New Survey Finds World Cup Fans Are Even More Passionate Than Expected

The only thing that rivals a win is holding their kid for the first time

“La Ola de la FIFA 2018” surveyed more than 1,000 Hispanic and more than 600 non-Hispanic soccer and non-soccer fans in May. Getty Images

Soccer in the United States is flourishing—especially among young fans—and will continue to grow in interest, according to a study released today by NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises in partnership with Horowitz Research.

“La Ola de la FIFA 2018” surveyed more than 1,000 Hispanic and more than 600 non-Hispanic soccer and non-soccer fans in May. People in the group surveyed were between the ages of 18 to 54 and were offered questions in English and in Spanish, online and in person.

Soccer, the study found, was the most popular sport for Latinxs, who also spend more than the average sports fan.

Of those surveyed, 76 percent of Hispanics and 44 percent of all soccer fans said watching soccer in Spanish provided a more authentic experience than watching in English.

“The enjoyment is higher and perceived to provide a more authentic experience. We wanted to bring the spirit of that to our coverage,” said Reny Díaz, vp of strategic insights and consumer development at NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises.

Citing Nielsen figures, the study’s report found that last year’s soccer’s reach in the U.S. (105 million people) was comparable to the 111 million reached for this year’s Super Bowl and the 106 million reached in last year’s World Series.

But Telemundo boasted having a younger audience with a median age of 43 years old for this year’s World Cup, compared to 47 for this year’s Super Bowl and 55 for last year’s World Series.

“One of the things Latinxs love about watching soccer is that they don’t need commentators narrating, but it’s more about the commentator connecting them with the energy in the stadium,” said Adriana Waterston, svp of insights and strategy for Horowitz Research. “It’s not about understanding the language. It’s much more about understanding the energy [and] the passion.”

Fans are, indeed, passionate about the sport, according to the study’s findings.

Those surveyed were asked to rank life experiences in terms of excitement. The only event they said was more exciting than their country winning the World Cup was holding their child for the first time.

“Soccer is one of these things that really allow us to cross over, to embrace other nationalities, to embrace other cultures, to expand the world through other people’s eyes,” Waterston said.

@SaraJerde Sara Jerde is publishing editor at Adweek, where she covers traditional and digital publishers’ business models. She also oversees political coverage ahead of the 2020 election.