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5 Reasons Why Soccer Will Be Bigger Than Baseball in 7 Years Or Less

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This year is the third year that I’ve been covering Major League Soccer in the NJ/NY area, having worked with the New York City Football Club for the majority of that time. Having frankly little experience with the sport previously but taking the gig because hey, free tickets in exchange for writing a few hundred words, I’ve found myself falling in love with the sport more by the day. And so is the rest of the United States. Our Twitter guy James sent me the pic I’m posting below showing how much the league has grown in the past few years (Thank you James!):

This is massive news, and they’re about to get even more impressive. After looking at last year’s NFL week 1 attendance numbers, Atlanta United drew more fans to their home opener than 7 NFL team’s in their own week one home opener. Charlotte drew more than 9 NFL teams, more than half the NFL teams drew to their own stadiums week one. But in this battle we’re not talking MLS vs NFL, let’s start with easier goals and let’s have MLS go head to head with Major League Baseball.

So let’s roll, here’s 5 reasons why I believe Major League Soccer will become the 3rd most popular sport by LATEST 2030:

1) Baseball Is Slow. I’m aware of the rule changes, but baseball is a slow moving sport in a fast moving world. As we continue to immerse ourselves in the TikTok & YouTube world people’s attention spans and patience continues to dwindle. Baseball has made an effort to make the sport more engaging by introducing the pitch clock, larger bases and so on. And to it’s credit, so far Spring Training games are faster and batting averages are up this year over last. But even at 15 seconds between pitches, that’s a long time to wait. Add to that (and this is huge) up to an hour of commercial time that’s plenty of time to text someone, watch vids, post on Twitter, pee, etc for a sport that averages only 18 minutes of actual action in a nine inning game. Soccer just rolls on for 45+ straight minutes a half with little to no breakaways from the game that can take you out of the experience. Soccer is built for an immediate immersion world by always having that camera going.

2) MLS’s Fan Base Is Younger. MUCH younger. Best example I could find I’ll admit was from 2016 but

Image Screenshot from:

MLS’s average fan is 40, MLB a whopping 57. MLB is trying to get younger, MLS already is. Since the vaunted demographic is the 18-49 market, MLS (and NBA) have that covered.

3) World Cup Is Going To Explode Soccer’s Popularity. With World Cup being played in North America it’s a brilliant move to play in every corner of the continental U.S. Yes that’s really is the only way it could be done at this point, especially with a record 48 teams, but mostly anywhere you are there’s a stadium within reach that you can see the finest players the sport has to offer live and in person. Seattle, LA, Dallas, Philly, Miami, Atlanta, the New York/New Jersey area and more, plus playing in June and July also give kids the chance to see it, many of whom are out of school by that point.

4) No Blackout Rules. This is JD’s BIG hot button, but he’s 100% right. One big issue with MLB is games being blacked out via RSNs (Regional Sports Networks). This one MAY change given the current state of RSN’s and people cutting cable but we’re moving to a streaming world. Like it or not, AppleTV owns the rights to soccer but it does provide a far easier way to watch the games you want. You’re a baseball fan outside NYC and want to watch Aaron Judge? Sorry, wait for a national broadcast or pay $150 a year for their package. Meanwhile the YES network averages a $7 monthly charge to EVERY cable customer with access to YES. That’s a mandatory 84 bucks a year to everyone including my 70-something parents & the only Judge they ever watch is Judy. Costs adds up over 20+ years the YES Network has been around.

5) MLS Is Gaining Respect Worldwide. MLB is considered the pinnacle of worldwide baseball, MLS has been the equivalent of Triple-A Soccer on a worldwide stage. For now. Seeing the increased attendance numbers will entice players in Europe and South America to come here, no longer seeing it as the league you play in when your career is about to end. There’s been some talk about bringing Lionel Messi to MLS which would be a huge win, but to me, not big enough because you can go younger. Expect in the next few years to see MLS draw in the age equivalents of current players like Kylian Mbappé (24 years old) or Erling Haaland (22 years old).

There’s my five. Some you might agree with, some you might not, but let me know your thoughts. Can MLS overtake MLB for #3 in the country or am I full of it? Lemme know and thanks for reading.

About the author – Scott Churchson has been an actor in every way for the past 13 years, from BG to stand in to stunts and principal, a sports writer for the past 4 and is one of the people that created Stream Punk Entertainment. He’s married to a veterinarian, has a cat with three working legs, a mother-in-law who just moved in and is just a simple man trying to make his way in the universe.

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