2018 FIFA World Cup Begins This Thursday in Russia
The Super Bowl may be arguably the biggest American television event, but nothing compares to the global zeitgeist domination of the FIFA World Cup, opens a new window. Played every four years, the World Cup brings the best soccer (or football if you live pretty much anywhere but here in the US) players to the world stage. The competition also serves as a place to promote the host's culture to the rest of the world, through feature stories sportscasters seem to love to do, branding and ad's, and the Opening Ceremony.
This year, the ceremony will take place a mere 30 minutes before the match between Saudi Arabia and the host of the cup, Russia.
Another interesting tidbit about the World Cup this time around has to do with those participating in it, or rather, those who aren't. This is to say, the upsets that placed frequent cup contenders on the outside looking in. Teams like the Netherlands, Italy, and Chile, who are all household name contenders, were left with their hands in their pockets after failing to meet the mark during the World Cup Qualifiers.
However, there are some surprising entries this year, including newcomer Panama, who knocked out the US, newcomer Iceland, who is managed by a part-time dentist, and back after a 36-year absence, Perú, who beat out Chile on goal difference.
There are some very exciting matchups during the group stage, like Portugal v Spain, Argentina v Iceland, and the match that I have a vested interest in as I am Mexican American and my roommate is German, Mexico v Germany.
As I mentioned above, the US was knocked out during qualifiers, so It will be interesting to see how the viewership and overall excitement over the tournament will be affected. According to CBS, the average US viewership numbers from the 2010 World Cup were 2.9 million viewers compared to the 4.3 million viewer average in the 2014 World Cup, an increase of about 50 percent. However, viewership for the 2018 World Cup draw (the event that determines matchups for the competition) was down 87 percent (489,000 to 65,000 average viewers) compared to the last World Cup draw, according to ESPN.
The World Cup starts this Thursday and you can catch it on Fox and Fox Sports 1 for the English broadcast and Telemundo and NBC Universo for the Spanish broadcast (transmissión en español).
Titles to Get You Pumped
Are you excited for the World Cup? Who's your favorite to take home the cup? Let us know below!