Soccer in the United States
Since the United States hosted the 1994 FIFA World Cup, the sport of soccer has seen steady growth in popularity from match-day spectators, television viewers, and corporate partners. This chapter serves to provide a brief overview of the history, organisational structure, and business dynamics of soccer in the United States. In particular, this chapter examines the origins and emergence of the country’s national team program, the tumultuous history and emerging stability of professional soccer, and the unique manner by which the sport in the United States is organised and governed. Additionally, the commercial structure and strategy of soccer in the United States is examined with a particular emphasis on the importance of building an infrastructure via the construction of soccer-specific stadiums for Major League Soccer (MLS) teams. This chapter also briefly describes the role the private company, Soccer United Marketing (SUM), has played in developing a unified corporate strategy for the United States Soccer Federation and MLS. Further, this chapter provides a report of spectator attendance at MLS matches in the United States when compared to other major professional sports in North America and professional soccer leagues globally. The chapter concludes with a commentary on some of the primary challenges facing soccer as it continues to find its footing in the American sporting lexicon.