Study Shows Soccer Still Remains a Sport of the Future in US


People have always said soccer would be the sport of the future, but it seems as if we are still waiting for that day to come. At the moment, the ‘Big Four’ – NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL – still stand as the most popular in the United States.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup is almost underway, and though the organization is presuming the quadrennial contest to be bigger than ever before, 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 performed by Morning Consult on April 1-4, 2022 among 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 about which leagues people are fans of, respondents didn’t put soccer first. Soccer, which sits in seventh place, has a 7% avid fan base and 25% casual fans and a total of 32% of sports fans.  Meanwhile, the NFL, which sits at first, has a 32% avid fan base and a 35% casual fan base, consisting of a total of 67% of sports fans.

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

It’s also important to note that “soccer” as a general term had greater figures than any individual league (MLS, English Premier League).

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

Interestingly enough, even though soccer might not fare as the most popular sport, it definitely scores highest for having the most diverse fan base. 

In the same survey, in regards to age, the numbers for soccer fans equal and sometimes exceed the number for general sports fans. Here are the numbers:

Soccer fans:

  • 38% are between the ages of 18-34
  • 16% are between the ages of 35-44
  • 30% are between the ages of 45-64
  • 16% are between the ages of 65+

General sports fans:

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

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

Soccer fans:

  • 60% are White
  • 27% are Hispanic
  • 9% are Black
  • 4% are another race

General sports fans:

  • 68% are White
  • 17% are Hispanic
  • 11% are Black
  • 4% are another race

From these numbers, it is proven that more than half of fans who identified as fans of soccer were under the age of 45 (54%), which is a greater figure than any of the other sports in the survey. 

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

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