Hispanics drive fútbol viewership in US | Media Analysis | Business
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The US has historically lagged behind the rest of the world when it comes to international soccer fandom; but US Hispanic viewers have been a driving force behind a surge of popularity of late, according to Nielsen.

hispanic 18 june 2019For soccer, Hispanic viewers accounted for the vast majority of viewership in 2017 – 68% of viewership, compared to about 12% of viewership to all sports, the ratings firm said. About 97 million people watched at least six minutes of a match last year, and over 32 million of them were Hispanic.

When looking at Hispanic TV homes, about 61% of their residents have watched at least six minutes of a game—more than any other race or ethnicity, and nearly double that of the US overall percentage.

The Hispanic soccer viewer also has a unique profile according to Nielsen—they’re younger than non-Hispanic viewers and Spanish-language dominant.

The firm noted that 42% of Hispanic soccer viewers are under the age of 35, compared to 31% of non-Hispanic viewers. Of the young viewers, over a quarter of them are within the key buying demographic (18-34). Moreover, 16% of them are in the 2-17 demo—a group vital to growth and long-term sustainability. For non-Hispanics, about 10% of viewership stemmed from the 2-17 demo.

Also, within the Hispanic homes that watch fútbol matches, a whopping 82% of the audience speaks Spanish as their dominant language, whereas only 13% speak English as their main language. Accordingly, one-third of gross minutes are viewed on English-language networks, whereas the other two-thirds are spent on Spanish-language networks.

Among English-speaking Hispanics, about 40% of their soccer viewing was done on Spanish-language networks, a sizeable portion considering the language difference. When looking at Hispanic viewers who speak mostly English, the share of their soccer viewing on Spanish-language networks ballooned to 83%.

“In essence, Spanish-language networks reached their main audience by televising soccer matches, but with the added benefit of bringing in adjacent English-speaking crowds as well,” Nielsen noted in its report.

It should be noted that fútbol doesn’t just appeal to Hispanic viewers. In 2017, at least a quarter of all measured races/ethnicities watched soccer, including 30% of African-American viewers and 25% of Asian-American viewers, the firm found.