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

People have always said that football would be the sport of the future but it seems we are still waiting for that day to come. 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 underway, and while the organization assumes the quadrennial competition is bigger than ever, soccer still has a long way to go in the U.S.

How does soccer fare in terms of sports popularity in the United States?

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

During the study, when asked which leagues people are fans of, respondents did not put football first. Soccer, which sits in seventh place, has an avid fan base of 7%, 25% casual fans, and a total of 32% sports enthusiasts. Meanwhile, the NFL, which sits first, has an avid fan base of 32% and a casual fan base of 35%, made up of a total of 67% sports enthusiasts.

After the NFL are MLB (55%), college football (52%), NBA (46%), college basketball (43%) and NHL (38%).

It is also important to note that ‘football’ as an umbrella term had larger figures than in any single league (MLS, English Premier League).

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

Interestingly, while soccer may not be the most popular sport, it definitely has the highest rating for having the most diverse fan base.

In the same survey, with regards to age, the numbers of football fans equal and sometimes exceed those of sports fans in general. Here are the numbers:

Football fans:

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

Sports fans in general:

  • 30% are aged between 18 and 34
  • 16% are aged between 35 and 44
  • 34% are between the ages of 45 and 64
  • 19% are aged 65+

When it comes to racing, we see a similar trend:

Football fans:

  • 60% are white
  • 27% are Hispanic
  • 9% are black
  • 4% is another race

Sports fans in general:

  • 68% are white
  • 17% are Hispanic
  • 11% are black
  • 4% is another race

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

Furthermore, soccer also has the most diverse fan base (40% are people of color). Young adults scored higher than the general population for being soccer fans (40%) and more than half of Hispanic Americans self-identified as soccer fans (55%).

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