$250 Million for Kicks
Summer Sport. The soccer season runs from April to November, roughly parallel to baseball. For sports fans who want constant action (as in football, hockey and basketball), soccer is an antidote to the cerebral game of baseball. For example, someone once ran a stopwatch during a series of baseball games and discovered that the 2-1/2 hour game yielded an average of just nine minutes of action.
Conditioning. A soccer game is made up of two, 45-minute halves. With no unlimited substitution, soccer players only get to rest during the intermission. Otherwise, they’re running full tilt the entire hour-and-a-half. No other athletic endeavor requires this degree of conditioning, with the possible exception of the marathon.
Size of the Ball. Soccer may be the easiest ball game to follow, because the size 5 ball—which has a circumference of 27-28 inches and weighs roughly one pound—is on the ground and in plain sight at all times.
Danger. Unlike football or hockey, soccer players wear no padding—shirts, shorts and shoes. Yet they can crash into each other or be tripped up, resulting in nasty falls and potential injury. Danger is sexy to sports fans.
Empty Stadiums. That 2006 Eastern Conference Championship game was held in Washington’s 56,000-seat RFK Stadium. Attendance: 19,552, which means the stadium was two-thirds empty. Depressing!
World Cup. The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup is held only every four years. Can you imagine a Stanley Cup, Super Bowl or World Series held only once in four years?
No Hands. Soccer is a game of kicking. Only the goalie can use his hands. Virtually every other team sport in the world depends on excellent hand-eye coordination.