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Volume 20 No. 42
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Insights on soccer fans in the United States

SportsBusiness Journal partnered with Turnkey Intelligence to conduct an online survey of engaged soccer fans in the United States. The survey, conducted April 22-26, was completed by 488 soccer fans throughout the nation. Soccer fans were screened to ensure that they are at least a casual fan of soccer; watched on television or attended in person three or more soccer matches in the last 12 months; seek soccer news, scores and league standings at least weekly; and are between 18 and 64 years old. Percentages have been rounded. Here are the highlights:

They say attending soccer matches provides a better experience than attending football, baseball or basketball games, even among soccer fans who selected those other sports as their favorite. Compared to attending football/baseball/basketball games, the experience of attending live soccer matches is …

  Football overall Football is favorite sport Baseball overall Baseball is favorite sport Basketball overall Basketball is favorite sport
Soccer is better 66% 54% 77% 61% 70% 62%
Comparable 24% 26% 20% 34% 23% 29%
Soccer is worse 10% 18% 3% 5% 7% 9%

The atmosphere at games, including the fan camaraderie and family-friendly environment, is what makes the live soccer experience better.
To what extent do each of the following explain why you find the live soccer experience better?

  The matches are shorter Takes less time of the day to attend soccer matches Value No commercial breaks in play Family-friendly environment Level of camaraderie among fans Better match-day atmosphere
Explains very well 37% 43% 45% 53% 56% 56% 61%
Explains somewhat 40% 38% 43% 37% 36% 39% 35%
Does not explain 24% 19% 12% 10% 9% 5% 5%

The majority of engaged soccer fans believe that MLS broadcasts and elements have improved over the last three years. However, more than 40 percent think the consistency of time slots on major networks and the amount of original MLS programming have not improved.
Compared to three years ago, rate the following areas of TV coverage of MLS action:

  Quality of live broadcast of MLS matches Number of MLS Matches shown on Major TV networks per week Consistency of day/time slots for MLS Matches on major networks Amount of originalMLS Programming on TV (non-live) Availability ofyour local Club’s games on TV
Better 65% 60% 56% 56% 53%
Comparable 32% 37% 42% 40% 43%
Worse 3% 1% 3% 3% 4%