Advanced Television

Research: US broadcasters eye growing football fanbase

August 14, 2023

Research from Ampere Analysis highlights the growing popularity of football in America, with nearly 20 per cent of US sports fans now claiming it is their favourite sport.

Today, football (or ‘soccer’ in the US) is the fourth most popular American sport, a figure that has grown rapidly from the last quarter of 2021. The US boasts a high proportion of avid female football fans (37 per cent), compared to 31 per cent among the big five Western European markets.

Taken together, these findings bode well for the success of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, now entering the semifinals, and Major League Soccer (MLS), with Lionel Messi having recently joined Inter Miami. With US football fans scoring high for affluence and propensity to pay for SVoD services, Ampere’s report discusses how broadcasters will monetise the sport.The broadcast opportunity

  • US football fans are 43 per cent more likely than average sports fans to have a household income of more than $100,000, making this affluent audience a key target for broadcasters and rights holders.
  • Crucially, the fanbase is passionate and willing to pay to indulge in their love of the beautiful game. Almost three-quarters (73 per cent) of US-based fans of the Premier League and UEFA Champions League say they will pay to watch the competitions.
  • Networks in the US have honed in on this. In 2022, football broadcasting rights in the US were worth over $1.3 billion – three times more than in 2015.
  • Currently, interest in soccer competitions is dominated by global and European events. American fans most enjoy the FIFA World Cup (33 per cent), the English Premier League (31 per cent), and the UEFA Champions League (30 per cent), with only 20 per cent claiming to follow the MLS.
  • Of course, the MLS will be hoping to boost this rising interest. Alongside the global Apple TV deal signed in 2022, the League has welcomed Messi to Inter Miami, making the competition more appealing to those who prefer to watch top-tier players.

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