ESPN has released figures showing a rapid rise in the popularity of American football in the UK. The numbers reveal that 16 per cent of UK sports fans now follow the NFL, up from 9 per cent in 2011 – a growth of 75 per cent. The insight comes from bi-annual research conducted on behalf of ESPN by Netfluential, which questions more than 1,000 sports fans on their media habits and consumption.
These new followers of American football are proving to be highly engaged and committed to the sport throughout the season, with total minutes spent consuming NFL content on ESPN in the UK up 65 per cent year on year, ahead of the 55 per cent increase in unique visitors. Total time spent on ESPN’s Fantasy Football game has seen even bigger increases of 85 per cent year on year.
Charles Classen, Vice President and General Manager, ESPN EMEA, said: “ESPN’s research and traffic figures clearly show a boom in popularity for the NFL, both in the number of fans, but also in how passionately they follow American football. The most dramatic reflection of this being on mobile and tablets where time spent has increased fourfold in just a year. ESPN is perfectly placed to serve those new fans with market leading coverage, and we look forward to welcoming more and more fans to our site as the league’s international expansion continues.”