I know we are intelligent enough at this blog to call Football what it is supposed to be called: FOOTBALL.

Yet, I am always fascinated with the interest in football (or the lack thereof) in the U.S. of A. and it all starts with the word „Soccer“.

The OALD (a british dictionary respectively) has this definition for soccer:

soccer /sk{shwa}(r); NAmE sk/ noun [U] = football (1): soccer players a soccer pitch / team / match

As you can see we are running in circles here, because „Soccer“ leads us right back to where we started.

Still, I tried to tackle this problem, and stumbled across an interesting post on one of my favourite Weblogs CJR Daily.

One line reads:

„There you have it,“ says Malone. „Soccer is dull. Golf, on the other hand — now that’s exciting!“

Why is watching Tiger Woods, yet loose another tournament after being hyped for weeks, or Phil Mickelson missing the big win, yet again against someone else who came up in Tiger’s absence in any way more interesting than watching 32 nations battling their hearts out in order to win the most prestigious sports trophy in the world (no, Olympic Gold Medals are not trophies)?

It’s all about the advertisments, people and while US-Channel ABC was broadcasting both, the NBA Finals and the World Cup at the same time, their approach on how to market these two events was completely different.

In the ad for the NBA Finals we see a dark, intense atmosphere and a deep voice tells us:

„And so it begins. The journey, the destination, the dream. You’ve lived your life for this one moment. A chance to march into the pantheon of greatness, where a legacy of champions awaits.“

We see the great history of NBA Finals, the legends it produced and the stories it created. If you miss those 4 to 7 games, you will not be part of this all. You will not march into the pantheon with your stars.

If you want to be as cool as this ad, you need to watch this. I don’t even care about the outcome but if they talk about the games at the watercooler the next day, I want to be part of it.

(here is the clip)

At the same time on ABC we had a promo for the upcoming World Cup (watch the clip below):

We hear Bono in the background, a U2 Song playing and a dirty ball somewhere in Africa. Bono tells us:

„It’s a simple thing. Just a ball and a goal. But every four years that simple thing drastically changes the world. It closes the schools, closes the shops, closes the city – stops a war.“

There is the big mistake.

Who are you targeting here? Clearly not the same American that you just wanted to convince that this event is so cool, he just has to be part of it. That same guy will not watch the World Cup because it stops a war in Angola, or saves starving children in Zimbabwe. Let’s be honest. The average American fan does not care about how popular it is in the rest of the world, and I don’t blame him. If they want to market soccer in the U.S., they have to stop being lecturers that tell the audience how stupid they are because they are the only ones in the world that do not seem to get this sport and the magnificance of this event.

In the video we see little kids all around the world playing soccer. On a field in Bosnia, on a square in Italy, on a green in American suburbia.

Don’t get me wrong. Me as a fan of U2 and a fan of soccer, this ad gives me chills every time I see it, but that doesn’t apply to your target audience.

They want to see action, excitement, see clips of great moments, and certainly the World Cup has all of these elements.

They don’t want to be told that a simple thing can mean so much to the rest of the world, they want to be told that European soccer players date the hottest women in the world.

I mean talking about player’s wifes. Eva Longoria is a seven compared to who is sitting in european soccer stadiums, cheering on their boyfriends.

Don’t believe me? Then check out this. And notice the provider, FOX Sports, an American sports channel.

So they obviously know about the advantages soccer offers its viewers. So why then, do they bring in Bono to advertise for this sporting event?

I’m sure even with the early exit, soccer can and will catch on in the USA. But only if you are clear about who you are dealing with.

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