An Inside Look At “The World’s Most Popular Game”

Soccer has been around for a long time. Starting up in Europe, overtime, it has branched out to become “the world’s most popular game.” Even though there are many perks of having a global game, there also coincides with the political aspects of the sport. Initially, I wanted to focus my research paper on the politics behind the sport, but as I was looking for information, I realized that there is much more than politics. “Global soccer was initially the product of imperialism, military and then economic” (Veseth pg1).  It is the combination of all of these topics that adds up to the sport that is loved by the whole world.

National pride is very big during the games. If we take a walk down memory lane, we can see an example where Hitler tried to use the 1936 Berlin Olympics as a nation-building purpose. The government uses the publicity the World Cup gathers as a tool to further advance reconstruct national attitudes. “We hear constantly that globalizations destroys local culture, replacing it with the meaningless consumption culture of the American suburb… [b]ut if soccer also builds distinct local identities, then it is also a force opposed to homogenization and commodification” (Veseth pg. 10). Although soccer brings all the nations together for a shortage of time, the reason why we are not globalizing via soccer is because each team has their own personalized fan base that is almost always proud to represent their country. We see fans wearing jerseys or painting their faces or bodies with their respected flag colors.

The 1966 World Cup hosted in England is mentioned to be the most important, key-moment in the turning point between television and FIFA World Cup. Because the number of spectators was exponentially growing, FIFA saw this as an opportunity for selling their filming rights to the host country. They thought that the result of this trade-off would “bring prestige and, more prosaically and down-to-earth, recoup the original investment, along with the strong possibility of bringing in further revenue from selling the broadcast throughout the world” (Chirasi pg. 4). The game’s popularity increased in the aftermath of WWII. Football was a way to demonstrate how rivalry between nations was managed on the field in front of millions of viewers (Stroeken). In the words of Dipankar Sinha, “[the] more entertainment to more spectators means more money from advertisements” (pg. 2). Everyone loves a good game, so as the number of viewers continues to escalade, the more interested large advertisement companies are going to express interest thus leading to a problem with FIFA World Cup being at risk of losing its original message of uniting all the nations to play the world-wide loved game.


Works Cited

Chisari, Fabio. “When Football Went Global: Televising the 1966 World Cup.” Historical Social Research / Historische Sozialforschung 31.1 (115), Football History: International Perspectives / Fußball-Geschichte: Internationale Perspektiven (2006): 42-54. JSTOR. Web. 28 Feb. 2014. <;.

Sinha, Dipankar. “World Cup USA: A Different Perspective.” Economic and Political Weekly 29.31 (1994): 1996-997. JSTOR. Web. 28 Feb. 2014. <;.

Stroeken, Koen. “Why ‘The World’ Loves Watching Football (And ‘The Americans’ Don’t).” Anthropology Today 18.3 (2002): 9-13. JSTOR. Web. 28 Feb. 2014. <;.

Veseth, Michael. “THE BEAUTIFUL GAME AND THE AMERICAN EXCEPTION.” International Review of Modern Sociology 32.2, Special Issue (2006): 181-97. JSTOR. Web. 28 Feb. 2014. <;.

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1 Response to An Inside Look At “The World’s Most Popular Game”

  1. Sarah McCullough says:

    Nice array of sources for this topic. I would enjoy hearing a bit more of a summary on each source and a statement of how it is valuable for your topic. However, you did do a nice summary that synthesizes the sources that (I assume) exemplifies how they are useful for your research. What is your research question that drives this inquiry?

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