TV ratings won’t tell the whole World Cup story

Technology can’t keep up with the naked eye. Today, the TV ratings will come out for the World Cup match between USA and Belgium. The numbers will be impressive, but won’t include the millions who gathered in sports bars, stadiums, and viewing parties. The cut away shots of Central Park, Kansas City, Chicago and other cities over the last two weeks have been staggering. The NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL could never dream of having such community events around their brands.

Wrapping ourselves in the flag isn’t a bad thing, is it? Outside of the Olympics the World Cup is as good as it gets for our patriotism. Just because someone doesn’t care much for soccer doesn’t mean that they won’t go to a viewing party or skip out on work to enjoy the energy of seeing “our team” compete against other countries.

The pro soccer franchise in Arizona, UnitedSC, is off to a good start in year one. They play their games at the Peoria Sports Complex which isn’t the most ideal, but it’s not a bad venue for a first season. The ownership group is committed much more than any of the others that came before them. I believe that there is enough momentum with soccer in our state to warrant the construction of a soccer facility similar to the one that the LA Galaxy play there matches in out in Carson, California.

United Owner Kyle Eng has an aggressive eye on the soccer market and is not one of these guys enamored with owning a team as a play toy. I can’t say that I know how deep the corporate support is to push pro soccer in Arizona. Eng has hustled in just under 150 days to put together a product that is family friendly and entertaining at an affordable cost.

The goal is to bring a MLS franchise to Arizona. Soccer has grown enough in Arizona that we should consider what it will take to turn us into the “Big 5” when it comes to the sporting landscape.