Euro 2012 saw Spain making history, becoming the first country to win three major tournaments in a row. It also saw the continued growth of the sport in the United States, and a comparison between viewing numbers from this tournament and 2008's shows the vast strides soccer has made in the North American market.
ESPN averaged 1.3M viewers for its Euro 2012 coverage, up 51 percent in viewers from 2008 (859,000 viewers).— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) July 3, 2012
There's obviously plenty of room for further growth, but the increase is impressive and indicative of soccer truly beginning to take hold in the United States. It's unclear whether it'll ever be considered a 'major' sport, especially in comparison to the likes of the NFL and the NBA, but it's certainly not going away anytime soon.
The 2014 World Cup, which occurs in a much USA-friendlier time zone than this year's Euros, will be an even more important barometer of just where sports fans in the country stands on soccer. And all signs are pointing to some very big numbers.