Study shows soccer is still a sport of the future in the US – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

People have always said football is the sport of the future but it seems we’re still waiting for that day. At the moment, the “Big Four” – NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL – are still the most popular in the United States.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup is almost upon us, and while the organization believes the biannual competition will be bigger than ever, soccer still has a long way to go in the United States

How popular is football in the United States?

A survey was conducted by Morning Consult April 1-4, 2022 among a representative sample of 2,208 US adults with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points.

When asked which leagues people are fans of, respondents during the study did not say football came first. Football, which ranks seventh, has 7% avid fan base and 25% casual fans and 32% overall sports fans. Meanwhile, the NFL, which ranks first, has a 32% avid fanbase and a 35% casual fanbase, which is made up of 67% total sports fans.

The NFL is followed by MLB (55%), college football (52%), NBA (46%), college basketball (43%) and NHL (38%).

It is also important to note that ‘football’ as a general term had more numbers than any individual league (MLS, English Premier League).

How do soccer fans in the United States differ from general sports fans?

Interestingly, while football isn’t the most popular sport, it definitely has the most diverse fanbase.

In the same survey, age-related figures for football fans are equal and sometimes higher than figures for general sports fans. Here are the numbers:

football fans:

  • 38% are between 18 and 34 years old
  • 16% are between 35 and 44 years old
  • 30% are between 45 and 64 years old
  • 16% are between 65 and older

General sports fans:

  • 30% are between 18 and 34 years old
  • 16% are between 35 and 44 years old
  • 34% are between 45 and 64 years old
  • 19% are between 65 and older

In running, we see a similar trend:

football fans:

  • 60% are white
  • 27% are Spanish
  • 9% are black
  • 4% are a different race

General sports fans:

  • 68% are white
  • 17% are Spanish
  • 11% are black
  • 4% are a different race

From these numbers, more than half of fans who identified themselves as football fans were under the age of 45 (54%), which is higher than any other sport in the survey.

In addition, football also has the most diverse fanbase (40% are people of color). Younger adults fared better than the general population (40%) as football fans, and more than half of Hispanics self-identified as football fans (55%).


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