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The World What?

Photo: AP Photo/Elise Amendola

This week on our Karr on Culture podcast: The world’s most popular sport owes something to the U.S. — and Americans could stand to learn a thing or two about soccer

This year’s World Cup is proving to be a big hit among American TV viewers. The last time this many of us watched the world’s most popular sporting event was when we hosted it ourselves in 1994. Yet many Americans still don’t understand the game — and others seem to outright loathe it. Stefan Szymanski has some ideas about that. He’s a professor of economics at Cass Business School in London who studies the business and culture of sports worldwide. He says some Americans resist soccer because they fear the creep of globalization and worry that the game erodes American exceptionalism. Yet U.S. sports played a big role in the evolution of soccer as a professional game. At the same time, he thinks American professional sports could learn a thing or two from soccer. And he thinks it won’t be long before the United States men’s national team comes to dominate the game.

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