Since joining the MLS, soccer viewership in America has been up. In his first game as a member of the LA Galaxy, MLS ratings skyrocketed to nearly a million viewers, a number rarely seen in the United States for American soccer.
After that, Beckham’s inauguration started a positive trend for the league. The MLS has enjoyed an increase in ratings just about every year. Just this past season, total viewership went up 12 percent compared to a season ago on cable television, with ESPN broadcasting those games. Those numbers made this year the most watched MLS season ever.
But America’s growing interest in soccer didn’t just end with the MLS. If fans recall, just two years ago, the United States followed our own Team USA in the 2010 FIFA World Cup with so much anticipation. In a game against Algeria, the LA Galaxy’s own Landon Donovan scored the game-winning goal that went on to give Team USA its victory in its group since the 1930s. It was that game that made Beckham’s teammate Donovan a household name.
Whether it was a direct or indirect influence over the game by Beckham, it’s hard to deny that soccer is now a major sport in America. I think it’s safe to say that he was a game changer. The MLS is more profitable now and the country has a new sports pastime.
I guess the Beckham Experiment did work out after all. His stardom really did change the way the U.S. looks at soccer for the better.