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 Local Sports

Hawks miffed about HGH tests

Fresh
Seattle Seahawks' Earl Thomas answers a question at a news conference for NFL Super Bowl XLIX football game, Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015, in Phoenix. The Seahawks play the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015.

According to an ESPN.com report, Seattle Seahawks' safety Earl Thomas and other players were annoyed about the NFL randomly selecting Thomas for HGH testing.

in Local Sports

Fans snap up caps designed and worn by Seahawks’ Lynch

Fresh
Seattle Seahawks' Marshawn Lynch answers a question during an interview for NFL Super Bowl XLIX football game, Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015, in Phoenix. The Seahawks play the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015.

The two baseball caps Lynch has worn this week while answering — or not answering — reporters' questions have sold out on Lynch's website, where they're part of his Beast Mode apparel line.

in Local Sports

Carroll: Refs to use hand signal for ineligible receiver

Fresh
Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll answers a question during an interview for NFL Super Bowl XLIX football game, Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015, in Phoenix. The Seahawks play the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll says the referees will use hand signals to indicate clearly when normally eligible receivers check in the Super Bowl as ineligible, a technique the Patriots have used in the postseason.

in Local Sports

Dave Matthews raises 12th man flag on Seattle Space Needle

Fresh
Musician Dave Matthews, right, poses for photos with his wife, Ashley Harper, second from right, after Matthews raised the Seattle Seahawks 12th Man flag, Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015, on the roof of the Space Needle in Seattle. The Seahawks will face the New England Patriots in NFL football's Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz.

Musician and Seahawks fan Dave Matthews raised the 12th man flag Thursday on top of the Seattle Space Needle as the city rallies for its team in the Super Bowl.

in Entertainment, Sports

Dominos delivery guy crashes Legion of Boom photo shoot

lob

For a 20-year-old pizza shop employee, this was 10 of the best minutes of his life.