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

Today in entertainment history: July 23

winehouse2

A look at the Hollywood headlines that went down in history.

in Local Sports

Mercury win 13th straight, clinch playoff berth

Updated
Phoenix Mercury's Diana Taurasi reacts to making a three-pointer against the Los Angeles Sparks during the second half in Game 1 of their WNBA basketball Western Conference semifinal series on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013, in Los Angeles. The Mercury won 86-75.

Diana Taurasi scored 22 and Candice Dupree added 19 to help the Phoenix Mercury win their 13th straight game and clinch a playoff berth with an 89-71 victory over the Seattle Storm on Tuesday night.

in Local Sports

DeGrom tames Mariners in Mets 3-1 victory

New York Mets manager Terry Collins looks on from along the dugout during warm-ups prior to the first inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Monday, June 2, 2014, in Philadelphia.

Jacob deGrom allowed five hits and a run in seven impressive innings, Lucas Duda hit a mammoth home run and the New York Mets beat the Seattle Mariners 3-1 Tuesday night.

in Local Sports

Walker to start against Mets Wednesday

Seattle Mariners pitcher Taijuan Walker throws in a bullpen session during spring training baseball practice, Thursday Feb. 20, 2014, in Peoria, Ariz.

The Seattle Mariners will start Taijuan Walker on the mound in Wednesday’s affair against the New York Mets.

in Local Sports

Smoak optioned to Tacoma

seattle mariners mlb justin smoak

The Seattle Mariners have optioned first baseman Justin Smoak to AAA Tacoma and recalled starting pitcher Erasmo Ramirez.