As the creators of the modern beautiful game, it’s not exactly a shocker that “football” stickers are insanely popular in Britain.
Swathes of steadfast soccer fans will buy the official sticker albums of each and every tournament of each and every season and try their hand at filling in all the spaces within.
Soccer sticker collecting has become such a craze in the UK, that you’d be hard pressed to find a single individual that hasn’t partaken in the fun at some point in their life. But can a similar statement be made of the US?
It’s no secret that Americans don’t exactly treat soccer with the reverence we do our national sports such as football, baseball, and basketball. So does that mean there isn’t a market for British “football” stickers in our own backyard? Let’s find out.
Do Americans Like Collecting Soccer Stickers?
Many Americans do indeed enjoy collecting soccer stickers. Enough, I’d say, to label it a popular pursuit. But things weren’t always this way.
Over here in the US, we’ve always been obsessed with sports cards rather than stickers. I think there are a number of reasons for this.
Firstly, cards are more durable, which means they can be kept in good condition; they’re highly tradable, which promotes community growth; and they’re a more significant object, boosting the pleasure factor when you get a good one.
However, with the popularity of soccer growing in the States, more and more focus is being given to the FIFA World Cup. This in turn led to Panini including the US in their target market for soccer stickers.
We can attribute this surge in popularity, in part, to the US acting as host nation for the tournament in 1994. That seemed to provide the spark that, since, has built up to the popularity explosion today.
Are they as popular as the trading cards of other sports, such as basketball and baseball? As a whole, no. Soccer stickers are nowhere near as popular as baseball or basketball cards. However, the sticker collectible in general is absolutely on the rise in the States.
The benefits of sports stickers
We’ve already discussed the benefits of the card format, but the sticker format has a lot going for it as well. Firstly, being that stickers are peeled and set in place, there’s more of a hands-on, ritual-style aspect to them.
Kept in their corresponding albums, they also feel more precious than cards. The satisfaction of completing an album can inspire a deeper love of the hobby.
Stickers are also way more affordable than sports cards. This gives collectors of all walks of life a chance to get in on the fun. Although, as discussed in our article about the capacity of Panini sticker albums, it takes a lot of cash to collect them all.
Why Are “Football” Stickers Growing In Popularity In The US?
There are a few reasons for the steadily growing popularity of soccer stickers in the US. It largely goes hand in hand with the popularity of the sport itself over here. So let’s take a closer look at what has stimulated audience growth in our great nation.
The World Cup
The very existence of the FIFA World Cup is spreading awareness and joy across, you’ve guessed it… the world. As every nation has a chance of competing in this tournament, it’s somewhat branded into the national consciousness of the US.
Even if you’re not a fan of soccer, the hype, pageantry, tension, and top-grade sporting performances of the FIFA World Cup are hard to not get embroiled in.
It’s also a highly televised event, meaning that more people have the chance to watch the games. Which, in turn, means that more people become interested in the stickers surrounding the sport.
Hosting The World Cup
As mentioned earlier, in 1994, USA was drawn to be the host of the FIFA World Cup. Bringing the most prestigious tournament in the beautiful game to American soil.
Hosting the World Cup is an incredibly big deal, and needless to say, many Americans started paying attention to the process, the games, the outcomes, and really, the sport of soccer in general.
Competing In The World Cup
In 1990, 4 years prior to the US hosting the tournament, the American men’s soccer team qualified for the World Cup for the first time since 1950.
Naturally, people were pretty stoked about this, and not just the few hardcore soccer fans dotted around the nation, but everyone.
This qualification was, and still is, a great source of national sporting pride, and it converted a lot of people to the sport. This is no doubt partially responsible for the boom in football sticker popularity across the States.
The men’s US national team continued to qualify for World Cups right up until the unfortunate 2018 qualifiers. They are again though solidifying their position in the approaching 2022 tournament.
This means that soccer stickers will see a huge rise in popularity in the coming months.
Panini MLS Copa America Stickers
Another reason for the proliferation of soccer sticker fever over here in the US is the long overdue focus international sport sticker companies are giving the national soccer establishment.
Panini, an Italian company (if you couldn’t tell by the name), has understandably dedicated most of its resources to creating stickers for more established and nearby markets. But now, the MLS has its own dedicated sticker collection — hooray!
The interest shown internally, to how we play the sport, and our teams, has surely inspired plenty of sports fans to get involved with sticker collecting. And perhaps even encouraged them to order sticker sets based on European teams and tournaments.
Soccer is becoming more popular among tastemakers and celebrities. This has a knock on effect among the general public.
The signing of David Beckham to L.A. Galaxy was a special example of celebrity influence. He was and is one of the most recognized and celebrated soccer players in the world. And here he was joining an American club.
A more recent example of celebrity involvement in the game is the acquisition of Wrexham FC, a Welsh soccer team, by Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney.
These kinds of events prompt more media coverage of the sport in the US. This inevitably leads to more interest in the sport, and thus, the stickers.
Although soccer stickers are becoming more popular in the US in general, the popularity of British “football” stickers specifically isn’t as booming as it could be.
For instance, although Americans may collect World Cup stickers, especially if the US team is involved. They’re unlikely to support a Premiership team or collect stickers pertaining to British tournaments.
Even so, the British soccer sticker market is formulating a decent foundation on American soil. And as awareness and enjoyment of the beautiful game increases over here, so too will the popularity of British soccer stickers.