This means that soccer is in fifth place in popularity according to the American sports fans preferences. There could be a nationalistic reason behind this negative perception of soccer in the United States.
3.- Americans don't like games that can end up in draws and this is a cultural factor. The big 3 major team sports (basketball, baseball and American football) suffered different rules changes in the twentieth century to make them more popular.
4.- Sports fans from the United States would like to see a change of rules in soccer, but this could be controversial for the rest of the world. It wouldn't be soccer if only the Americans make a change of the rules; it would be a different game for the rest of the world.
1.- The most obvious marketing factor is the barriers to entry into the market. The four top team sports cover most of the space, and the space is limited. There cannot be too many sports in the consumer's minds. Too many options are not good from the marketing point of view.
2.- But the barriers to entry can also be explained as another kind of limit. It has to do with the motivation about watching soccer. It is about enjoying the game itself. It is about satisfying the needs of watching an easy game with easy rules. But basketball fills these needs already for the American sports fans as basketball and soccer are similar in several relevant ways as Mandelbaum pointed out in his article.
3.- Another reason related to this similarity is that basketball is a strong substitute. It has deep roots in the American sports fans. Its roots are very difficult to change through marketing efforts. It would cost a lot of money to advertise soccer in new ways to make it more appealing to the American audience.
4.- A change of the rules is needed in order to make soccer popular in the United States but this solution is very controversial even from the marketing point of view.
We think that both reasons get combined together to make soccer a loser in the American market. Both cultural (or nationalistic) and marketing reasons play their role in making Americans indifferent towards the most popular game in the world. Mandelbaum states the following about the similarities between basketball and soccer:
"Spectators see the same thing in the two games: episodes of spontaneous coordination, with players devising and implementing schemes for scoring. They see, that is, acts of creation. If architecture is, as is sometimes said, music set in concrete, then football and basketball may be said to be creativity embodied in team sports. () Football and basketball are therefore the team sports that most vividly evoke a common human fantasy: to leave the ground and fly through the air. () Their marked similarities, however, also mean that the two sports duplicate each other. They provide the same satisfactions. For spectators they are, in a sense, alternatives. North Americans don't need football because they already get what it has to offer from basketball."