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Ratings Boost Notwithstanding, Americans Don't Care About Cup
Reuters, June 30th, 2006 4PM
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TV ratings for soccer games may have doubled since last World Cup, but Reuters columnist Steve James wants you to keep in mind a few things: games took place at 2:30, 5:00 and 7:30 AM at the last World Cup, and while ABC's average rating of 2.5 for its first eight matches represents about 8 million viewers, that pales in comparison to the Super Bowl (91 million) or the Academy Awards (39 million). About 1.1 billion are estimated to have watched the World Cup final in 2002, but just 3.9 million watched in the U.S.not a huge number for a nation of about 300 million people. So, Steve James says, it's not surprising to hear that a poll by Global Market Insite found that just 11 percent of Americans surveyed were "definitely" interested in the World Cup, compared with 45 percent of respondents worldwide. Meanwhile, 56 percent of Americans didn't even know the 2006 World Cup was taking place in Germany. "The facts don't lie," the report says. "The U.S. lags significantly behind other countries when it comes to being passionate about...soccer." Even so, the hardened opinions of certain high-profile soccer-hating columnists are starting to change. Said former NFL quarterback Jack Kemp, "Watching our USA soccer team tie the Italian team last week and on Sunday watching the athleticism of the Brazilian team, I'm hereby publicly acknowledging that soccer can be interesting to watch." But he couldn't resist a late jibe: "I love soccer, but it's still boring."

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