Even with the hype surrounding the World Cup, the tournament hasn’t been able to gain a large foothold in the United States. When this poll was conducted, while the United States was still in the tournament, 63% of residents nationally were not watching any of the matches while 37% caught some or all of the World Cup. Included here are 27% who were watching some and 10% who were checking out most of it.
Interest in watching grows when looking at residents who played soccer as a child. Among this group, 58% tuned in for at least a portion of the tournament. This includes nearly one-quarter — 24% — who report they were watching most of the World Cup at the time, and 34% who were tuning in to some of it.
Residents in the Northeast (48%), those in the West (38%) and in the South (36%) were more likely to watch, at least, some of the tournament than those in the Midwest (27%).
There were also income, ethnic, age, and gender differences in World Cup viewing habits. Americans with higher annual incomes (47%), non-whites (46%), those younger than 45 (44%), and men (44%) were more likely to watch, at least, some of the event.
Soccer More Popular Among Younger Americans
Most U.S. residents — 74% — report they did not play soccer as a child. 26%, however, did. Younger Americans are more likely to have played the sport in their youth. 42% of those 18 to 29 and 36% of residents 30 to 44 took the “pitch” as a kid. This compares with 22% of those 45 to 59 and 11% of residents 60 and older. By a two-to-one margin, men played soccer more than women. 34% of men took up the sport when they were young while 17% of women report doing the same.
Baseball Tops List of Favorite Childhood Sports
Among residents who played sports as a child, America’s pastime takes the crown as their favorite childhood sport. 27% enjoyed playing baseball or softball the most as a child. Basketball comes in a close second with 23%, and football rounds out the top three with 19%. One-tenth of Americans say they enjoyed soccer the most. 9% chose tennis. 4% preferred hockey while 8% liked playing something else entirely.
Baseball, however, is not cross-generational. The lower one goes on the age spectrum, the less likely residents who played sports as a child are to say baseball was their preferred sport. 16% of those 18 to 29 say baseball was their sport of choice. Instead, 25% rate football the highest while 24% in this age group claim basketball as their favorite. Looking at those 30 to 44, 24% give the top spot to basketball while 23% enjoyed baseball the most. 31% of Americans 45 to 59 say baseball topped their list as a kid. 37% of those 60 and older report the same.