While soccer – football – is a national mania in many countries, that’s not always the case in the U.S. The nation is a big, four-time-zone country accustomed to cheering for local teams, and Americans have been slower to get behind soccer like the rest of the world. As the 2014 FIFA World Cup approached, the U.S. Soccer Federation saw an opportunity to bring the nation together in support of one national team – a team that would need all the support it could get, as it was part of the “Group of Death,” which included eventual champion Germany, Portugal and Ghana.
The U.S. Soccer Federation launched “One Nation. One Team.” to mobilize Americans, uniting 319 million people across 50 states to connect with their team, the game and the nationalism that comes with the World Cup. PR-led events and watch parties spring-boarded a movement across earned, owned and shared channels.
The U.S. team advanced into the Round of 16. And the “One Nation. One Team.” campaign was successful, as well: The 2014 World Cup was the most-viewed soccer tournament ever in the country, with viewership surpassing the previous MLB World Series and NBA Finals. Nielsen reported that those who’ve attended a major soccer match nearly doubled from the previous World Cup, rising 8 percent. Plus, Americans who’ve watched, attended or listened to a major soccer match increased 32 percent.