Soccer has always suffered in the eyes of American advertisers because the lack of in-game breaks limit selling opportunities, but growing
interest in soccer has resonated with advertisers and programmers who have taken note of the dedicated and highly social support of soccer fans marked by heavy use of second screens. And it has
translated into a 42 percent increase in television spending from 2010 to 2013.
“While the World Cup only comes around every four years, and soccer -- with two non-interrupted
halves -- has less space for traditional TV spots, the heavy branding on both stadium signage and player kits seems to resonate with fans,” said
Nielsen's senior vice president sports, Stephen Master
, in response to a new Harris Poll on soccer.
The number of networks airing soccer increased from 11 in 2010 to 21 in 2013 and spending increased from $266
million in 2010 to $378 million in 2013 when almost 4,000 soccer games aired. Some of the Harris Poll's findings on the affinity of soccer
-- 58 percent of Americans who follow soccer already own merchandise supporting a favorite player, team or league;
-- 54 percent of Americans who follow soccer
say that they think wearing team apparel is an important part of the watching the World Cup
-- 45 percent of Americans who follow soccer said they plan on purchasing merchandise in
support of their favorite player, team or league. Some of its findings on the digital habits of young soccer fans:
-- 25 percent of
18-24-year-olds said they would post to social media while tuning in to World Cup games (compared to 12 percent of all respondents);
-- 34 percent of 18-24-year-olds would likely look up
game, team or player stats on a mobile device during World Cup games. Some of the findings from a Nielsen Scarborough survey on adults attending soccer
-- The number of adults (age 18 and over) who have attended a major soccer game has risen 87 percent since 2010.
-- The number of adults (age 18 and over) who
have watched, attended or listened to a major soccer match has increased by 32 percent since 2010.