Fans in Massachusetts love a variety of sports and, unlike in many parts of the United States, soccer has long been among the most popular games.
Though sportsbooks in Massachusetts won’t be legal in time for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, that has not dimmed the interest level for soccer’s biggest event in the Bay State.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup kicks off on Nov. 20 when host Qatar faces Ecuador. The United States is in Group B and begins group play on Nov. 21 against Wales. The tournament ends with the final on Dec. 18.
U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter named his 26-man roster for the World Cup on Wednesday but there are no Massachusetts natives on the list, nor does the New England Revolution of Major League Soccer have any representation.
With all of that in mind, BetMassachusetts.com set out to measure the enthusiasm level in each state for the World Cup.
Sports betting in the state is set to launch in early 2023, with retail books perhaps in January followed by online Massachusetts betting apps probably in time for the men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament in March.
Massachusetts High Among World Cup-Loving States
We used Google Trends to find the highest search volume of the term “World Cup” in the United States over a 30-day span ending Nov. 2. BetMassachusetts.com then assigned a score for each state on a scale of 100 to establish interest level compared to other topics.
Massachusetts tied Texas for third with a score of 64. Only California (89 points) and New Jersey (76 points) rated higher.
For other northern or eastern states – New York, Connecticut, Maryland and Virginia – tied for fifth at 62 points. Florida (61) and Utah (58) round out the top 10.
2022 FIFA World Cup, States With Most Interest
Soccer Roots Run Deep in Massachusetts
At DraftKings Sportsbook MA, Brazil is the +400 favorite to lift its sixth World Cup, extending its record. Argentina is second at +500 followed by defending champion France at +700. The United States, which missed qualifying for the World Cup in 2018 but has a young squad with several players plying their trade in Europe’s top leagues as well as Major League Soccer, is listed at +13000. That’s tied for 16th in the 32-team field.
And though Massachusetts residents cannot bet on the World Cup in a legal, regulated market (unless they travel to Connecticut, New Hampshire or New York), they will be bringing their soccer passion with them into the tournament.
The New England Revolution is a charter member of MLS, which began play in 1996, and shares Gillette Stadium in Foxboro with the NFL’s New England Patriots. But that’s just recent history. The New England Tea Men played in the old North American Soccer League in the late 1970s. Well before that, Fall River native Bert Patenaude scored four goals at the inaugural World Cup in 1930, including the first hat trick in World Cup history against Paraguay.
For events following this year’s World Cup, Massachusetts sportsbook promos will be available here at BetMassachusetts.com when online sports wagering launches in the state.