The broadcast of the U.S. team’s 1-0 win over Algeria broke ESPN ratings records as the largest audience for a soccer game in network history, reaching a reported 4,582,000 households and 6 million viewers. the online broadcast at espn.com became the highest watched online sporting event stream in the site’s history. logging over 1 million viewers. Two U.S. presidents voiced their support for the teams as President Barack Obama called the team to congratulate them after their win over Algeria and President Clinton could be seen in the stands of every U.S. game.
America isn’t known for being particularly keen on soccer. The lack of interest in U.S. soccer in the past is evident in the compensation the players receive. According to a chart recently released by a players union for Major League Soccer, Some players make as little as $20,000 a year to play the sport. Landon Donovan, who has been hailed as the greatest player in U.S. history, is paid $900,000. While this isn’t a meager amount by any means, in the NFL or NBA this would be considered completely unacceptable for any starting player, much less one of his caliber. Another example is the salary of the U.S. team’s head coach, Bob Bradley. Bradley receives $500,000 a year to coach the team, while Britain’s head coach, Fabio Capello makes a reported $7.3 million. With more national attention comes sponsorships and bigger advertisers. If this trend of increasing popularity continues, we may see a raise is pay and talent is U.S. game play.