Thursday, July 23, 2009

How to Make Soccer Popular in the States

Soccer is a great sport. I like watching it, my favorite teams are the Columbus Crew, Arbroath Red Litchies, Glasgow Rangers, and a few EPL teams thrown in just for good measure. I want to see soccer succeed and grow in the States. If there is one thing that will make soccer popular in the States, it will be legalized gambling. What? A minister in favor of gambling? Well, not exactly. I don't advocate gambling, in fact, I don't like to gamble, with the exception of the occasional lottery ticket for the kids at Christmas in the stocking. I really believe that gambling for the sake of gambling is a sin (because you are being a terrible manager of the money the Good Lord gave to you). But for the sake of discussion, if those in the leadership positions of US Soccer want to really make it popular, push for the ability to bet on soccer games in the States.

Just look at what happens in the United Kingdom. Betting parlors are on every street corner, beckoning the punter to lose his wages. Go to a soccer match, and you will find gambling kiosks INSIDE the stadiums. The lines to bet are sometimes longer than the beverages lines! I know and understand that soccer is in the DNA of those fans who live in the UK, but I also know that betting on soccer is EXTREMELY POPULAR. I suspect one reason why the fans in the UK are so passionate about their teams and sport is because they have money riding on the games that they are watching.

It isn't a stretch to say that a reason why sports are popular in the States is because of the ability to gamble. Baseball has its fantasy leagues where prizes are awarded to the top teams. College and pro football games are popular to bet on (note the line which is published in the sports pages), and March Madness has its office pools. People follow these sports because of the games they play with their money in following the sports. Why should soccer be any different?

So if you want soccer to become popular in the States, do what they do in the UK. Allow the fans to bet on the games. Now, to be certain, you won't find me in the betting lines ready to lose my money. But I wouldn't be surprised that if sports gambling were legalized, that soccer would become a most popular sport.

You can bet on it.

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