Study after study indicates that time spent using the internet is making humans less patient and more neurotic.
From the moment people are waking up until the moment they go to sleep, time spent with the Internet changes how people react and behave. Its effects are impossible to ignore.
And these effects can be a positive for Soccer, especially as the game attempts to gain a stronger foothold in the United States.
The speed of the information from the Internet is making it harder for people to concentrate on other things in life that are slower to develop and take more personal time, like reading a book or watching a baseball game.
The same was said when television came along so many years ago, but the Internet has one big difference than its TV counterpart: the Internet pushes people to multi-task as part of their daily routine.
Now, people are getting used to an overload of information. There’s not time for the mundane.
MLS Uniquely Positioned Because Of Game Length
This is another reason why Major League Soccer should thrive among sports fans. It provides a more condensed version of drama than the other ‘big four’ spectator sports, including college basketball and football.
Of all of them, Soccer is the only one to consistently reach its climax and conclude all in under two hours.
Football, both college and pro, have been known to labor over three hours long and many times, as long as three and a half or up to four hours.
Hockey has always been a timekiller, going routinely past two and a half hours and up to three.
Baseball has been taken to task by fans and the media in recent years for its elongated, episodic crawls, sometimes taking two hours and 15 minutes, but usually averaging closer to two and a half up to three hours and more.
College basketball is the closest to the two hour mark, usually only a few minutes over. The NBA is a certainty for at least two hours and twenty minutes.
And, what about overtime? College football is taking forever now with its unusual take on playing the sport without special teams during extra time; and now in order to have a winner, sometimes three, four, or five overtimes is necessary.
Baseball goes on forever in extra innings sometimes, too. Are the younger generations going to settle for these extraordinarily tedious endings?
All the different mainstream sports will have to make more changes in the future in order to keep fans engaged. The Internet and technology in general have made it so that many people for years now have been less interested n watching games and more interested in just watching their tickers for score updates.
MLS Must Seize Opportunity
MLS should be able to take advantage by helping sports fans get to the point faster. Generations are being built with shorter attentions spans, but maybe with greater intellectual capacity.
If Soccer really is the ‘beautiful game,’ then it is designed to attract sports fans in the U.S. in droves.
Popularity of the different spectator sports changes just like anything else in the world. This changing landscape shouldn’t be taken for granted.
Evolution theory proves the weak ones drop off and the strong ones build more strength as they survive.
For so many people, the Internet has pushed the limits and emphasizes how important time is for the individual.
Sports fans may be turned off by their time being wasted, and Soccer may be the fit they are looking for in their sports watching schedule.
Howard Alperin is Managing Editor of AmericanizeSoccer.com