Apparent decline in US passion for soccer hides true picture

The number of adult sports fans in the US who say they follow football (soccer) fell in 2013, according to the Global Sports Media Consumption Report.

In 2012, 13 per cent of US sports fans said that they followed football, but this fell to eight per cent this year.

The figure will come as something of a surprise given the growth in the sport at grass roots level in the US and the sharp inflation in the price of media rights for football there.

However, the apparent decline masks the true picture: while only a small number of Americans consider themselves fans of “football” per se, when asked about specific competitions the picture was very different, with 28 per cent of adults saying that they were interested in at least one major club or national team competition. For example, 26 per cent of the population are interested in the Fifa World Cup and 23 per cent in the top domestic league, the MLS.  

In the US, approximately seven out of 10 people follow sports, representing upwards of 170m sports fans. The most popular sports, not surprisingly, are the big three American sports. Half of the adult population follows American football, a third follows baseball, and basketball is third most popular.

Television continues to be used by almost all US fans to follow sport. Online consumption remains the second most popular method, and is now considerably ahead of print. As per 12 months ago, internet-enabled mobile devices are used by just over a third of fans to access sports content.

A third strand of digital access is the use of social networking platforms, which are used by a quarter of fans. The use of traditional media to follow sports, such as print and radio, have both seen a decline in usage between 2012 and 2013.

Well over half (59 per cent) of US sports fans said that their sports consumption had changed in some way in the last two years, with 44 per cent saying they now watch sports in high definition and 22 per cent saying that they have begun to watch sports online.

The Global Sports Media Consumption Report 2013, the third edition of the annual report looking into sports media consumption, provides a snapshot of how sports fans are consuming sports content in an increasingly diverse media landscape.

The report continues to cover a wide range of media (TV, print media, radio, online, social), a wide range of devices (televisions, internet-connected televisions, mobiles, tablets, PCs) and a wide range of sports content formats (video, data, editorial, news) in an attempt to fully understand what, where, and how sports fans are consuming sports media.

This year the report covers 14 global markets, 10 of which, Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Russia, Spain and the USA, were monitored last year. Japan, India, Indonesia and Turkey are covered for the first time.

To order your copy, click on the following link: