Obviously, I'm not the greatest World Cup fan--I've been following it mostly because my peers follow it. I tend to stick with the NFL and, to a lesser extent, the NBA. If I still had a TV, I'd probably watch a lot of boxing.
But that said, the conservative hate of soccer doesn't make much sense to me. Marc Thiessen charges that Americans don't like soccer because it's "a socialist sport." Yglesias counters:
....in China the most popular team sport is basketball and there's tremendous passion for table tennis. The most popular sports in India (and Pakistan and Bangladesh) are cricket and field hockey. I'm told that in Indonesia badminton and tennis are the most popular. In Russia and Canada it's ice hockey.Which isn't to deny that many people in those countries may enjoy soccer as well--many Americans like soccer. But "the world" is not the same as "Europe and Latin America." Indeed, I believe the countries I've just been naming account for about half the world's people. And I don't think there's any particularly clear sense in which China is less socialistic than, say, Chile.It's of course true that Europe and Latin America are the regions of the world with which the United States has the most historical ties so they loom large. Even here, though, there are problems. Cuba and Venezuela aren't exactly bastions of free market capitalism, but the most popular sport in those countries in baseball.
I'd be willing to hear some more credible explanations for why some conservatives don't like the World Cup. But at the moment, all I'm coming up with is a kind of crude nationalism that resents having to compete in an international competition that we may not win.