The biggest source of income is not so much the fans watching the games, it is TV rights, merchandizing, doing well in the championship league (the deeper they go, the more money they get) and selling players at a profit.
Yes, agree, but without the fan base, at least in the USA, the TV networks don't want to cover the matches, the merchandizing isn't there because, well, as the corporations see it, no fans, no interest, no merchandise. It's been difficult at best to find networks that will cover MLS matches. Sure, ESPN covers the WC matches but very rarely do they cover an MLS game....unless it is a high profile one. Most are covered by local networks with the occasional NBCSports or ESPN coverage. Recent polls have indicated that soccer is more popular with kids than say baseball, but, kids don't spend money on tickets, jerseys, etc. This is the first time in a long time (probably since the Olympics) that I have seen players like Dempsey endorsing any type of product. Even when you walk into a Dick's Sporting Goods or a Sports Authority, the soccer section, even with the WC going on, just doesn't jump out at you.
I can tell you that in cities like Seattle, we have a tremendous fan base AND we have the support & 'parternship' with our NFL Seahawks club. Until recently, the two clubs had a partnership that included sharing employees as well as back office operations. I'm not sure, however, how many clubs have that same participation from other professional sports teams in their respective cities. While that may not seem like a huge deal, at least in Seattle, it is nice to see Sounders players in the boxes at Seahawk's games supporting them and seeing Seahawk players at the Sounders game. It's just a nice 'boost' to know that both teams not only share the same stadium but support each other.
Whatever happens, the amount of coverage and exposure that soccer is receiving due to the World Cup is definitely warranted and welcome. It can only help increase the understanding and love for the game and dispel the myths that soccer is somehow a 'sissy' sport (I've heard that enough times....argh!)
Just finished watching the Australia v Netherlands game. I really felt for the Australian side.....to know that all that they did to get to the WC and watch their time now be at an end. It must be extremely difficult to play that final game, knowing that no matter how well you play, no matter how much heart you pour into the game.....you won't be going on and that your time at this WC is at an end.