I’m not disputing that a lot of Americans will watch it — no doubt more than watch, say, MSNBC. I’m just saying that, across the country as opposed to in a few pockets, it’s not even a highly anticipated sports event, much less “the most anticipated …”
I understand where the reader is coming from. I am a big hockey fan. I’d lost touch with it for many years, but my interest got rekindled by my 7-year-old’s fanaticism. We loved watching it all season, and — even though we were rooting for Chicago — we were sad to see the Hawks win the other night because it meant no more hockey ’til October. We were hoping for a Game 7.
But even a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Finals between teams from two of our biggest cities would not have met the “the most anticipated” threshold. Sad to say, hockey is just not that popular in America. Oh, it has a few million devoted followers, but there are 300 million people in this country and most of them just don’t care that much. Yet hockey — which barely has a broadcast network TV contract because its ratings are so low — is much more popular than soccer.
This dream that soccer is about to get big in the U.S. rears its head every decade or so, but it never happens because we just don’t care that much. In general, Americans don’t like the game and we take perverse pleasure in the fact that this gets European noses out of joint. I still laugh when American kids say, “That’s not ‘football!’” I won’t be watching if there’s a good bowling match on, but if the USA is playing, I hope they win.