WASHINGTON, DC – Something changed – or perhaps was revealed – in the United States during the last month. Many millions more Americans watched the World Cup soccer tournament in English and Spanish than ever before. True, with the World Cup’s end, many are arguing, as usual, that Americans pay attention only every four years – and only when the US is playing. But this time something was different: Americans continued to watch even after the US team was eliminated.
Indeed, on a weekday afternoon in the middle of summer, nearly 15 million Americans tuned in to the Brazil-Germany match in the semifinal. That is more than the usual viewership for ESPN’s Monday Night Football, the biggest regular television draw for fans of American football.