In June 2023, FIFA announced that the United States would be the first host country of its expanded Club World Cup taking place across June and July of 2025. This will make the United States the host country of four consecutive major international soccer tournaments over as many years: the 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup (alongside Canada); the 2024 Copa America (a special edition of the tournament co-organised by CONCACAF, the North and Central America football federation, and CONMEBOL, the South America football federation, featuring clubs from across the entire American continent); the 2025 FIFA Club World Cup; and the 2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup (alongside Canada and Mexico).
Those who have been following the business of soccer will not be surprised by the sport’s increased effort to establish itself in the United States as a major sport. The United States has by far the largest sports broadcasting market in the world. In fact, Ampere Analysis estimates the total spent by US broadcasters on sports rights in 2023 to be US$22.7 billion, more than five times what will be spent in the second largest market (the UK).
According to Ampere Analysis’ latest report, never have attempts to grow the sport in the United States been as concerted as they have been in the last few years. The report notes that it probably helps that US companies have now invested in a growing number of European soccer clubs. In 2018, the Bundesliga opened its US office in New York, the first major European rightsholder to do so. Since then, La Liga, Serie A and the Premier League have all done the same, aiming to boost their profile in the country and target US fans more directly. At the same time, the number of US tours by European clubs in the off-seasons has increased, culminating in the current Premier League Summer Series involving six English clubs.
These efforts are now starting to bear fruit. As outlined in a recent Ampere report, while soccer is the fourth most popular sport in the United States, it is the second most favorited sport, after American football and ahead of basketball and baseball. Furthermore, the proportion of US sports fans naming soccer as their favorite sport has grown, from 13% in the fourth quarter of 2021 to 19% in the fourth quarter of 2022.
This growing popularity has driven up the value of soccer TV rights, as evidenced by recent landmark deals such as the one between Apple TV and the MLS, or NBC and the Premier League for the next six-year cycle. Overall, US TV companies will spend US$1.3 billion on soccer rights in 2023, more than three times the amount spent in 2015. The rate of growth in the value of US soccer TV rights has surpassed Europe, meaning that the United States now accounts for 8% of the global soccer TV rights market, double the share it had in 2015.
“Based on current trends, we might see the United States spend on soccer rights surpass one of the major European countries by the end of the decade, as the next rights cycle for major events kicks off,” commented Jack Genovese, Research Manager at Ampere Analysis and the author of the report.