Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski in Soccernomics: Why England Loses, Why Germany and Brazil Win, and Why the U.S., Japan, Australia, Turkey--and Even Iraq--Are Destined to Become the Kings of the World's Most Popular Sport:
The market in sports fans is becoming more global. This means that a century-old model of fandom – the man who supports the hometown team he inherited from his father – is collapsing. The new globalized sports fan will happily snub his local domestic league … if you live in the US and like soccer, you are more likely to support Manchester United than your local MLS team, which in any case may be hundreds of miles from your house. …
These people want to see the real thing. Global fans want global leagues. For most of them, that means the NBA, the NFL, or the Premier League. It was therefore wrong to imagine that Beckham could save American soccer by playing for the Galaxy. American soccer is alive and well and lying on the sofa watching Manchester United on the Fox Soccer Channel (177-8).
(I just wanted to add that I wish I’d written that last sentence … it’s a classic, and I betcha the authors knew it when they wrote it. As someone who writes a lot and often has no idea what people will think of the results, I can tell you that once in awhile, you know.)