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U.S.-Ghana World Cup Match Sets Soccer TV Records On Both Univision, ESPN
Published June 18, 2014
FOR LOVE OF COUNTRY: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Keach Hagey writes under the header, "World Cup Audience In The U.S. Is Growing" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 6/18). SNY's Chris Carlin said of U.S.-Ghana, "There are not many country-unifying moments anymore, and that was one of them. I give people a lot of credit because it's not a mainstream sport in this country, but there were a lot of people paying attention" ("Loud Mouths," SNY, 6/17). But ESPN’s Mike Greenberg asks of the viewership numbers for U.S.-Ghana: “Is this soccer or is this patriotism? Did we watch like crazy on Monday because we just like getting together and watching something that is a communal, American event? Or does this really demonstrate -- as a lot of people in the soccer world are hoping for/telling you -- that there is really a rising tide here?” (“Mike & Mike,” ESPN Radio, 6/18).
ALL ABOARD! The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Matthew Futterman writes under the header, "We Are All U.S. Soccer Fans Again." Futterman: "Forgive yourself if you are a late arrival onto the U.S. Soccer bandwagon." U.S. players are "poised to suck up some of the U.S. sports oxygen for which they've waited four years in a country still trying to figure out the intricacies of the offside rule." Scratch the "surface of this U.S. team, and it has plenty of characteristics that, win-or-lose, can make that embrace well worth it" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 6/18).
FUNNY BUSINESS: The late-night shows also welcomed fans onto the U.S. bandwagon, although with a slightly sarcastic edge. Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert opened his broadcast last night wearing a USA scarf and Nike goalie gloves and chanting, "USA! Ole, ole, ole!" He said, "This a huge day for America's sports fan, who have been excited about the World Cup ever since they noticed it was happening, which was shortly after the NBA Finals ended on Sunday." Colbert: "Team USA's Clint Dempsey stunned Ghana with a goal in the opening 29 seconds, which is good because most Americans' attention span for soccer is 30 seconds" ("The Colbert Report," Comedy Central, 6/17). NBC's Jimmy Fallon said, "USA won. They did it. They did the impossible, getting Americans to watch soccer." He then proceeded to "introduce" viewers to several U.S. players. He said in addition to playing for Sporting KC in MLS, MF Graham Zusi's "other job is being a model on covers of novels that your mom reads," while F Aron Johannsson's hobbies are "reading, swimming and destroying you with his mind" ("The Tonight Show," NBC, 6/17). CBS' David Letterman asked, "Are you watching the World Cup? No you're not. Soccer is one of those things that the rest of the world cares more about than we do." He later said, "This may be disappointing to soccer purists, but this is as close as we can come to actual soccer action from the World Cup.” The broadcast aired a segment called “World Cup Highlight Simulation,” which featured video of a turtle running into a soccer ball as ESPN’s Ian Darke’s called D John Brooks’ game-winning goal against Ghana (“Late Show,” CBS, 6/17).