Balls and Brews for Breakfast: The World Cup 2014 in Portland
Sports cities are an interesting, albeit neurotic, lot. With one swish of the net as the buzzer sounds, the streets are filled with strangers hugging strangers. A blown lead can leave a pall over an entire town that never fully goes away. It can get to the point where some cities define themselves by their love of a specific sport. Eugene is Tracktown, USA. In a proactive move, Portland declared itself “Soccer City, USA” during the Portland Timbers’ original incarnation in the North American Soccer League, in 1975.
But which city has the strongest claim on that ethereal title? Is it New York, which first popularized the sport in the United States when the Cosmos signed Pelé in 1975? Is it Seattle, which blows all Major League Soccer attendance records out of the water?
As the World Cup brings international attention to soccer, WW takes a look by the numbers at the American cities that have fully embraced the world’s most popular sport, and discovers that Portland is very good at watching soccer in person, and much less good at watching soccer on TV, or—you know–actually playing soccer.