The World's Most Popular Sport Tries to Capture U.S. Sports Fans, Again

Americans have purchased more tickets to the World Cup in South Africa than any other nation outside of the host nation.

"Each time that the World Cup comes along, there's more education and there's more exposure of the game," Harkes said.

And as excitement is building for this year's World Cup, the United States is bidding to bring the World Cup back in 2018 or 2022. FIFA will announce the hosts for 2018 and 2022 Dec. 2.

"I think this World Cup is so important in building that excitement and that support to catapult us to hopefully winning the World Cup Bid in 2018 or 2022," said Hamm, a board member of the USA World Cup 2018/2022 Bid Committee.

Hamm is just one member of the star-studded USA World Cup 2018/2022 Bid Committee, including Brad Pitt, Bill Clinton, Calif. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Spike Lee, Drew Carey, Henry Kissinger, and Oscar De la Hoya.

FIFA: 26 Billion Watched 2006 World Cup Tournament

"I want to continue to show FIFA that the sport is growing," Hamm said. "That the fans here are passionate and as dedicated as any fans in the world."

A cumulative audience of 26 billion people watched the 2006 World Cup in Germany, with nearly 17 million Americans watching Italy defeat France in the final match, according to FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association).

"The World Cup final, the energy is enormous," said Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State and board member for the USA 2018/2022 World Cup Bid Committee."I've been to Super Bowls and World Series games and they have their own tension but the World Cup has something very special."

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