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According to the NFL, Super Bowl XLIX will be available for viewing in 230 countries and territories and figures released by Repucom shows just how big that interest in America’s most popular sport is growing throughout the world.
International growth of the league is something that has certainly been a pull factor for the NFL with games now becoming a part of the domestic sporting calendar in the UK. In 2011, 8.1% of the UK population were interested in the NFL, today that figure is 12.3%. That increase is the equivalent to there being an additional 1.86m NFL fans in the UK alone.
Growth of the NFL in China in the last year represents the biggest in terms of population size than anywhere in the world. Since 2013, interest in the NFL amongst the Chinese population has jumped from 1.7% to 7.9%, today. This jump of just over six percentage points is the equivalent of an extra 31 million people saying that they are now NFL fans.
Of the markets tested, in terms of the proportion of the population which say they are interested in the NFL, Russia tops the list of countries outside of North America. Today, 13.3%, or just over 10 million Russians (10.38m) are said to be fans of the NFL. This is a proportion which has grown by 5.3 percentage points in the last year alone. Since 2013, over 5 million more Russians say they are now fans of the league.
Glenn Lovett, president global strategy at Repucom, said: “This growing trend should be a welcome sight for the NFL. More engaged fans bring additional revenue and growth opportunities across their business. They provide the league with a better offering to commercial partners in the US and overseas whilst increasing stability for the game.”
“Ultimately, the next step in realising a stronger international presence will be taking this interest and emphasising the need for the growth of local participation in these markets.
“Educating these large new fan bases on the fundamentals of the game to establish grassroots efforts to grow participation is key. But so too is importance of establishing measure metrics around fan base growth and engagement to be able to clearly demonstrate that their efforts in reaching new audiences is working.”
Such growth in international interest offers an insight into the vast opportunities for both brands and rights holders looking to tap into an emerging global yet well-established sport. Realising the potential the NFL holds as a global platform for sponsors could well open up the flood gates for a new brand of global sponsorship.
Repucom is a global leader in sports marketing research. Utilizing the leading technology and facilities for market research, media evaluation and commercial auditing, Repucom has created the industry’s first global, full-service portfolio for sports marketing research and consultancy. For more information, please visit repucom.net