I have previously argued that while soccer will never unseat baseball as the national pastime, or football as the national sport, it is finally settling into a sustainable place in the country’s psyche. There is a huge latent audience for the sport because participation at youth levels are so high.

The big networks seem to think the sport has a sustainable future on US TV screens.

NBC is in its last season of running America’s flagship domestic tournament, Major League Soccer (MLS), but it has been heavily promoting its coverage of the English Premier League (a foreign league, no less) during the World Cup, with ads like these during matches in select cities. Last season, five EPL games drew more than a million viewers on NBC and NBCSN (its cable sports network). The new season begins in August.  “We expect interest in our Premier League & MLS telecasts to grow,” a spokesman told Quartz via email, though he declined to predict ratings.

In May, ESPN, Fox Sports and Univision struck a record deal for rights to broadcast MLS matches for the next eight seasons—crucially, in consistent Friday and Sunday night time-slots.

But the strongest indication that TV soccer has truly come of age in the US might be signs that Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Sports  is using the sport to cement itself as a serious player in the country’s cable sports landscape (as Murdoch has done just about everywhere else). Earlier this year, Fox Sports secured TV rights for the next two World Cups. The rumored price for the ability to show those games to Americans? A cool half a billion dollars.

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