According to analysis firm Roy Morgan Research, over 3.8 million Australians (19.1 per cent) watch football of one sort or another on TV (FIFA World Cup, A-League, English Premier League etc.) and the favoured TV viewing experience is the FIFA World Cup watched by over 3 million Australians (14.9 per cent).
When the World Cup Finals roll around every four years, viewership spikes significantly and in 2014 over 4.2 million Australians (21.9 per cent) watched the World Cup Finals in Brazil. This year’s World Cup Finals in Russia will inevitably lead to a significant spike in viewership to challenge the high of over 4.2 million viewers achieved four years ago.
The FIFA World Cup is considerably more popular among men than women. Over 2.1 million men watch the FIFA World Cup compared to just under 900,000 women and these enthusiasm levels are replicated when analysing the TV viewing habits of different generations.
Generation X, born between 1961-1975, just pips Millennials to be the generation most interested in watching the FIFA World Cup on TV. Nearly 870,000 members of Generation X watch the FIFA World Cup on TV compared to around 770,000 Millennials.
The firm reports that 26.6 per cent of men in Generation X and 25.1 per cent of Millennial men watch the FIFA World Cup on TV compared to 19.6 per cent of men in Generation Z, 18.4 per cent of Baby Boomer men and 14.2 per cent of Pre Boomer men.
Over 10 per cent of Generation X women watch the FIFA World Cup on TV – a higher proportion than any other generation. However, in contrast to men, it is the youngest women of Generation Z that are the next most interested in watching the FIFA World Cup on TV. 8.6 per cent of women in Generation Z watch the FIFA World Cup on TV compared to 7.9 per cent of Millennial women and 7.4 per cent of Baby Boomer women.
The comparably higher viewing figures for the younger women of Generation Z are backed up by other Roy Morgan research which shows it is the increasing participation of young women in the game that is supporting the overall community participation levels for the sport. These trends were explored in detail in a Roy Morgan release on football participation levels available here.
Analysing the long-term trends on TV viewership of the FIFA World Cup shows the positive impact the holding of the tournament has on attracting people to watch the games.
During and immediately after the 2014 FIFA World Cup Finals held in Brazil, nearly 5 per cent more Australians said they watch the FIFA World Cup in six monthly period of June – November 2014 (21.9 per cent) compared to the six monthly period immediately preceding the tournament between December 2013 – May 2014 (17.0 per cent).
Since peaking immediately following the previous tournament, TV viewership of the FIFA World Cup has fallen by around a third and in the six month period to March 2018 14.9 per cent of Australians now say they watch the FIFA World Cup on TV.
According to Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan, the World Cup is providing exciting late night entertainment to football fans up and down the country and millions will be watching when Australia’s hopes go on the line against Peru on June 26th.
“The Socceroos journey to the FIFA World Cup was longer than any other team at Russia 2018 playing 22 games and traveling an estimated 250,000km in qualifying before victory against Honduras secured one of the last spots at the showpiece,” she noted. “For Australian fans enjoying the spectacle in Russia this month it was certainly worth it. Over 3.8 million Australians watch World football of one sort or another on TV and over 3 million Australians (14.9 per cent) specifically watch the FIFA World Cup on TV.”
“Unsurprisingly it is Australian men of all ages who are the biggest fans of the FIFA World Cup compared to similarly aged women. Over a quarter of men in the highly coveted age brackets covered by Generation X (26.6 per cent) and Millennials (25.1 per cent) say they watch the FIFA World Cup on TV – more than twice the rate of women of the same age. Men in these generations were born between 1961-1990 and are now aged 27-57 years old.”
“Although viewership does drop off for the youngest generation born between 1991-2005 known as Generation Z, it is worth remembering that some members of Generation Z were only nine or ten years old the last time Australia played in a FIFA World Cup and are likely still developing their passion for the game.”
“A quick look at the figures for the different States shows interest in the FIFA World Cup is highest in Australia’s two largest States. 17.1 per cent of people living in NSW say they watch the FIFA World Cup on TV and as do 16.8 per cent of Victorians compared to only 9.5 per cent of Tasmanians. The fact over half of Australia’s A-League teams are based in these two States also indicates the level of interest for World football particularly in Melbourne and Sydney.”