English Premier League hitting net with international strategy | Media Analysis | Business
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It may be bogged down in a power struggle between its biggest clubs and the other regarding the split of income but away from home the English Premier League is a team giving 110% as it expands its base beyond the domestic arena says Altman Solon’s 2020 Global Sports and News Survey.
Premier League Liverpool 4 Sep 2020 lands

The EPL has always regarded itself as the world’s most popular football league and sports franchise in general. And with global superstars such as Mohammed Salah, Virgil van Dijk and Sadio Mané driving Liverpool to winning the Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup in 2019, this popularity has soared more. And the Altman major international study, which gauged viewing and fandom trends among 14,000 sports fans in 10 countries across Europe, North and Latin America, has revealed that the EPL has successfully expanded its fan base globally while rival leagues such as from Spain’s La Liga and Germany’s Bundesliga, the major US leagues, the NFL, NBA, and MLB have all struggled to attract mindshare of UK sports fans.

The survey found that 72% of UK sports fans are interested in the EPL and Chile and Colombia are the biggest international markets for the EPL where 56% of respondents show interest in English clubs. In addition, the EPL attracts about a third of sports fans in Germany, France. and Italy. In the US, 20% are interested in the EPL overall, which rises to 28% for younger fans (18-24 years old).

When it comes to popularity of specific clubs in the EPL generating interest internationally, the study indicates several differences by country. Premier League champions Liverpool as well as Chelsea and Manchester City rank top for viewers in Germany and Italy. Within France, fans name Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea on top while in Colombia, it’s Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool that are the most popular.

UK sports fans also showed interest in European leagues, with Spain’s La Liga and Germany’s Bundesliga the most popular with 22% and 20% respectively. This said the survey came as no surprise given their teams’ success in European tournaments, winning seven out of eight UEFA Champions League seasons between them since 2013. However, UK fans were found to be less interested in foreign football leagues compared to other countries due to high interest in other domestic sports such as cricket.

Altman Solon notes sports fans are still critical customers for pay-TV. The report revealed that four-fifths of regular sports viewers subscribe to pay-TV, compared with 55% of non-viewers. Sports fans were found to be avid media consumers and an attractive target group for gaming and streaming services with 44% of regular sports viewers using social media daily, 25% playing video games daily, and 34% watching streaming daily. Football was the number one ranked sport watched on TV among all age groups, followed by rugby and tennis for older age groups, and cricket, car racing and athletics for younger ones.

“Major European sports markets are dominated by national football leagues compared to the multi-sport model in the US,” said Christian Esser, partner at Altman Solon and co-director of the 2020 Global Sports and News Survey. “But there are also differences within Europe: The UK and France show more traction with non-football options like rugby or darts than football-centric Germany and Italy. What the UK and Germany share is the success in ‘exporting’ their leagues: EPL and Bundesliga have been successful in showcasing the world’s best teams and players in the US.”