Over the last few years, there has been a notable increase in the popularity of several sports in the US. These sports have gained the attention of millions of fans throughout the country and have seen a surge in both participation and viewership. In this article, we will delve deeper into the growth of these sports, analyzing the driving factors behind their rise in popularity. From the rapidly growing world of esports to the enduring appeal of soccer, we will explore what makes these sports so compelling to fans and athletes alike.
Soccer in the US
For many years, soccer has been seen as a minor sport in the US, but that perception is changing. The Major League Soccer (MLS), which was founded in 1993, has grown from 10 teams to 27 teams, with several more teams expected to join in the coming years. This expansion has been driven in part by the increasing popularity of soccer among younger Americans. According to a 2019 Gallup poll, soccer is now the third-most popular team sport in the US, behind only basketball and football.
The MLS has also attracted several high-profile international players best US sportsbooks listed here, such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, David Beckham, and Thierry Henry, helping to increase the sport’s visibility and credibility in the US. In addition, the success of the US men’s and women’s national teams in international competitions has generated more interest in the sport. For example, the US women’s team’s victory in the 2019 World Cup led to increased media coverage and greater public recognition for the players.
Esports in the US
Esports, or competitive video gaming, is a relatively new phenomenon in the US, but it’s growing rapidly. The global esports industry is expected to generate over $1 billion in revenue in 2021, with North America being the largest market. The report also estimated that there were over 500 million esports fans worldwide in 2020.
In the US, major esports leagues such as the Overwatch League and the League of Legends Championship Series have formed, attracting both viewers and investors. For example, the Overwatch League signed a multi-year deal with YouTube in 2020, giving the league a new platform to reach fans. Esports events have also drawn large crowds, with the League of Legends World Championship finals in 2019 attracting over 100 million viewers.
Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) in the US
Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a full-contact combat sport that combines elements of various martial arts and combat sports. In the US, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has been the dominant MMA promotion since its inception in 1993. The UFC has produced many superstar fighters, such as Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey, who have helped to bring the sport into the mainstream.
According to a report by Grand View Research, the global MMA market size was valued at $5.1 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.5% from 2021 to 2028. In the US, the UFC’s pay-per-view events regularly generate millions of dollars in revenue, with the UFC 257 event headlined by McGregor reportedly selling over 1.6 million pay-per-view buys.
Women’s Sports in the US
Women’s sports have been gaining more attention and support in the US, with the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) attracting more fans and corporate sponsors. According to a report by Nielsen, the average audience for WNBA games grew by 68% in the 2020 season compared to the previous year, while the NWSL’s 2020 Challenge Cup final drew an average audience of over 653
Extreme sports have been on the rise in the US, with events like the X Games and the Dew Tour attracting a growing number of fans. These sports, which typically involve high speeds, dangerous stunts, and acrobatic maneuvers, include skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, and BMX riding, among others.
One factor driving the growth of extreme sports is the influence of social media. Many extreme athletes have gained huge followings on platforms like Instagram and YouTube, where they post videos of their impressive tricks and feats. This has helped to raise the profile of these sports and make them more accessible to a wider audience.
In conclusion, several US sports have recently grown in popularity, driven by a variety of factors such as increased visibility, investment, and success on the international stage. Soccer, esports, mixed martial arts, and women’s sports have all seen significant growth, with expanding leagues, higher viewership numbers, and rising revenue streams. As these sports continue to evolve and attract more fans, it will be interesting to see how they shape the US sports landscape in the years to come.
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