Soccer Viewership Spike Is Here To Stay
For decades, the popularity of all-American, mainstream sports like football and baseball have continued to outshine soccer in the United States.
But after the recent U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team win over Japan in the World Cup final, that might all be about to change.
Millions of viewers tuned in to watch the Women’s World Cup this year, making it the most-viewed soccer game in U.S. TV history. Will the country’s newfound interest in soccer continue to grow over the coming years?
New data supports the theory that this jump in viewership is here to stay!
More Americans tuned in to watch the Women’s World Cup final than most other major 2015 summer sports events. The World Cup finals came in second to the NCAA Men’s Baseball championship game (28.3 million viewers), beating out the NBA Finals (19.94 million viewers) and the Stanley Cup finals (5.5 million viewers).
Now that the viewership is steadily increasing, more U.S. TV networks are broadcasting soccer games than ever before – increasing from 5 to 13 in the past five years. The cost of advertising is following suit. With more viewers watching, the average cost of a 30-second ad during the Women’s World Cup cost more than $210,000.
The ratings for the 2015 Women’s World Cup jumped almost 50 percent in comparison to the prior Cup, which took place in 2011. As a result, Fox accumulated more than $40 million in ad revenue – a significant increase over the $6 million made by ESPN in 2011. More than 50 major advertisers donated to the event, including Nationwide and Anheuser-Bush.
In addition to donating to the 2015 World Cup, U.S. advertisers are stepping up to support soccer training and building facilities for youth, professional, and national teams. AT&T, Visa, Nike, Nestle, Marriott, Allstate, and Pepsi are among the group donating millions of dollars.
Popularity Among Youth
A poll conducted by ESPN in 2014 reported that professional soccer ranked second, after professional football, in popularity among teenagers ages 12 to 17. The survey data concluded that the same demographic expressed equal interest in Major League Soccer (MLS) and Major League Baseball (MLB).
Not only are more young Americans watching professional soccer, but more are participating in the sport themselves. U.S. Youth Soccer claims that participation rates are 30 times higher compared to 40 years ago.
Are these facts enough to maintain America’s interest in soccer? Share your predictions in the comments below.