News: Recent polls and stats on soccer popularity in the USA

Discussion in 'Soccer in the USA' started by Brasitusa, Jun 9, 2014.

  1. Brasitusa

    Brasitusa Member+

    May 14, 2014
    Club:
    New York City FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Unlike our European friends think, soccer is indeed fairly popular in the United States, according to the latest stats and polls.

    12.7 million people play soccer in the United States

    28% of Americans identify themselves as soccer fans (10% of Americans qualify it as "big fans"). Given the country's large population, this is huge and much larger than the population of many traditional soccer countries.

    This is from a sample of all Americans, but when the poll screens for those who play or have played soccer, the rate increases to 59%.

    The sport is more accessible than ever, both at the stadium and on TV. For example, all 380 matches of the English Premier League were broadcast to American TV channels this past season, and 31.5 million Americans tuned in at some point.

    The MLS with 19 franchises is getting to solid grounds, with several soccer-specific stadiums with up to 27,000 seats (the more common number is 20.000 seats)
    MLS players now earn solid six-figure salaries, some of them topping $1 million.
    The leagues' average attendance is currently 18,608 spectators per game, which tops the NBA and the NHL

    Still, 49% of Americans continue to think the sport is either on the dull side or frankly boring. However, 46% think the sport will grow in popularity in the next decade. It is encouraging that the game remains popular among growing demographics such as young Americans and Hispanics, and also scores well with upscale, educated consumers.

    Even though 49% among us continue to feel that soccer is boring, 19% of us define it as exciting and 28% as interesting. That's 47%; we are almost at the point when a majority of Americans will no longer think that soccer is boring. Among those who played youth soccer, already 86% say that soccer is either exciting or interesting, and only 14% call it on the dull side or boring.

    ESPN will air 290 hours of soccer programming in the next 5 weeks for the WC.
    No country outside of Brazil bought more tickets for the tournament than the United States.
    Sales of USMNT jerseys are three times higher as they were four years ago for the 2010 Cup.

    28% of all Americans plan to watch the World Cup. Among soccer fans it goes up to 74% (I'd assume that it's not 100% because the self-defined soccer fans were divided in two categories, "big fans" which is 10% of the population, and "not-so-big fans" which is 18% of all Americans - I'd expect that 100% of the "big fans" will watch; maybe a bit less than that to account for injury, work-related travel, or other impediments).

    For reference, the current population of the United States stands at approximately 318,184,000 people.

    So, 10% of "big" soccer fans accounts for 31.8 million people, and 28% of big fans added to not-so-big fans (but still fans) account for 89 million people. That's very respectable!!!

    Some stats don't look so good in the fact that they are worse than 1994 stats, but the latter must have been influenced by the fact that the WC was in the United States. I'm pretty content with the above numbers.

    All of the above is from an article that appeared recently on the Washington Post.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/sport...579306-ecea-11e3-b10e-5090cf3b5958_story.html

    Opinions?
     
    Marko72 and edcrocker repped this.
  2. cflsteve

    cflsteve Member

    Jul 21, 2013
    Club:
    Philadelphia Union
    Everyone needs to remember that pro soccer in the US is still very young in the Grande scheme of pro sports in this country and Canada. From where the MLS started now 2 decades ago now to where it is now is like night and day.
    If you look at two of the big 4 sports the NFL and NBA You can see the similarities from when they both began in the 1950's.
    NFL teams were playing out of baseball stadiums and college football stadiums. Then came the multi purpose cookie cutter baseball/football stadiums that went up in the 70's to where the NFL is now with its own stadiums. Yet still the 49ers have just gotten out of their cookie cutter stadium. Oakland still is in a cookie cutter stadium and still shares it with the MLB A's.
    Since the Crew built there own SSS stadium now almost every club in the MLS has their own properly sized stadium or a few have or will be taking a modern approach to sharing a stadium with a pro football team like what is happened in Vancouver with BC place and what the new Atlanta franchise has in mind to be able to convert from football capacity size to MLS soccer capacity size.
    Big corner has been turned with ESPN and FOX now with the TV deal.
    The current model of having a National MLSgame on NBC SN being broadcast at the same time as other games with their local broadcaster hurts the TV ratings. ESPN having a game of the week now on the same time and day each week and being the only game being played at that time will bring the ratings up no doubt.
     
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  3. Persona

    Persona Member

    Feb 24, 2014
    #3 Persona, Jun 9, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2014
    12.7 million out of 320 million doesn't say much, you would expect a number like that given the size of the country. Actually, when you look at that number it is embarrassingly low percentage wise compared to countries like Brazil, Mali, Germany, Netherlands, Costa Rica, Arentina, and so on. Again, the US is sending more people to the world cup because 1) They have more money 2) There are millions upon millions of immigrants in the country 3) The population is massive.

    Simple as that. The sport has a very, very, long way to go. It's trending up, but it's nowhere near mainstream. The ratings don't say it. The participation doesn't say it and at the end of the day that's all that matters. You can parade about numbers for the third largest country in the world, but I'm sure China has more than 12.7 million people playing it. Does that mean the country is footy mad? Not even close.
     
  4. Brasitusa

    Brasitusa Member+

    May 14, 2014
    Club:
    New York City FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Well, but there are some other aspects you have to take into account. First, now a much more expressive percentage of Americans declare themselves soccer fans (28%) and don't find it boring (47%); that's way better than before. Second, if you think the participation is small, actually it is the second biggest, all sports considered, only behind basketball. Third, ratings only take into account the MLS, while many American soccer fans follow other leagues on cable and satellite TV such as the Mexican league, the EPL, etc. When you add all viewership figures then the ratings are not as low. Fourth, it's a matter of evolution. There is no doubt that the sport is way more popular now than 20 years ago, and it will be way more popular than it is now, twenty years into the future. And you say there is millions and millions of immigrants as if it's a bad thing, but from the standpoint of ticket sales and merchandise sales, it doesn't matter if the person buying the goodies was born here or an immigrant, it's the same money.

    I'm not saying we're soccer mad yet, but we've made progress.
     
    edcrocker repped this.
  5. cflsteve

    cflsteve Member

    Jul 21, 2013
    Club:
    Philadelphia Union
    Progress is the key word. MLS is becoming more and more popular. The right cities have been idendified and now looking to expand. Big cities that have all of the big four sports have clubs who are drawing crowds and attention. Finding some of the right secondary cities where MLS is the 3rd or 4th option. Plugging expansion into Atlanta as NHL is twice failed MLS can succeed.
     
  6. Brasitusa

    Brasitusa Member+

    May 14, 2014
    Club:
    New York City FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Master O and El Chuma repped this.
  7. Shaun12345

    Shaun12345 New Member

    Jun 5, 2014
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Hate to hijack this thread, but it says I have insufficient privileges to post elsewhere —

    Hi, I'm a journalist writing about the World Cup (http://www.newrepublic.com/article/118028/why-american-soccer-fans-steals-football-customs-europe). I've heard that in the '80s, when the USMNT wasn't doing so hot, and when the West German national team was close to the apex of the soccer world -- they reached both the '82 and'86 WC finals -- some American fans adopted the German NT as their own. Then, these fans continued to root for them, even as the USA got better, to the point where some of them will root against the USMNT come June 26 when we play Germany.

    If this is this true of anyone here, or if you think this is strange, or ridiculous, do drop me a line at smathew@tnr.com. It'd be much appreciated! Sorry for interrupting the thread.
     
  8. Kejsare

    Kejsare Member+

    Mar 10, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    Club:
    Portland Timbers
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
  9. Brasitusa

    Brasitusa Member+

    May 14, 2014
    Club:
    New York City FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Yes, I follow the USMNT, EPL, Serie A, CL, and the Brazilian league which is not listed above. I don't follow the MLS. Maybe I should. In the past I was dismayed with the quality and stopped following (I had made some feeble attempts to become a DC United fan). Maybe I should go back now that the quality has improved.
     
  10. Elninho

    Elninho Member+

    Sacramento Republic FC
    United States
    Oct 30, 2000
    Sacramento, CA
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I've seen a bit of a sea change lately. As recently as 2008, I ran into Americans who would show up at bars to watch USMNT games and root against the US regardless of the opponent -- mostly Eurosnobs who wanted to still have a reason to dump on US soccer. I don't see that any more. Americans seem to respect the European accomplishments of Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley enough to no longer say Americans are bad at soccer.
     
  11. Brasitusa

    Brasitusa Member+

    May 14, 2014
    Club:
    New York City FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Fantastic read, and very true. A country where 28% of the inhabitants define themselves as soccer fans, 47% find it interesting, more than 31 million people follow a foreign league (the EPL) on TV, and the domestic league has average attendance bigger than the NBA's and the NHL's, can no longer be defined as a country where soccer is not mainstream. The haters will be haters (but their generation will end up dying out and progressively substituted by people who grew up familiar with the sport) and will do everything to deny it and look the other way, but there is no doubt that soccer has arrived in America and is here to stay.

    What I find particularly interesting is the EPL viewership on TV. Most detractors of soccer quote small viewership - because the stats tend to only focus on MLS. What I've been saying forever and is now confirmed is that if you want to gauge true soccer viewership in the United States, you have to add foreign league viewership - and now a source has quoted this huge number, putting forever to rest the notion that soccer has small TV viewership in America.
     
  12. Brasitusa

    Brasitusa Member+

    May 14, 2014
    Club:
    New York City FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I really like the fact that interest for the World Cup has grown exponentially:

    InterestWC.JPG
     
  13. blacksun

    blacksun Member+

    Mar 30, 2006
    Seoul, Korea
    Club:
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I wouldn't put too much stock in that sort of retrospective question. To get a real idea of whether people are more excited than they were in 2010 you would need to compare a question asking about their excitement for this world cup to a question asked in 2010 about their excitement for that world cup.
     
  14. Brasitusa

    Brasitusa Member+

    May 14, 2014
    Club:
    New York City FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Good point, but still, people who answered this question can indeed look back and gauge their excitement. For one, I'm more excited now.
     
  15. BostonRed

    BostonRed Member+

    Oct 9, 2011
    Somerville, MA
    Club:
    New England Revolution
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    edcrocker repped this.
  16. Brasitusa

    Brasitusa Member+

    May 14, 2014
    Club:
    New York City FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
  17. Waliatiger

    Waliatiger Member+

    Jul 1, 2013
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    I think more Americans are interested over the event of the WC then anything else more then "soccer" per say. I do think interest, following and attendance figures shows a big upswing in soccer popularity in this nation. However I think people get geeked up over the WC because now it has joined the pantheon of sporting events like the Olympics to Americans something you get excited for every four years. You won't watch a swim meet in 2015 but you will be fixed in on it in 2016 in Rio. Until Americans in mass numbers follow the hex, gold cups, MLS hell even foreign leagues then will soccer entire into the picture with the big 3. ESPN wall to wall coverage with every game being showed and build up has really helped the sport IMO.
     
  18. Waliatiger

    Waliatiger Member+

    Jul 1, 2013
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    What will interesting is the American domestic ratings for the WC. What will it be for the opening game vs Ghana? What will it be in the opener tomorrow (brazil vs Croatia) when the US is not playing. Comparing it to the nba finals rating or 16 million would be a good measuring stick.
     
  19. Brasitusa

    Brasitusa Member+

    May 14, 2014
    Club:
    New York City FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I'm quite sure it will be way more than the 16 million the NBA got.
     
  20. Waliatiger

    Waliatiger Member+

    Jul 1, 2013
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    That would be quite impressive. The Ghana vs USA round of 16 match got 19.4 million so we shall see. If it gets higher then the NBA finals that is very significant.
     
  21. Brasitusa

    Brasitusa Member+

    May 14, 2014
    Club:
    New York City FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    It will, you'll see.
    I'm entirely convinced by now that soccer is already a main stream sport in the US.
     
  22. Waliatiger

    Waliatiger Member+

    Jul 1, 2013
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    What about for tomorrow opener.
     
  23. Coog

    Coog Member

    Jun 29, 2011
    Stockholm
    Nat'l Team:
    Sweden
    Well, even more interesteing, or frightening, is that the number one team USA is rooting against is... USA. You really do have some hard core soccer haters in your country. Me, for one, is tagging on to the US bandwagon since Sweden didn't qualify. Rooting for you yanks!
     
  24. BostonRed

    BostonRed Member+

    Oct 9, 2011
    Somerville, MA
    Club:
    New England Revolution
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Yeah, but it's only 5% rooting against the US. We don't have enough common enemies on the pitch to make them obvious targets.
     

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