a fan myself.  However as my personal social network expanded, and I knew more soccer fans, my interest grew.  Many people I have met in college have come from completely different cultural backgrounds, some from other parts of the world.  These connections I have made have grown my interest in many various things.  It is almost as if I had a network threshold of some q, and once enough of my neighbors had interest in the sport, then an adoption cascade would occur.  It may be slightly more complex than the examples we went over in class however.  Some of my network connections are stronger, and my strongest connection is what my tipping point was.  My best friend had switched schools the previous year, and his new school had a huge soccer culture.  This naturally spread to him, and in turn it spread to me.

I believe this can help explain the new soccer movement in America.  Everyone’s social network becomes larger as technology connects the world and people make new personal contacts through work or school.  The movement continued through the network that is America, and soon over 24 million people were a part of this movement.  These were the events that transpired which eventually ignited  the information cascade to people such as my parents.  They had never watched more than ten minutes of soccer in their lives, but found themselves at the edge of their seats, nervously watching the final minutes of the USA v Portugal game.



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