06/14/2006 - Just 4% say it's their favorite sport to watch.
The rest of the planet may be in the grip of World Cup mania, but in the United States, soccer is very much an also-ran in fan popularity.
Just 4% of adults in this country rate soccer as their favorite sport to watch, compared with 34% who say this about football, 14% about basketball and 13% about baseball, according to a Pew Research Center telephone survey conducted from February 8 through March 7, 2006 among a randomly-selected representative national sample of 2,250 adults.
At 4%, soccer is roughly in the same league with auto racing and just ahead of ice hockey and ice skating.
What popularity soccer has in this country is anchored among Hispanics - 24% of whom say it is their favorite sport, compared with just 1% of non-Hispanic whites and 2% of blacks. Among Hispanics, soccer and football are about equal in popularity, with baseball ranking a strong third.
Looking at fan interest across all sports, the Pew survey finds that just under half (46%) of the adults in the country say they follow sports, with men (57%) more likely to do so than women (35%). These figures have been stable for more than a decade, as has the primacy that football enjoys over all other sports as a fan favorite.
While football is equally popular among blacks and whites, there is a strong racial difference in fan support for basketball and baseball. Among blacks, 31% name basketball as their favorite sport and just 4% name baseball.
Read the full report Americans to Rest of World--Soccer Not Really Our Thing on the Pew Research Center Web site.