Digitally Activated: Sports Centered

A Look at Online Sports Activations

Major League Soccer Fan Demographics

with 6 comments

It’s almost over! My paper “MLS Sponsorship: Activating to Increase Brand Equity” is close to being complete, and I will be a graduate of the University of San Francisco’s, Sport Management Graduate Program, on Wednesday.

I wanted to share with you the results section of my paper.  It is a little dry, but if you are interested in Major League Soccer, or interested in possible sponsorship opportunities, it may be of benefit to you.  Incase you have not read my post, “Can VW sell more cars because of its MLS Sponsorship?” survey participants were recruited from the Facebook pages of five MLS teams.

If you have any questions about my results, please do not hesitate to ask.  I welcome any inquiries about my work.

In all, 231 questionnaires were collected.  Due to incomplete responses, 29 of the questionnaires had to be discarded.  The margin of error for survey results is 7%.

Los Angeles Galaxy fans accounted for 27.2% of survey respondents.  The remaining fan bases and their corresponding percentages were: Real Salt Lake (20.8%), Houston Dynamo (17.3%), New York Red Bulls (14.9%), Seattle Sounders FC (13.9%), and other (5.9%). 63.4% of Survey respondents ranked their MLS team as their favorite professional sports franchise, and another 17.8% ranked it as their second favorite.

An overwhelmingly majority (77.7%) of survey respondents were male.  Notable, when compared to Facebook statistics that show 56% of Facebook users are female (Inside Facebook, 2010).  Caucasian (65.0%) was the ethnicity most cited by respondents.  Over three-quarters (77.7%) of survey respondents were 37 years of age or younger, only 63% of Facebook users are 35 years of age or younger.  The age brackets and their corresponding percentages are shown in the graph below.

Survey participants were highly educated, 48.3% reported having a Bachelor’s Degree or higher.  Education levels and their corresponding percentages were: high school (33.8%), Bachelor’s Degree (31.8%), graduate degree (16.5%), trade school (4.0%), and Associate’s Degree (13.9%).

A majority of survey respondents (60.9%) reported having attended ten or more matches in their lifetime, an additional 15.8% have attended between 4-9 matches. Moreover, 82.7% of survey respondents attended a MLS match in 2009, with 56.9% of survey respondents attending five or more matches.  Their past experiences are indicative of future consumption habits, 81.2% responded that they will “definitely attend a MLS match in 2010”.  Additionally, respondents were active followers of their MLS team on the Internet; 86.6% of respondents reported visiting their MLS team’s Web site within a week of taking the survey, with 69.4% of survey respondents visiting the team’s Web site within 24 hours of taking the survey.  More survey respondents reported watching a Spanish language television channel – for more than ten minutes – in the past month (48.5%), than those that have never watched a Spanish language television channel (23.3%).

Hispanic was the second most identified ethnicity by survey respondents at 24.8%.  The majority of Hispanic respondents (76%) were first-generation Americans, and the remaining 24% were immigrants.  Respondents identifying their ancestry with Spain did not classify themselves as Hispanic, as did a few respondents of Caribbean, Central American, or Spanish-speaking South American decent. When all respondents from these regions were included in the Hispanic demographic, they accounted for 31.1% of survey respondents. The geographic identity of these respondents were concentrated in three regions: Central America (31.7%) Mexico (30.2%), and Spanish-speaking South America (23.8%).

Volkswagen had the highest fan-recognition level amongst MLS Official Sponsors, and was the only sponsor to be recognized by more than 50% of survey respondents.  Budweiser was the only other sponsor to have a fan-recognition level which exceeded the uncertainty response.  The chart below shows the official sponsor and its recognition rate from the survey.

Fan Recognition Rate for MLS Official Sponsors
Volkswagen 55.50%
Budweiser 47.50%
Gatorade 36.60%
AT&T 33.70%
American Airlines 26.20%
Visa 25.20%
Degree Deodorant 21.80%

Survey respondents did not believe a MLS sponsorship would affect their consumption habits, 55.4% of survey respondents stated they are not more likely to regularly consume a product/service because it is a MLS sponsor – 43.1% stated they were more likely – and 58.9% stated that they are not more likely to refer a product/service to a family member or friend because it is a MLS sponsor (40.1% are more likely).


Written by Peter Amador

May 16, 2010 at 10:06 PM

6 Responses

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  1. […] any small business around the world. With a burgeoning fan base in America, soccer targets mostly young, American males in the U.S. As a key demographic for many businesses, you should be considering how you can link your […]

  2. […] any small business around the world. With a burgeoning fan base in America, soccer targets mostly young, American males in the U.S. As a key demographic for many businesses, you should be considering how you can link your […]

  3. Did you happen to stumble upon any statistics on fan base volume in any of the MLS cities? Any stats on European League fans in any of these cities?


    August 11, 2011 at 11:51 PM

    • Hey Nick,

      Thanks for the comment. I did not happen to come by any of your requested information. However, I would continue to review the literature in Proquest as they did have some information that may be helpful to you.

      Best Regards,

      Peter Amador

      August 30, 2011 at 10:27 PM

  4. hey there… you don’t happen to have a copy of that paper you would be willing to share do you? im doing some research for a similar paper and would love to cite your work… email me at thanks!


    May 6, 2013 at 3:25 PM

  5. […] Major League Soccer’s fan base is nearly a quarter Latino. In a league with 19 teams, that would go a long way to making Chivas USA the most popular team in the league. You know any Chivas USA fans? No? […]

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