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Why is soccer so popular?


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With no RL I have started watching the Fifa World Cup for my sporting fix and to say I found it under whelming would be an understatement.  Watching the Spain v Germany amount of passing at the back put me to sleep among other FIFA World Cup games and I honestly do not understand how it is the most popular sport in the world. England v USA a snoozefest  even Mexico v Argentina was dull until Messi scored, the Brazil game again not was nothing amazing until Richarson bicyle kick.  I get the games are closer in general  and more chance of upsets but even the mentality of weaker teams is stay back defend and hope from an error from the opposition rather then trying to take the game to the opposition, the diving is just a joke yes in RL players dive to get an obstruction penalty but soccer is to another level , legit there are dives when players have not even being touched.  I want to enjoy it as its the world game, and huge sporting event it crazy how much more popular soccer compared to rugby league even though rugby league is the superior sport. If we were to get 100 people from some remote island with no contact with world and made them watch both sports side to side I am certain majority will pick RL as superior sport.  I know is a small sample size but RL just lacks exposure,  I took world colleagues one from Portugal the other from Colombia to an NRL match and they loved it and now are fans unfortunately for the Sharks.  Look at the big 5 European Leagues and its the same teams winning it essentially, unless for a Leicester City miracle a supporter of West Ham, Torino or Hertha Berlin will never win the title unless they are bought out by a rich owner how depressing knowing you know your team can never win.  

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14 minutes ago, Young Blood said:

With no RL I have started watching the Fifa World Cup for my sporting fix and to say I found it under whelming would be an understatement.  Watching the Spain v Germany amount of passing at the back put me to sleep among other FIFA World Cup games and I honestly do not understand how it is the most popular sport in the world. England v USA a snoozefest  even Mexico v Argentina was dull until Messi scored, the Brazil game again not was nothing amazing until Richarson bicyle kick.  I get the games are closer in general  and more chance of upsets but even the mentality of weaker teams is stay back defend and hope from an error from the opposition rather then trying to take the game to the opposition, the diving is just a joke yes in RL players dive to get an obstruction penalty but soccer is to another level , legit there are dives when players have not even being touched.  I want to enjoy it as its the world game, and huge sporting event it crazy how much more popular soccer compared to rugby league even though rugby league is the superior sport. If we were to get 100 people from some remote island with no contact with world and made them watch both sports side to side I am certain majority will pick RL as superior sport.  I know is a small sample size but RL just lacks exposure,  I took world colleagues one from Portugal the other from Colombia to an NRL match and they loved it and now are fans unfortunately for the Sharks.  Look at the big 5 European Leagues and its the same teams winning it essentially, unless for a Leicester City miracle a supporter of West Ham, Torino or Hertha Berlin will never win the title unless they are bought out by a rich owner how depressing knowing you know your team can never win.  

These are just certain games you’ve cherry-picked in order to suit your narrative.

I actually like both games of RL and football but could easily have done the same with the recent RLWC highlighting certain group games that were one-sided, dull, underwhelming and put me to sleep etc leaving out the exciting PNG v Tonga game or both semi-final games etc.

Football or soccer as you call it is exciting because of its simplicity and there’s got to be a reason why it’s the global game loved by probably billions of people the world over.

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17 minutes ago, Tommygilf said:

Soccer is popular the world over because of its simplicity and accessibility. 

 

 

This is a bit dated - nudging thirty years old - but a lot of it still stands up ...

 

Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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Agreed it’s simple. Taking the hands out of the game eliminates a lot of issues ther variables that come with hand involvement. The fact you can only use your feet makes it simple. 
 

literally there’s like 3 rules in the game. Rugby probably has 150 laws and interpretations. Rugby league has about 30-40. 
 

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Football is better watched live where the crowd atmosphere raises things and you can see what is going on off the ball

I agree with the OP and struggle to watch most TV games without nodding off

Watching football in the lower or non leagues is also better.  Less skill but much more passion and “contact”.  No diving or play acting either 

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I realise this is somewhat off topic, but I was  born and brought up in God's country immediately after the second World War, and "football" as it is now known, always was called "soccer".

On the topic raised by the OP, soccer is more popular because it's the better game. 

"Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth."

JohnM - 17/01/2023

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47 minutes ago, headtackle said:

Watching football in the lower or non leagues is also better.  Less skill but much more passion and “contact”.  No diving or play acting either 

Your point about non-league football is good. As some on here know I have been attending my local non-league team this year since they got admitted into the 10th tier and can now automatically work their way up through the divisions.

We get about 250 spectators on average and you're literally a couple of metres from the action. Due to this I discovered one of the best things about non-league football; because you're so close to the game you can hear what the players are saying to each other and their communication with the referee and this really helps you to understand and appreciate some of the aspects of the game that are completely lost when watching on TV. Also being so close means you can hear and see better the impact in tackles which makes you realise that football is actually a bit more physical than again might be put across on the box-o-tronic. 

Edited by The Hallucinating Goose
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Football can be entertaining and exciting and unlike either form of rugby a greatly superior team can get turned over on an off day by a far weaker one. Its simple to play, kids from anywhere can play it without kit, boots, goals or even a proper ball. You don't need any technique to generally not hurt yourself and you can play with almost any number of people.  That's why its global.

Having said all that I really don't enjoy watching football at all. The dullness of some games is truly something to behold, and I think its got worse as basic technical skills have improved, as even poor teams at the World Cup can roll the ball around at the back and chew up time, and the aim of a lot of teams is to just not let a goal in.

 

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47 minutes ago, Iceberg Slim said:

Agreed it’s simple. Taking the hands out of the game eliminates a lot of issues ther variables that come with hand involvement. The fact you can only use your feet makes it simple. 
 

literally there’s like 3 rules in the game. Rugby probably has 150 laws and interpretations. Rugby league has about 30-40. 
 

This.

Simply comparing the 2 sports of football and rugby(league&union) you can have a 6’6 and 17st physical freak running with the ball at full speed at a 5’6 11st fit athlete and 99 times out of 100 the 6’6&17st Goliath will run over the 5’6&11st player but in football that overwhelming physical advantage is neutered because of the no handling the ball law and the smaller built players can beat the bigger players with trickery or speed or agility or all of the 3 combined(think of maradona, Messi, best and giggs etc).

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Our forum colleague Damien posted the following below; I've copied and pasted it. I think he's spot on, but possibly the consequences are not immediately apparent.  They are  that any sport with the drawbacks Damien mentioned isn't going to be mass appeal, especially not to TV.  Football obviously doesn't have these problems. 

( from the thread, RLWC What are your highs and lows )

I think whilst this is true the nature of RL is the problem too. A much better team will always batter a much poorer one. There is no holding on for a 0-0 draw like in Football or possibly being able to nick a goal from a corner or free kick and winning the game. There is no being able to hide behind a decent set piece in like in Union, as teams like Argentina and Georgia have historically been able to. In modern day RL there is generally one way to play the game and if you can't keep up with the pace and intensity you are screwed before we even get to difference in skill.

Edited by HawkMan
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1 hour ago, headtackle said:

Football is better watched live where the crowd atmosphere raises things and you can see what is going on off the ball

I agree with the OP and struggle to watch most TV games without nodding off

Watching football in the lower or non leagues is also better.  Less skill but much more passion and “contact”.  No diving or play acting either 

I'd agree lower or non-league football is generally a better watch. Although, the 'tippy-tippy, apparently going nowhere, non-contact' style of top-level football, not to mention 'simulation', is creeping in lower down the pyramid. Problem is, all managers and coaches now go on the same FA courses, which preach the virtues of deadly dull 'take no risks, possession is everything, we'll take a 1-0 win' football.

Edited by Hopping Mad
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6 minutes ago, Hopping Mad said:

I'd agree lower or non-league football is generally a better watch. Although, the 'tippy-tippy, apparently going nowhere, non-contact' style of top-level football, not to mention 'simulation', is creeping in lower down the pyramid. Problem is, all managers and coaches now go on the same FA courses, which preach the virtues of deadly dull 'take no risks, possession is everything, we'll take a 1-0 win' football.

Perhaps it's all Pep Guardiola's fault,  he started Tiki-Taka  at Barcelona!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiki-taka

Edited by HawkMan
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20 minutes ago, HawkMan said:

Our forum colleague Damien posted the following below; I've copied and pasted it. I think he's spot on, but possibly the consequences are not immediately apparent.  They are  that any sport with the drawbacks Damien mentioned isn't going to be mass appeal, especially not to TV.  Football obviously doesn't have these problems. 

( from the thread, RLWC What are your highs and lows )

I think whilst this is true the nature of RL is the problem too. A much better team will always batter a much poorer one. There is no holding on for a 0-0 draw like in Football or possibly being able to nick a goal from a corner or free kick and winning the game. There is no being able to hide behind a decent set piece in like in Union, as teams like Argentina and Georgia have historically been able to. In modern day RL there is generally one way to play the game and if you can't keep up with the pace and intensity you are screwed before we even get to difference in skill.

Our sport like you said has no fall backs like other sports. In rugby you can play a tactical kicking game like most northern hemisphere teams would do (don’t watch much rugby nowadays but they might have changed) which was a way to nullify running rugby. In rugby if you have a strong set piece your always likely to get a penalty or a rolling maul. So if you’re team isn’t the best you can still find other ways to win  

football you can put 10 men back defensively if you wanted to. 
 

in basketball you can play zone (not so much in the nba) but still a way if you don’t have the most athletic players you can use it to limit the other teams offence. 
 

nfl if you have a good defense you can sometimes nullify your own teams bad offense. 
 

the problem with rugby league is that the other team is guaranteed a certain amount of possession whereas in other sports the possession isn’t as skewed to one team for a certain period. Most sports possession changes quickly or in basketball the other team get possession after a score. NFL even kick the ball back to the defensive team. 
 

Rugby league is brutal in that you have to absorb an onslaught for 6 tackles at full pace while retreating 10metres each time. Now with the 6 again that period is even longer. Hence why I’m not a fan of 6 again. Plus the nrl are trying to have the ball in play almost the entire game so that again is another reason it’s brutal. Similar to the 6 again you can’t slow the game down it has to keep going. 
If there was a way of ruining the game it was the likes of the Melbourne storm and the incompetency of the nrl to be fair has put most fans off the game  it was refreshing watching the World Cup because I felt the nrl had become anti rugby league in there product there were never any good games really and had become a game of athleticism than actual footballing skill  it feels like that era of free flowing rugby league has gone  

I don’t think there is another sport like it. In saying that it’s beautiful when 2 teams are evenly matched it’s enthralling and nothing like it. 

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To me, it's a bit like being in a band and you're fairly good, excellent musicians and have a decent following. But then say, the Rolling Stones play the same night as you, there's only going the one show in town. You can either accept this or stew in your jealousy, either way that's reality.

I don't actually follow football these days and tbh I aren't even sure who won the PL last? Man City at a guess. But there is a reason why it's as popular as it is - it's a simple game and easy to see what's happening. It also spread itself around the world while Rugby was arguing about paying people. This was the fault of RU but it's irrelevant now as 'rugby' will never catch up.

IMO there will not be a game as good as the RLWC semi between Aus-NZ in this whole FIFA WC. But these games are simply too few and football can have exciting games even if the standard isn't necessarily that great. Two uneven teams in RL results in a walkover sadly. 

Take it Off! Take it Off! 

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My son loves soccer. He’s also had the opportunity to play in Australia, Europe and North America. I’ve watched a lot of his matches but I really struggle to watch a game he isn’t playing in. I only discovered the back-pass rule a few weeks ago which shows how much i pay attention.

For me, it looks fun to play but absolutely boring to watch.

I think it just got in very early as an organised sport and laid a solid foundation in most places that other sports will not usurp.

Edited by Copa
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3 hours ago, Tosh said:

These are just certain games you’ve cherry-picked in order to suit your narrative.

I actually like both games of RL and football but could easily have done the same with the recent RLWC highlighting certain group games that were one-sided, dull, underwhelming and put me to sleep etc leaving out the exciting PNG v Tonga game or both semi-final games etc.

Football or soccer as you call it is exciting because of its simplicity and there’s got to be a reason why it’s the global game loved by probably billions of people the world over.

Didn't cherry pick Spain v Germany was best group game, Argentina v Mexico two great soccer nations. It's unfair to compare Rlwc to Fifa as one has much more talent. That's why I used NRL as better comparison. Greece Jamaica Lebanon were not even playing RL  25 years ago so it's unfair to compare it to Soccer world cup.  NFL is biggest league in the world yet its most complex game so simple isn't everything. While Cycling and Running are more simple then soccer and not as popular. 

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To elaborate. 

Simplicity. It is a very easy game to understand compared to most other sports. As has been pointed out, there are maybe only 3-4 critical rules to the game functioning. Anyone can understand a game of football whereas a lot of people will be turned away from rugby due to the complexity of it. You can't just sit down having never watched a game of rugby and immediately know what's going on. 

To enjoy the game you don't need to follow the game to the letter of the law when playing either. You can take a small part of the game and just play that; stick your mate in goal and just take random shots at him. With RL, you could just kick goals over a post fair enough, but kicking the ball, going and retrieving it, kicking a goal etc etc would get very boring. You could run with the ball and see if you get past your mate in defence and score a try but it really seems that taking just a small part of RL and playing it feels like just doing a training drill over and over whereas taking shots at your mate and trying to score more and more elaborate goals and your mate trying to make extravagant saves would be a lot more fun. 

Accessibility. There are so many different ways to play the game. You can have any number of players to play a form of football including just playing on your own if you can't find anyone to play with.

You don't need all the correct equipment to play the game. You don't need goalposts or a ball even, all you need is a couple of markers of some description, whether that be a couple of stones or a couple of twigs, or holes in the ground or even just kick the ball against a wall with a couple of chalked lines or even just find a couple of trees close together to kick through. I remember once seeing a show in Africa (I think it was) and kids were just playing with a blown up carrier bag as a ball but it worked for them. 

The amount of football teams also makes it a heck of a lot more accessible. I think I saw a stat recently that said in England (I think it was just England) there is over 700 football clubs and 1,000 teams. The local non-league team to me is just a walk away and costs just a few quid to get in. They are a 10th tier team and even at that level regularly get 300 people in attendance. There is a local amateur RL team close by as well but I do live in the heartland of course so a good lot of people in Britain will be nowhere near a rugby team. 

Just some of the reasons football is so popular. 

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