Study: U.S. Fan Interest In Soccer Growing
Source:China Sport ShowRelease time:19-May-2023Clicks:
Article From：SGB Media
A new data report on the state of U.S. soccer fandom from Sports Innovation Lab found that American interest in soccer has reached the average global interest level.
Sports Innovation Lab’s report, Fanarchy26, compiled in partnership with European creative agency Jung von Matt Sports, offers benchmark behavioral statistics from U.S.-based soccer fans in advance of the 2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup, scheduled to be hosted throughout the U.S. Key findings include:
Roughly one-quarter, 27 percent, of U.S.-based sports fans, 83 million, show an interest in soccer, compared to a global average of 40 percent. By contrast, American football is the most popular sport, 52 percent, with basketball, 43 percent and baseball, 37 percent. Meanwhile, 76 percent of U.S.-based soccer fans said they became fans when they were kids, proving leagues need to “prioritize youth demographics for growth continuously.” California has the most soccer fans in the U.S., while Texas ranks second.
U.S. sports fans who purchase from soccer merchants spend more, on average, per fan, per year than baseball, basketball or football fans. Every 14 out of 1,000 Americans have spent or are spending on soccer. Seventy-two percent of U.S.-based soccer fans will purchase a ticket and attend a match at least once per season, and 71 percent will spend on soccer-related merchandise yearly. Jerseys are the most popular item at 65 percent.
On a scale of 0 to 5 measuring passion, where 5 is the most passionate, U.S.-based soccer fans average 3.32.
Roughly 79 percent of U.S.-based soccer fans watch at least one match per year at a bar or restaurant with other fans. Approximately 77 percent pay for a streaming service to watch an average of 2 to 3 weekly matches. Most fans, 57 percent, watch more than two matches per week at home on television or via live stream on another device.
Based on Sports Innovation Lab’s survey data, Fanarchy26 found that among English or Spanish-speaking soccer fans in the U.S., MLS (Major League Soccer), 44 percent, is the most-followed soccer league in the U.S. followed by the English Premier League (EPL) at 39 percent; United Soccer League (USL), 36 percent; La Liga, 30 percent; and National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), 28 percent. More than any other league, Spanish-speaking fans in the U.S. follow La Liga 59 percent.
“‘Potential’ is the keyword that has defined the relationship between the United States and soccer for decades,” said Angela Ruggiero, co-founder and CEO of Sports Innovation Lab. “However, an actualized rise in the national interest on the back of the growing popularity of the NWSL, in combination with hosting the 2026 men’s World Cup, has created a rare opportunity for the U.S. sports ecosystem to co-create an idealized soccer fan culture. Sports Innovation Lab’s research in this area will help brands and organizations accurately understand not only who is attending, watching, and playing soccer, but more importantly why and how these people act as fans.”