You just have to look at World Cup viewing numbers to understand that soccer is the most popular sport in the world, even if it never caught on as much in the United States. The World Cup in Russia, held in 2018, was watched by over 4 billion people, about 50% of the global population!
Here are a few reasons why “the beautiful game” is so popular.
Soccer is popular around the world regardless of income levels because it is so accessible. Kids around the world can start a pick-up game with very little equipment. All you need is a ball (and you can make one yourself if you can’t afford that) and something to mark out a goal. You can play it anywhere, not just on a dedicated field.
Even for people who are not sports fans, soccer is accessible thanks to its simple rules. You have to get the ball into the goal, and you get one point for each goal. That’s far simpler than baseball or American football. The relatively short gameplay of 90 minutes also makes it easier for newcomers.
Opportunities to Shine
Why do so many kids around the world dream of taking to the soccer field? It helps that in soccer, more than in many other sports, individual players can change the course of the game with a heroic act. Players have more leeway to change tactics. This makes the game more fun for players and viewers, who never know what can happen next.
Global History and Reach
In some parts of the world, soccer has been the primary pastime for over a century. Many families have cheered for the same club for generations, which makes it that more special. Soccer is the only sport that has such a global reach.
Today, soccer has an amazing global reach thanks to massive marketing efforts to bring the game to new places.
There are so many other factors that make soccer popular, including its passionate fan culture and beautiful plays, but this list is a good start.