sport

20th June 2019

What does the MLS fan look like?

Football (Soccer) has four billion supporters worldwide and that makes it by far and away the planet’s most popular sport. It is still attracting fans from every corner of the globe, and leagues such as Major League Soccer (MLS) are seeing an ever-growing stable of supporters flocking to websites and their live events. According to Nielsen, since 2012 the MLS has seen a 27% rise in interest and also now ranks as No.8 in the world for average attendance. With this in mind, we have taken a look at what the average MLS fan looks like and what their consumption habits of the ‘beautiful game’ are.

The Global Web Index (GWI), 2018, shows 62% of supporters of MLS are men, but that still leaves a sizable contingent of women who follow the sport. The MLS has supporters of all ages, but the majority of fans (58%) are aged between 25 and 44.

It is this more youthful crowd that goes some way to explaining MLS’ popularity online. Chris Schlosser, Senior Vice President of MLS, recently said: “Radio built baseball, TV built the NFL and NBA, and the internet is building soccer.”

He may have a point: research by the GWI shows that 58% of MLS fans spend between 30 minutes and three hours online every day. That is also where they get their sports fix with US fans 108% more likely than the average consumer to have used a sports app in the last month.   

According to research by Nielson in 2018, the average MLS supporter is also happy to ‘put their money where their mouth is’. The sport’s global fans are 165% more likely to use gambling, betting or lottery apps than the average consumer, and in the United States alone, MLS supporters are 122% more likely than the average consumer to ‘regularly’ bet on matches while they are watching them. And watch them they certainly do. A recent Bleacher Report showed a massive 63% of US soccer fans prefer to watch a full game rather than just the highlights. This trend is very much not in line with fans of the NBA and NFL who instead consume their sports through quick-fix highlights.

Soccer has an enduring relationship with the world. And when it comes to gambling, fans, and the MLS, it appears it’s going to have a long and fruitful partnership with them too.

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