Soccer is the most popular sport in the world; It is still growing and the fourth favored in the United States. Only football, basketball, and baseball are more popular among sports lovers. Gallup’s 2018 report says more people are getting involved in the sport than ever before. Hence, seven percent of fans stated the game as their favorite. In addition, the sport is now almost as popular as baseball. Other industry reports state a steady growth in participation of the game at all levels.
Major League Soccer Club Values Higher than Ever Before
Major League Soccer (MLS) continues to make strides towards improving its standards. The number of teams in the league has grown and so has its support. The twenty-six teams in the league now have a greater value than the ten original teams from 1996. Furthermore, they have larger arenas to accommodate bigger crowds of fans attending games. A comparison of Forbes articles shows how much their values have changed over time.
"Note: All figures are Forbes estimates; team values do not include stadiums or real estate. Revenue and operating income are for season, and operating income represents earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization."2012 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Record-Breaking Viewership Numbers
In 2018, Atlanta versus Portland Timbers drew record-breaking viewership ratings. An article from MLS shows the growing support from the fans through media outlets. 1.56 million people watched the game on FOX. That made it the most-watched MLS Cup since 1997. Which is a seventy-one percent increase in the MLS Cup viewership from the previous year.
ESPN’s article shows that the MLS Cup reached new heights in 2019. ABC’s airing of the Seatle Sounders MLS Cup victory over Toronto FC averaged 823, 000 viewers. This made it the companies most viewed match with the audiences getting up to 1, 092,000 million in the second half.
Iconic Players Light Up Major League Soccer
More teams have household names booting their image than ever before. Pele was one of the first of the legends to make an impact on the league when he joined New York Cosmos in 1991. At the time he was thirty-four and not played soccer for eight-month prior.
Photograph: Robert Riger/Getty Images
Yet it was the introduction of David Beckham that sparked a real interest in the league. He joined MLS at the time when he was a global icon. Since then the league has seen an influx of soccer legends on several teams. For example Thierry Henry, Wayne Rooney, Zlatan Ibrahimović and Frank Lampard.