From a place that is quite indifferent to football, in recent years Americans are gradually giving much love to the sport which is not the number one in the country of flowers.
The major contribution to this change is the International Champions Cup friendly tournament that brings together many stars and brings fabulous parties to America’s fan. The 24-year-old Chris Shea has been fond of Man City since he was a child, but he can only watch stars through television. ICC gives him the opportunity to watch a real match, with stars like Riyad Mahrez or Bernado Silva. So, he and his girlfriend Jessica ride from Durango to Miami to be on the stands, witnessing Pep Guardiola’s army defeat Bayern Munich.
It is a journey of about 5,000 km, equal to from London to Pakistan, lasting 35 hours in a car with only 1,500 USD in the bag. However, as Shea said, it is more than a dream to see Man City players playing with flesh and bones.
Similarly, Keith Russell, a US government official, lives and works on Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. Claiming to be an avid fan of Man City, Russell flew 800 km to Miami. He said that “it cost $ 2,000 for the plan” and “could not sleep on the eve of the match”. Russell admitted that he “could die of happiness with being on the Hard Rock stand”.
There seems to have been a major change in American soil. From a strange country with football, the sport is called “soccer” because “football” has been used for rugby, they began to be infatuated with a game of 22 players on green grass. Americans now no longer wonder why the players do not wear helmets (like rugby) or for whatever reason cannot stand under the opponent’s defense. ICC brings them closer to the big clubs in Europe and many people like Shea or Russell spend big sums to not miss the top performances.
According to a survey published by Gallup, 7% of Americans love football, making it the fourth most popular sport in the country, after rugby (37%), basketball (11%) and baseball (9%). The fourth-ranked hockey player has now slipped to fifth, with 4%.
7% may be a small number if placed next to other countries, but it represents a boom in America. Compared to the same poll 4 years ago, the top 3 sports decreased interest rates, only football increased by 3%. Football also receives special attention from young people. Among those aged 18 to 34,11% said they loved football, equal to basketball and higher than baseball.
It may be a coincidence, but undeniably the appearance of ICC since 2013 has helped to change the perception and pull Americans closer to the king sport. The match between M.U and Liverpool in Michigan recently attracted 101.254 spectators. However, it has not yet reached a record of 109,318 spectators in the 2014 M.U and Real competition also in Michigan.