The most important soccer brand in the world is bullish on U.S. growth, even if it cheekily views the America as a "developing market."
"Soccer is no longer a niche sport in the U.S.," Edward Woodward, CEO of Manchester United, said at the Baron Investment Conference in Manhattan Friday.
"The younger demographic is now playing more soccer, watching more soccer on television," he told an audience of mostly elderly Baron mutual fund shareholders in the Metropolitan Opera House. "They're playing FIFA on their devices, they're following the players and celebrities. It's much more in their psyche."
According to a recent ESPN Sports Poll, for the first time in 20 years Major League Soccer has caught up with Major League Baseball in popularity with tweens and teens. In the survey, both leagues claim 18 percent of 12- to 17 year-olds as avid fans of their sport, the poll said.
Woodward said his publicly traded company had lots more to sell in the U.S.