To say that soccer is big is an understatement.
Even in the USA, which is host to the hugely popular American football, the game is catching on.
According to stats published on the website of the consumer and market data firm Statista, more people tuned in to watch the 2018 World Cup final between France and Croatia than did into the 2020 Super Bowl between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers (the Chiefs won 31-20). FIFA had reported that the final had an average live audience of 517 million viewers around the world, and more than 1.1 billion people tuned in at some point during the game; on average, 99.9 million in the US saw the Super Bowl and an additional 30 to 50 million across the world followed the game.
Soccer is also popular when it comes to wagering on sports. In Italy, soccer is the sport of choice for betting, whereas in the USA, American football tends to be the recipient of most bets (but maybe soccer will have its day?). Over in the UK, soccer is the next most popular sport with sports betting fans; the first, of course, is horse racing.
All those sports fans can’t be wrong. Football is the best sport on the planet. Here are five compelling reasons why.
1. Soccer is straightforward
Some sports are so complex that sometimes they call for long periods of patient investigation (or clarification by an expert) to get your head around it. Take the NFL, for instance. Even the referees get confused from time to time.
Baseball and cricket are two other challenging sports to understand. As engaging as these and the NFL are, they’re somewhat weighty on jargon, nuance and highly technical strategy, all of which can put off the casual viewer.
This isn’t the case with soccer. You can get your head around the game relatively quickly. The offside rule might take a little time to understand, but once you do, you’re laughing.
2. The rules of soccer have been consistent
If regulators have to amend some part of the rules before each season, the game has some serious issues. The NFL is somewhat notorious for doing this. The tuck rule, which no longer exists, is one example. The organization also tinkers with rules around physical contact. Rugby is another game that experiences frequent rule changes.
Soccer, however, has remained relatively free of rule changes since the introduction of the back pass rule in 1992, which was done to counter time wasting and excessive defensive play and generally to make the game more exciting.
3. Soccer has no timeouts (except half time)
Soccer flows freely and games experience few interruptions, whereas if you watch the most recent five minutes of any basketball game, you’ll realize the timeout thing has gone crazy. Games take forever, with teams calling timeouts whenever they’re handling the ball or deliberating fouling their opponents when they don’t.
As well as for clock management, these breaks are used over and over again to stop the other team building up momentum, rather than forcing them to work out of their funk if they’re in one. Teams also take advantage of them to give proficient athletes a rest they shouldn’t really need. Advertisers certainly don’t complain about timeouts either. These breaks provide an excuse to interrupt the game so they can promote their products or services.
4. Soccer has created a wide range of competitions
Soccer provides opportunities for two main things: to test popularity and to win. You have club competitions, such as the popular knockout competition the FA Cup and the prestigious UEFA Champions League; and international competition, the World Cup being the most obvious, although there are several other major international tournaments: the Euros, the Africa Cup of Nations.
As a result of all these options, soccer creates entertainment the whole year around for fans. Once the club competition season comes to an end, it’s likely there will be an off-season international tournament taking place. There are also pre-season friendly matches, which are non-competitive and give players a chance to warm up before the new season.
5. Soccer unites people
Soccer is more than a sport; it’s a way of life. Millions of people commit their lives to soccer. Some are players or otherwise involved professionally with the sport. Others are just die-hard fans who live for their teams and their games.
But it extends even further than that. Soccer has the awesome power to unite different people and, for decades, has been a superb way to work towards more humane, more inclusive societies. It brings communities together and levels the playing field between the nations that have the most resources and the ones that have the fewest, creating scope for the latter to come out on top by a long way. Both types of country can produce exceptionally gifted athletes that give joy to millions around the world with their skilful play.
From soccer’s uncomplicated nature to its power to unite the world, above are five simple but compelling reasons that the beautiful game is the best sport in the world. Those are just a few of the main reasons, however. Intriguing rivalries between clubs, such as derby matches, and the capacity to build team spirit are a couple of others.
Rugby is another game that experiences frequent rule changes. However, this doesn’t mean that rugby betting is any less exciting than betting on football or other sports.