I only care about any sports once every four years. Even then I don’t follow either of the Olympics, but the World Cup. For those who don’t know, the World Cup is the primary international championship for soccer.
During this year’s Winter Olympics I found a Disney-related story about them to share. Because I care much more about the World Cup, I really wanted to find something similar to talk about in relation to Disney and the World Cup.
I did manage to turn up a couple topics. If you’re in the Orlando area and would like to watch a World Cup match the Disney way, then the Disney Parks Official blog has some suggestions for you.
The Raglan Road restaurant in Downtown Disney is opening specially at 10 a.m. for the month of June and serving Irish breakfast all day so patrons can come in for a meal and watch a game. ESPN Club also starts serving at 10:30 a.m. for the same reason between June 11-29 and on July 2 and 3.
If you want to catch one of the early games that air at 7 a.m., Disney’s still got you covered. ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill opens for a limited breakfast just in time for the first game, and has lunch specials for the 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. games.
Additionally, the Grill will provide a buffet with guaranteed seating/game viewing from June 26 to July 10, with a special viewing area put together for the final match on July 11. On top of that, for select games the Grill will air the matches in 3D.
Disney World’s expanded efforts to throw World Cup parties for park customers reflects the growing popularity of soccer in the United States. Now Walt Disney Corporate’s responding to the sport’s rising fame in the States as well.
Because the viewing statistics for the World Cup in America have already gotten so high, and even beforehand the sport received a lot of buzz thanks to some of its famous stars (like David Beckham and Landon Donovan), Disney has signed off on providing greater soccer coverage on its channels in the years to come.
According to Reuters, ESPN will now air 46 English Premier League matches live, and will play live 75 matches both on the weekend and mid-week. Coverage of soccer like that in the States was unheard of previously, in spite of the fact that American ratings for the 2006 World Cup beat out those of that year’s NBA championship.
As far as I’m concerned, we’re just catching up with the rest of the world. Whenever the Olympics roll around everyone talks about how the event unites the world in companionship and friendly competition, but to be honest the Olympics don’t do that nearly as much as the World Cup and we’re almost the only country missing out.
Across the globe the World Cup is a huge deal accompanied by fervor and celebrations that I never see the like of during Olympic coverage. Maybe I’m biased because I played soccer for years and I love it, but I think we Americans need to get in on the party.
Luckily it looks like we’ve already started to, and I’m glad that the execs over at Disney Corp., whose ESPN is a main source of sports coverage in this country, are finally recognizing that.