After a disappointing, albeit completely deserving (I’m talking to you, Bornstein. And Bob Bradley for subbing you in. And you too Cherundolo, for getting hurt.), 4-2 loss to Mexico in the Gold Cup final, fans of American soccer have a reason to cheer.
The 2011 Gold Cup Final between the U.S. and Mexico drew the largest television audience in FOX Soccer’s history. An estimated 954,000 viewers tuned in to watch the game – a number that more than doubled the previous record of 418,000 viewers, which was set earlier this year by FSC’s coverage of Chelsea vs. Liverpool in a pre-Super Bowl telecast.
The Gold Cup ratings fall far behind the records set by last year’s World Cup matches, but it all seems to signal a positive future for soccer in America. More people in this country are watching soccer. And, notably, more young people are watching soccer. FSC beat out networks like ABC and NBC in 18-35 male viewership during the Gold Cup timeslot. As young athletes grow up more exposed to and interested in the sport, perhaps soccer won’t always have to pick out leftovers from football’s sloppy seconds.
On the downside, fans of American soccer should still be a bit concerned that the majority of folks who actually attended the Gold Cup match were there to cheer against the U.S. Then again, maybe it’s a case of any press is good press. Any fans are good fans, especially when it’s a sold-out crowd at the Rose Bowl.