July 10, 2018

NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises released the groundbreaking study, “La Ola de la FIFA 2018” as part of the most comprehensive World Cup research initiative in the U.S. around soccer fandom.

There is high interest in the World Cup among Hispanics, and not only among men: 72% of Hispanics are interested in watching the World Cup, driven by 79% of Hispanic men and 65% of Hispanic women. In the next five years, Hispanics and Generation M® project soccer fandom will continue to expand, and it is increasingly powered by women and girls, with 91% of Latina soccer fans watching soccer at least once a month.

Three in four (75%) Hispanic Millennials are soccer fans and are more likely to be fans of soccer versus American football (71%), basketball (71%), baseball (68%) and boxing (66%). Furthermore, 6 in 10 Hispanic Millennials and 29% of non-Hispanic Millennials, agree that soccer will be as popular in the U.S. as American football and baseball in the next five years. Hispanics predict that soccer fandom will continue to grow, with 70% of Hispanics believing that interest in the FIFA World Cup in the U.S. particularly will continue to grow over the next five years.

“The growing popularity of soccer in the U.S. underscores the exciting and profound, cultural shifts we are experiencing in the U.S. today,” notes Adriana Waterston, SVP of Insights and Strategy for Horowitz Research. “Tapping into the excitement and energy around soccer and the World Cup is a great way for brands to authentically connect with younger American consumers, both Hispanic and non-Hispanic. Our research confirms that much of this engagement with soccer and the World Cup will happen in Spanish, even for non-Hispanics.”

Research reveals that for virtually all Hispanics, soccer is seen as an important part of Hispanic identity, with 65% of Hispanics agreeing that soccer is the sport which best represents the Latino culture. The sport is celebrated for its global reach and beloved for bringing families together. Compared to other sports, the majority of Hispanic fans agree that soccer is the sport they are more passionate about and is the one sport they are most likely to make a point to watch with friends and family.

Additionally, Hispanic and non-Hispanic audiences prefer watching the World Cup broadcast in Spanish. Almost 8 in 10 Hispanics (77%) and 1 in 4 non-Hispanics reveal that they “enjoy watching soccer games in Spanish more than watching them in English”; they feel the commentators are more passionate (80% of Hispanics and 45% of non-Hispanics) and that the overall experience is more authentic (76% and 31%, respectively).

“Findings from our study demonstrate how soccer, brands and audiences are intimately connected not just through live games but digitally and socially, and in personalized settings with friends and family,” said Lia Silkworth, Senior Vice President for Insights and Consumer Development, NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises. “Telemundo, in partnership with Horowitz, is extremely proud to be the leading authority on U.S. soccer fandom and this year’s FIFA World Cup. Coupled with our programming, our research validates that Hispanic and non-Hispanic audiences are viewing the World Cup games both inside and outside the home, over-the-air, over-the-top and on mobile devices. If brands want to stay ahead of the curve they should invest heavily in omnichannel strategies and think about opportunities to stand out during this major moment in time through streaming, sharing and social.”

This deep, social fandom drives engagement through social media. Three in four Hispanic soccer fans use social media to keep up with soccer-related content, schedules and activities. The vast majority post, share or comment using their own accounts as nearly all Hispanic soccer fans agree social media adds “a lot” to the way they live and enjoy soccer. During matches, 28% of Hispanic soccer fans message and video chat with others who are also watching the match, but elsewhere.

Soccer Fandom in the United States

  •      Most Hispanics are soccer fans (74%)
  •      52% of non-Hispanics 18+ in the U.S. are soccer fans
  •      For most non-Hispanics (62%), soccer is the sport (over American football, basketball and baseball) that is the most global, extending beyond the U.S. borders. 65% of Hispanics feel that soccer is the sport that best represents the Latino culture (61% of non-Hispanics)

The Appeal of the World Cup Goes Beyond Hispanics, Age and Gender

  •      There is high interest in the World Cup among Hispanics, and not only among men: 72% of Hispanics are interested in watching the World Cup: 79% of Hispanic men and 65% of Hispanic women
  •      The World Cup appeals to all ages: 71% of Hispanics ages 18-34 are interested in the World Cup, 76% of Hispanics 35-49 and 65% of those 50+.
  •      The appeal of the World Cup goes beyond Hispanics: 44% of non-Hispanics are interested in watching the World Cup.

How Hispanics Watch and Share the World Cup

  •      27% of Hispanics predict live streaming at least some of the game
  •      Two in ten Hispanics anticipate they will watch some games recorded on their DVR
  •      40% of Hispanic soccer fans say they frequently get soccer-related news on social media
  •      30% post, share or comment on social media about soccer games and events


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