FIFA says U.S. World Cup fans have been more active than those in any other country
It says 36.7 million U.S. fans have accessed World Cup sites, apps within past 28 days
California, New York and Texas are busiest states in visits to World Cup website
U.S. team plays Belgium in World Cup's second round Tuesday
They came up just short in their knockout-round match with Belgium on Tuesday. But online, Team USA is already a World Cup winner.
FIFA, international soccer’s ruling body, says fans in the United States have been more active on its websites and mobile apps than any other country.
During the past 28 days, 36.7 million U.S. fans have engaged with the World Cup’s online properties, a spokesman for the organization said. That’s 11.2% of the country’s population and has accounted for 23% of the total activity.
The news was a surprise to folks at the Zurich, Switzerland-based FIFA. Unlike most nations in the world, soccer has been slow to capture the imagination of sports fans in the States, where “football” is played mainly on Saturdays and Sundays and you can use your hands a lot more.
But as the U.S. men’s team played its way out of a tough opening-round group that included Germany, Portugal and Ghana, U.S. Web users spent a total of 847 years and 143 days engaged with FIFA content.
That’s more than soccer-crazy rivals Brazil, Germany, England and France combined.
Part of all that may be American fans working hard to catch up.
In four years, U.S. visitors to FIFA properties have grown 207%, according to the organization.
A look at the 10 most active states reveals some no-brainers and some surprises.
California and New York rank No. 1 and 2, respectively, in terms of visits to the World Cup website and time spent there.
But Texas, where American football, from “Friday Night Lights” to the Dallas Cowboys, borders on a religious sacrament, has been No. 3.
It’s worth noting that U.S. team captain Clint Dempsey hails from Nacogdoches, Texas.
Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, Washington, Georgia, Massachusetts and Virginia round out the Top 10.
This year’s World Cup is already poised to shatter records as the biggest social-media and Internet event ever.
In its first week alone, the tournament spurred 459 million posts, likes and comments on Facebook, according to the company. That’s more than the Super Bowl, Sochi Winter Olympics and Academy Awards combined.