Watching the World Cup on HDTV made it a completely different (and much more enjoyable) game.
I think that over the next five years you’ll see that change pretty dramatically. Why?
It simply makes the game much more enjoyable for a few reasons.
1) The interesting part of soccer is the strategy off of the ball. For instance, you often can’t see, on normal TV, how the defense is trying to catch the offense off side (unless they replay it after a flag) but on wide-screen HDTV you can see that quite well even if the ball is being played from mid-field. Also, you can see off ball how defenders are matching up, or on corner-kicks you could see a much wider swath of the field.
2) For me I remember watching Pele as a kid (he visited the San Jose Earthquakes). What impressed me about him was his footwork and his trademark scissor kicks. On HDTV I can see the footwork of the players. On normal TV their feet are too blurry to see any of that.
3) The sound. I don’t know why, but it’s better on HDTV. One time during the penalty kicks our HDTV signal went away for some reason so we clicked back to regular NTSC feed of the game. The sound was flat and tinny. This makes the game much more real and immersive. Feels like you’re there.
4) The advertising. On HDTV they can put ads along the sides of the screen, or the top. The scoreboard was often sponsored by Adidas, for instance. On regular TV this form of advertising just isn’t as good and interfers with your enjoyment of the game. On HDTV it seems a lot nicer. In fact, what sucked about most of the advertising? It wasn’t in HD!! Lame.
Yeah, a higher scoring game would be interesting, but I don’t think that’s really what Americans are missing.
Oh, and congrats to Italy (and France). Except for a headbutt late in the game, wonderful game.