Soccer vs. Football: Which one will comet dominate as the biggest spectator sport?

This debate isn’t about which one you like more personally, obviously every American will say football and every non-American will say soccer, its more about the future of the two sports and which one will be more successful over the next say 100 years. Which sport will have more fans in the future and do you see football surpassing soccer globally as other countries pull out of poverty and gain access to our more advanced sport?

Wow. Another soccer vs. football thread? This is an intense topic for you, eh?

I see no reason why American Football will surpass Soccer (everywhere else but the US called Football) in popularity.

There have been attempts at European American Football leagues. To my knowledge they have met with minimal success.

Soccer is far and away more popular than US Football around the world.

Changing that will be a matter of decades…if ever (and they have already tried and mostly failed as noted).

Soccer already has more fans worldwide than American football. I suspect that soccer will continue to dominate while American football will only remain popular in the United States. It might expand into Mexico or Canada one of these days though but even then I think soccer will be more popular in Mexico. I certainly won’t say that soccer will never be as popular here in the United States. I don’t know what the world will look like in fifty years. I don’t see it happening though.


The OP was probably placed in the wrong forum. However, thread crapping isn’t very nice no matter which area of the Dope we’re posting in. If you don’t care about the topic it’s way easier to avoid posting than it is to make a snide comment.

The OP has posted two other OP’s that are close to the same subject in the correct forum. That’s about all I can say without running afoul of the rules here.

Just parenthetically, Canadian football (which is very, very close to American football in most rules) is likely the second-most popular sport in Canada, behind hockey.

Anyway, American football, from a fan standpoint, has made some inroads in certain European countries (particularly England and Germany), but, from what I’ve read, it’s still far smaller than soccer in interest. While the NFL is actively trying to increase interest abroad (and Roger Goodell talks about possibly expanding with a team in London someday), I can’t foresee it ever surpassing soccer in those countries.

Meanwhile, American football may face a serious backlash, due to head injuries. In the past few years, the serious, long-term impact of repeated head trauma on American football players has just started to become known. And, it’s not just the pro players…even those who play at the youth or high school level may be suffering long-term brain injuries. While the helmet manufacturers have come up with significantly “safer” helmets in recent years, I have a feeling that substantial changes to the rules of the game may become necessary…otherwise, parents are going to become less and less likely to allow their sons to play football in grade school and high school, and that would effectively kill the sport.

Cite for the head injury problem?

I have no doubt it happens. Playing sports of any sort tend to have injuries of many sorts and American Football certainly adds to that (not just head but any sort of injury). I have not heard though that playing American Football is unusually bad in the head injury department.


Here are a few (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Soccer will be far more popular for the foreseeable future. Even if football became a more popular sport, the injury risk, and nature of the game, limits the number of games that can be played. Part of the allure of soccer is seeing your club team compete for multiple championships in multiple leagues. That would basically be impossible with football.

Thanks for the cites.

I am amazed given those that football is even allowed to be played. Certainly not by school kids (because I suppose as an adult you are allowed to make your own decisions to be dumb).

I guess the only thing I can ask for here is how does it compare to other sports? How does it compare on a percentage basis?

For instance driving is dangerous. We accept that danger though. Hell, kids are injured playing on Jungle Gyms and such. We try to minimize it but lots of people are killed and maimed or inured. Is football much different? A minor risk (statistically speaking) that comes with the game or is it a veritable slaughter house of kids?

Just trying to get perspective. I am NOT taking a stance one way or another here.

A lot of this is relatively new science (i.e., within the past few years).

I’m not sure that I’ve seen such numbers; several of the articles talk about boxers as being the other athletes where CTE had traditionally been seen.

I know that concussions are also a problem in hockey, and I’ve read that soccer players (which gets us back to the OP) also can have issues with brain trauma, due to heading the ball.

I guess what I am asking is:

A) Is American Football unusually dangerous as compared to other sports

B) Should it be banned because it is dangerous. If not, why not?

US football isn’t more “advanced” than soccer (aka football in 90% of the world). There is no evidence of countries moving from soccer to US football as they become richer. If anything I think soccer is gradually becoming more popular in the US. I don’t see it overtaking football in the next 30 years but I could absolutely see it happening over 100 years. Every world cup raises the profile of the game in the US . The US team is almost guaranteed to qualify every time and usually performs creditably. I think the head injury issue will definitely have a long-run impact on football and some parents will be reluctant to let their kids play the game.

Did you know that what we call football, the rest of the world calls baseball?

I seem to remember someone posting attendance figures here showing that association football was getting nice big crowds in America, pretty much on a par with some of the “big four” sports. American Football just isn’t popular in England, not even compared to the lesser sports like Rugby and Cricket. Probably not even compared to darts and snooker, which certainly get much more prominent coverage in the media. The only American sport I’ve seen making inroads in England is basketball, and that only as a participation sport, not spectator. I’ve never actually seen anyone playing it, but there are a couple of courts in the town. Could be for netball, I suppose. I’ve certainly seen people playing football with basketballs.

Head injuries aren’t much of an issue in association football, although some older players have had brain trauma from heading the old-fashioned leather balls which tended to soak up water, newer lightweight balls now in common usage don’t cause that problem. A better comparison would be with rugby, are there more head injuries in American football than rugby?

You don’t live in the UK, do you.

I do, and I’d say that’s an accurate statement. Snooker is an order of magnitude more popular than American football, as are darts.

Oh, no denying that American football is not even close to the popularity of Football (Soccer)/Rugby/Cricket. But darts & snooker might be closer than you think: At least three games a week are shown live all during the regular season (and all playoffs/SB) on the major sports channel (Sky Sports), plus some live shows on the main non-cable channels. American football was given more space in the main papers during the regular season compared to, say, darts (which rarely ever merits even a photo in the free morning papers on the Tube). Bars advertised having the games on, like they do with rugby/cricket/football. I honestly haven’t seen a bar advertising darts or snooker, although given how often those sports are on local TV (and how often Stephen Fry tweets about darts), I know they enjoy healthy popularity.

But American football has a healthy following here, and I suspect an American football team in London would be well-supported even if I think such a possibility is pretty remote.

I’ve never seen Top Gear supplanted for an American Football game. Snooker does it all the time.

I’ve never seen a major terrestrial TV channel spend an entire Sunday afternoon on American Football, but it happens with snooker with distressing frequency.

I’ve never seen an American Football playing field, but I know of at least 4 snooker halls within 10 minutes of me, and I’m sure there are others I don’t know of.

I’m pretty sure American Football is way behind snooker in terms of popularity, both on and off the TV screen.