Like the Netherlands, the United States is also participating in the FIFA World Cup for the first time since 2014. The question is whether American sports fans are preparing for a tournament that plays primarily in the wee hours and has to compete with the peak of its sporting season.
In a TV commercial from FOX Sports announcer, Santa Claus, played by actor Jon Hamm, is getting ready (mad men), before the World Cup which, to his surprise, falls in the middle of the holiday season. Hastily, his assistants pack T-shirts from Mbappe and Neymar. The ad ends with a parade of American choice on the streets of New York. A possible fairy tale, according to Santa Ham.
It is also a strange feeling for the United States, the football World Cup starting in the tail of autumn. American fans will experience heroism with breakfast on their lap. The first matches on the east coast start at 05:00 in the morning, in the west of the country football matches are a night action.
All US men’s group matches, which are for England, Wales and Iran, will take place at 2pm local time. Sports fans can visit the many sports bars in the country to catch early matches.
Washington emergency law
In Washington, D.C., an emergency ordinance passed in September allows all bars to open 24 hours a day during the World Cup. Only between 04.00 and 06.00 no alcohol is served. With a glass of water, football fans can prepare for Argentina vs. Croatia or Switzerland vs. Cameroon.
In the country where soccer is the fastest growing sport according to a Gallup poll, the coming weeks will show whether soccer can compete with the strong domestic alternative, American soccer. In the United States, the season of the NFL professional league, as well as the season of the best universities, is currently in full swing.
In 2021, 75 of the 100 most watched television shows were American football games. The most popular game the US men’s soccer team has ever played, the group match against Portugal in the 2014 World Cup (2-2), just made it into the top 20 most popular broadcasts with over 24 million viewers last year.
So on the American Thanksgiving weekend, when the Uruguay, Portugal and Brazil games are decided, turkey will probably be eaten with the Buffalo Bills v. Detroit Lions, and later the New York Giants vs. the Dallas Cowboys, on TV.
It would make a difference in terms of interest that American men’s soccer qualified for the World Championship for the first time since 2014. In 2018, he missed the tournament due to an embarrassment in a qualifying match against Trinidad and Tobago. “We suffered a lot of damage because of that,” FOX Sports director David Neil admitted recently. Advertising revenue was down 29% from the 2014 tournament, which saw record viewership.
Americans love winners, it turns out again. The world soccer match viewing record still belongs to the most popular women: the 2015 World Cup Final won over 25 million American viewers.
In Qatar, FOX Sports is doing its best to serve the people. The channel broadcasts matches from a huge two-storey state-of-the-art studio on the Doha Corniche.
The American viewer will get nothing from the host country’s human rights abuse. “Our approach is clear, the same approach we took four years ago in Russia,” said Neil. “We’re just focusing on 64 games.”
The channel benefits from the good performance of the Americans, from whom no miracles are expected. With an average age of 25, National Coach Greg Berhalter’s team is one of the youngest to participate in a World Series. With players like Weston McKinney (Juventus), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Giovanni Reina (Borussia Dortmund), Tyler Adams (Leeds United) and Sergino Dest (AC Milan), there is more talent than ever, but the team hardly has any experience.
The recent exhibition matches against Japan (0-2) and Saudi Arabia (0-0) in September raised some concern. Many observers see the tournament in Qatar as the first major test for the 2026 World Cup in their country. The hope is that the Americans, known for their winning mentality, will rise above themselves at the ultimate moment.
Others already expect more from the team. “Young age shouldn’t be an excuse,” former FOX and international analyst Alexi Lalas said recently. “They should be able to do well on paper. We are better than Wales. We are better than Iran. If you survive the group, then you have to take every chance after that.
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