sport

12th June 2019

Booming Popularity Of US Sports In Europe

From the deafening roar of hockey fans as their NHL idols glide the ice, to the jubilant screams of soccer supporters as MLS heroes sprint the turf - US sports are being heard loud and clear across Europe.

It was back in 1993 when the NBA (National Basketball Association) made a concerted effort to popularise US sports across the pond, and it’s now reaping the rewards having sold out an arena game in 2018.

And it’s not alone.

Since then, major leagues such as the NFL (National Football League), MLS (Major League Soccer) and the NHL (National Hockey League) have travelled across the Atlantic to attract die-hard fans looking to get their Anglo-American sports fix. Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, and Finland were graced with the NHL’s presence in 2017 and 2018. And, in 2019, it looks like Prague might get a chance to host some NHL action. The MLB (Major League Baseball) is also making its eagerly anticipated European debut in the next few weeks.

At IMG ARENA we have seen NHL grow in popularity since we launched the live stream in 2013 and in 2018 we streamed over 1,300 matches to 2.25 million unique viewers.

For NHL hockey fans, the Stanley Cup Final is upon us. After a dramatic play-offs, where the San Jose Sharks looked like they would make it, the Boston Bruins and St Louis Blues clinched their places in the final. The Bruins are heavy favourites but St Louis even making the Final is miraculous. They now find themselves level in the series 3-3, with just one game to go.  

As the MLS proves, it’s not just one-sided either, with teams such as Manchester United and Chelsea playing in the US regularly. We added MLS to our live streaming in 2015 and like the NHL it has become one of our most popular properties with 39.4 million total views in 2018 and 6.15 million unique viewers.

The MLS is in full flow, so for English Premier League soccer fans who can’t wait until the new season starts in August – you’re in luck. Former Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney is currently making waves for D.C. United with eight goals and five assists in just 16 appearances this season. World-class players such as Nani (Orlando) and Zlatan Ibrahimović (Los Angeles) are also gracing the MLS turf, and hence it is rapidly becoming a force to be reckoned with as a league no die-hard football fan should want to miss.

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