USA 94: the World Cup that distracted Americans from Oprah and OJ

by Theguardian

Football

Hand-wringing over American indifference was allayed by a World Cup that offered up thrills aplenty while smashing attendance records

There will never be a weirder year in American sports than 1994. The Tonya Harding-Nancy Kerrigan affair. OJ Simpson charged with double murder. The World Series straight up didn’t happen. All while the greatest basketball player on the planet was platooning the outfield for a minor-league baseball team in Alabama.

And the World Cup was somewhat awkwardly staged in a country without a top-level soccer league, whose collective attitude toward the sport ranged from apathetic to downright hostile, where domestic TV announcers were made to explain the game to the uninitiated masses and where weapons-grade commercialism was not a bug but an essential feature.

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