World Cup Audience Is More Than Core Soccer Audience

    NEW YORK , N.Y. – June 11, 2014 – The first matches are only hours away, and over the course of the month-long tournament billions (with a b) of viewers will look to catch some of the action, whether,on TV, on the radio, viaother assorted media or even on-site. But while most of the world is getting ready for the event, here in the U.S. neither the tournament nor soccer itself have reached mainstream acceptance. However, demographics give reason to believe this might change over time, as younger generations of Americans are showing far more interest in the sport and event alike than their older counterparts.

    These are some of the results of The Harris Poll¨ of 2,286 adults surveyed online between May 14 and 19, 2014.

    One in ten Americans (10%) says soccer (men’s and/or women’s) is a sport they follow, putting it on the same ground as men’s tennis (with 10% following that as well). This is relatively small when compared to the half of Americans who follow pro football (51%), the nearly four in ten following baseball (37%) or the three in ten who follow men’s college football (30%). However, it’s worth noting that interest in soccer is stronger among younger generations of Americans (11% Millennials, 16% Gen Xers, 6% Baby Boomers, 5% Matures), which runs inverse to the trend seen for most sports, with older Americans typically more likely to display an interest.

    World Cup interest reaches beyond soccer fans

    Compared to the 10% of Americans who follow soccer, interest in watching or listening to various stages of the 2014 World Cup specifically is considerably higher, indicating that for some the tournament may be a global event first, a soccer event second. While interest in watching or listening predictably rises through the tournament’s progressive stages, even the first round is of interest to two in ten Americans (19%), or double the percentage who follow soccer. By the final match, one-third of Americans (33%) – including over a fourth (27%) of those who don’t follow soccer – say they’re interested in watching or listening.

    Turning again to interest by generation, Millennials and Gen Xers show stronger interest than Baby Boomers and Matures throughout the tournament, ranging from over one-fourth of the younger generations (27% each vs. 11% Baby Boomers, 8% Matures) interested in watching or listening to the first round to roughly four in ten (42% Millennials, 39% Gen Xers) showing interest in the final match.

    Interest is stronger still among Hispanic Americans, with roughly half showing an interest in the quarterfinals (47%), semifinals/third place match (49%) and final match (51%).

    The social drive

    Social factors play a considerable role in experiencing the World Cup, particularly among certain segments of the population. When asked which factors (of a series) would influence them to watch the event, a combined third (34%) pointed to at least one of a variety of social influences (such as friends or a significant other wanting to watch), putting it on even footing with supporting Team USA (35%).

    Among Millennials social factors play even more prominently, with 45% saying such factors would likely influence them to watch; supporting Team USA was only likely to influence a third of Millennials (33%). Additionally, half of Millennials say that watching World Cup matches is more fun to do with family and/or friends (49%) and over four in ten (43%) say it’s more fun to do with other fans, even if they’re strangers.

    • Even among those who don’t follow soccer, a third point to social factors as likely influencers of viewership (32%) and say that watching World Cup matches is more fun to do with family and/or friends (33%).

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    TABLE 1

    SPORTS YOU FOLLOW

    By Generation & Ethnicity

    Please select which of these sports you follow.

    Base: U.S. adults

    Total

    Generation

    Ethnicity

    Millennials (18-36)

    Gen Xers (37-48)

    Baby Boomers (49-67)

    Matures (68+)

    White

    Black

    Hispanic

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Pro football

    51

    41

    53

    57

    57

    49

    62

    53

    Baseball

    37

    29

    37

    45

    39

    38

    32

    42

    Men’s college football

    30

    26

    30

    34

    27

    29

    42

    27

    Pro basketball

    23

    26

    24

    25

    12

    16

    54

    32

    Men’s college basketball

    23

    20

    23

    27

    16

    20

    39

    23

    Ice hockey

    17

    15

    19

    18

    13

    17

    11

    19

    Auto racing

    15

    8

    16

    19

    23

    18

    10

    6

    Men’s golf

    14

    7

    15

    17

    24

    13

    21

    12

    Men’s tennis

    10

    9

    15

    9

    10

    7

    22

    14

    Soccer (NET)

    10

    11

    16

    6

    5

    8

    10

    19

    Men’s soccer

    9

    11

    15

    5

    5

    8

    7

    17

    Women’s soccer

    4

    3

    5

    4

    2

    3

    5

    5

    Boxing

    10

    10

    12

    11

    3

    5

    27

    17

    Women’s tennis

    9

    6

    15

    10

    8

    5

    31

    10

    Track and Field

    8

    5

    9

    12

    6

    4

    38

    4

    Women’s college basketball

    7

    4

    5

    11

    9

    5

    23

    4

    Horse racing

    7

    1

    7

    10

    12

    7

    10

    2

    Swimming

    6

    4

    6

    7

    9

    5

    10

    5

    Women’s pro basketball

    5

    2

    4

    8

    7

    3

    24

    2

    Women’s golf

    5

    2

    4

    7

    7

    3

    12

    5

    Bowling

    4

    3

    3

    5

    7

    4

    8

    4

    None of these

    27

    33

    27

    23

    21

    29

    16

    25

    Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding; indicates a selection rate of <0.5%; — indicates no selections for this option


    TABLE 2a

    INTEREST IN WATCHING/LISTENING TO 2014 WORLD CUP

    Summary Grid

    How interested are you in watching or listening to each stage of the upcoming 2014 World Cup, to be held in Brazil from June 12-July 13?

    Base: U.S. adults

    INTERESTED (NET)

    Very interested

    Interested

    NOT INTERESTED (NET)

    Not very interested

    Not at all interested

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Final match

    33

    19

    14

    67

    12

    54

    Semifinals and/or Third Place Match

    29

    15

    14

    71

    12

    60

    Quarterfinals

    26

    12

    14

    74

    13

    61

    Round of 16

    21

    10

    12

    79

    16

    63

    1st Round (all 32 teams)

    19

    9

    11

    81

    17

    64

    Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding

    TABLE 2b

    INTEREST IN WATCHING/LISTENING TO 2014 WORLD CUP

    Interested (NET) Summary by Generation, Ethnicity & Follow Soccer (y/n)

    How interested are you in watching or listening to each stage of the upcoming 2014 World Cup, to be held in Brazil from June 12-July 13?

    Base: U.S. adults

    Total

    Generation

    Ethnicity

    Follow Soccer

    Millennials (18-36)

    Gen Xers (37-48)

    Baby Boomers (49-67)

    Matures (68+)

    White

    Black

    Hispanic

    Yes

    No

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Final match

    33

    42

    39

    26

    22

    28

    39

    51

    92

    27

    Semifinals and/or Third Place Match

    29

    37

    35

    22

    16

    24

    31

    49

    92

    22

    Quarterfinals

    26

    36

    33

    18

    12

    21

    31

    47

    88

    19

    Round of 16

    21

    28

    29

    14

    10

    17

    26

    37

    83

    14

    1st Round (all 32 teams)

    19

    27

    27

    11

    8

    15

    21

    36

    81

    13


    TABLE 3

    FACTORS WHICH WOULD LIKELY INFLUENCE YOU TO WATCH A WORLD CUP MATCH

    By Generation, Ethnicity & Follow Soccer (y/n)

    Which of the following factors would likely influence you to watch a 2014 World Cup match? Even if you indicated not being interested in watching any stage of the World Cup, please indicate whether any would influence you to watch. Please select all that apply.

    Base: U.S. adults

    Total

    Generation

    Ethnicity

    Follow Soccer

    Millennials (18-36)

    Gen Xers (37-48)

    Baby Boomers (49-67)

    Matures (68+)

    White

    Black

    Hispanic

    Yes

    No

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Any (NET)

    60

    68

    64

    52

    54

    57

    59

    71

    97

    56

    To support Team USA

    35

    33

    39

    33

    40

    34

    37

    41

    74

    31

    Social Factors (Sub-NET)

    34

    45

    36

    26

    23

    33

    26

    43

    50

    32

    Because a friend or friends want to watch it

    17

    24

    16

    12

    12

    17

    8

    27

    23

    16

    Because my significant other wants to watch it

    16

    24

    16

    12

    11

    16

    9

    23

    18

    16

    Because I’ve been invited to someone’s home to watch a match

    15

    20

    15

    12

    9

    14

    13

    23

    28

    13

    Because my family wants to watch it

    14

    21

    15

    9

    10

    13

    8

    23

    26

    13

    Because it’s on where I am at the time

    16

    20

    16

    17

    8

    16

    17

    19

    25

    16

    To know what’s happening in the tournament

    16

    21

    17

    11

    11

    14

    11

    29

    53

    11

    To support another national team

    8

    13

    10

    5

    4

    5

    8

    22

    36

    5

    To support a favorite player

    7

    11

    9

    4

    1

    5

    9

    14

    33

    4

    Something else

    3

    3

    5

    3

    2

    3

    4

    3

    13

    2

    None of these

    40

    32

    36

    48

    46

    43

    41

    29

    3

    44

    Note: Multiple responses allowed

    TABLE 4

    HOW ANTICIPATE WATCHING EACH STAGE

    Summary Grid

    Now, thinking about the various stages of the 2014 World Cup tournament, which of the following describes how you anticipate most likely watching each stage?

    Base: U.S. adults who have displayed interest in watching any stage of the 2014 World Cup

    1st Round (all 32 teams)

    Round of 16

    Quarterfinals

    Semifinals and/or 3rd Place Match

    Final Match

    Important matches for Team USA

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Anticipate watching this stage (NET)

    61

    69

    75

    83

    93

    86

    Watch it live on TV as it airs

    32

    29

    36

    46

    66

    55

    Watch on whatever’s most convenient at the time

    15

    16

    14

    12

    8

    11

    Stream (Sub-NET)

    9

    12

    16

    15

    11

    11

    Stream from a computer

    5

    3

    6

    8

    2

    4

    Stream from a mobile phone

    2

    2

    3

    2

    4

    2

    Stream on a TV connected to the Internet

    2

    3

    3

    2

    2

    4

    Stream from a Tablet

    1

    4

    4

    3

    3

    2

    Watch it Semi-live on TV – record it but start watching while it’s still airing

    5

    11

    9

    10

    9

    9

    I don’t anticipate watching at this stage at all

    39

    31

    25

    17

    7

    14

    Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding


    TABLE 5a

    WORLD CUP SENTIMENTS

    How strongly do you agree or disagree with the following statements?

    Base: U.S. adults

    AGREE (NET)

    Strongly agree

    Somewhat agree

    DISAGREE (NET)

    Somewhat disagree

    Strongly disagree

    Not Applicable

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Watching World Cup matches is more fun to do with family and/or friends.

    38

    18

    20

    33

    4

    29

    29

    Watching World Cup matches is more fun to do with other fans, even if they’re strangers.

    32

    11

    20

    39

    7

    33

    29

    I notice the companies which support my favorite team or players.

    24

    8

    16

    48

    10

    38

    28

    I own merchandise in support of my favorite player or team or league.

    18

    10

    9

    53

    6

    47

    28

    Wearing team or player merchandise is an important part of watching the World Cup.

    17

    6

    11

    53

    9

    44

    31

    I will likely look up game/team/player stats on a mobile device (i.e., smartphone, tablet) while watching the World Cup.

    17

    8

    9

    53

    8

    46

    30

    I like to text with friends or family while watching World Cup matches.

    15

    6

    10

    53

    7

    46

    32

    I plan on purchasing merchandise in support of my favorite player or team or league.

    14

    6

    8

    58

    9

    49

    28

    I like posting to social media about the game (e.g., Facebook, Twitter) while I watch World Cup matches.

    12

    5

    7

    57

    8

    49

    31

    Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding


    TABLE 5b

    WORLD CUP SENTIMENTS

    By Generation, Ethnicity, Follow Soccer (y/n) & Interested in Watching World Cup (y/n)

    How strongly do you agree or disagree with the following statements?

    Base: U.S. adults

    Total

    Generation

    Ethnicity

    Follow Soccer

    Interested in Watching WC

    Millennials (18-36)

    Gen Xers (37-48)

    Baby Boomers (49-67)

    Matures (68+)

    White

    Black

    Hispanic

    Yes

    No

    Yes

    No

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Watching World Cup matches is more fun to do with family and/or friends.

    38

    49

    42

    28

    29

    35

    36

    53

    82

    33

    64

    15

    Watching World Cup matches is more fun to do with other fans, even if they’re strangers.

    32

    43

    37

    23

    18

    28

    35

    45

    78

    27

    56

    11

    I notice the companies which support my favorite team or players.

    24

    32

    27

    18

    14

    20

    27

    39

    62

    20

    41

    9

    I own merchandise in support of my favorite player or team or league.

    18

    28

    22

    12

    7

    15

    24

    33

    58

    14

    31

    8

    Wearing team or player merchandise is an important part of watching the World Cup.

    17

    24

    21

    11

    5

    12

    27

    32

    54

    13

    30

    5

    I will likely look up game/team/player stats on a mobile device (i.e., smartphone, tablet) while watching the World Cup.

    17

    29

    22

    7

    1

    12

    23

    32

    56

    12

    33

    2

    I like to text with friends or family while watching World Cup matches.

    15

    29

    17

    6

    2

    11

    20

    29

    57

    11

    31

    2

    I plan on purchasing merchandise in support of my favorite player or team or league.

    14

    22

    17

    8

    2

    10

    22

    28

    45

    10

    26

    4

    I like posting to social media about the game (e.g., Facebook, Twitter) while I watch World Cup matches.

    12

    22

    16

    5

    8

    18

    27

    43

    9

    24

    2

    Note: Multiple responses allowed; indicates a response rate of <0.5%

    Methodology

    This Harris Poll was conducted online, in English,within the United States between May 14 and 19, 2014 among 2,286 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

    All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, The Harris Poll avoids the words margin of error as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

    Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

    These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

    The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of The Harris Poll.

    Product and brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

    The Harris Poll¨ #56, June 11, 2014

    By Larry Shannon-Missal, Manager, Harris Poll Content

    About Nielsen & The Harris Poll

    On February 3, 2014, Nielsen acquired Harris Interactive and The Harris Poll. Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.