World Cup™ 2014 Opinion Poll

6/4/2014

From May 2nd through May 13th, SSI fielded an online survey about the FIFA World Cup™ across seven countries among 7,983 participants.  The territories included in this study were Brazil, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, and Australia.  More than 1,000 participants were interviewed in each country.  Nationally representative quotas were set on age and gender according to census, and weighting was done to any quota group that did not meet target.

Popularity of the World Cup

Two-thirds of those interviewed plan on watching* some of the 2014 World Cup™.  Ninety-two percent of Brazilians interviewed expect to watch at least part of the World Cup™ (more than any other country surveyed).  Popularity in Brazil is fueled by being the host country, having a long history of football popularity, and having a very good national team this year (ranked 4th in the world by FIFA as of May 16, 2014). 

Among the countries interviewed, European football powerhouses Germany (81%) and the United Kingdom (71%) generated the second and third highest levels of popularity.  

Japan (59%), France (57%), and Australia (52%) make up the next tier of viewership, while the US (42%) has the lowest level of anticipated viewership among the seven countries we tested.

Plan to Watch to the World Cup

Our research shows a growth in the popularity of football across all countries.  We asked our participants to recall which World Cups™ they had viewed over the past 12 years.  Our findings show a definite trend of increased viewership across all seven countries from 2002 to 2010.  The only exceptions in the trend are Germany in 2006 and Japan in 2002, where each country saw a local spike in viewership as the World Cup™ hosts.  Our data suggests that Germany and Japan could reach similar levels of viewers in 2014 as the years they hosted the event. 

Among the seven countries we tested, there was a 9% growth in viewership from 2006 to 2010, which is in line with the global TV viewership growth of 8%, as reported in the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ South Africa Television Audience Report produced by KantarSport.  Our data would suggest even more viewership growth from 2010 to 2014.  However, planned viewership is not the same as actual viewership, so we will have to wait until after the event to see just how much the increase will be.

World Cup Viewership

The markets we tested with the lowest levels of planned viewership, the US (42%) and Australia (52%) show an optimistic future for FIFA and the World Cup™, as younger participants in our study are significantly more likely to watch the World Cup this summer.  In the US, 18 to 24 year olds (54%) and 25 to 34 year olds (51%) have the highest levels of planned viewership, while less than a third of 55 to 64 year olds plan to tune in to any moment of the event.  Australia tells a similar story, with a large drop off in viewership occurring between the 25 to 34 year old age segment (61%) and the 35 to 44 year old age segment (48%).

Plan to Watch the World Cup

This World Cup is About Team Brazil

Expectations are high for Team Brazil coming into the 20th World Cup™, as they look to obtain a record 6th World Cup™ title (Italy is second in titles with 4).  Brazil has a rich football history as the only national team to qualify for all 19 World Cup™ events.

Additional pressure is placed on Brazil as the host country.  On six different occasions, the host country has won the World Cup™, which illustrates a significant home field advantage when you consider the amount of teams competing and the small number of World Cups that have occurred.  England and France have claimed their only World Cup™ victories as the host country.  Brazil has hosted the event one time previously (1950), but did not win that year.

As one would expect, most people planning on watching the World Cup™ will support their home country in the event (over 80% across the seven countries tested).  Ninety-four percent of those planning on watching the World Cup™ in Brazil will support the Brazilian national team.

We also asked participants planning on watching the World Cup™ what country they looked forward to watching the most.  Again, most participants chose the country they call their home.  However, there was more variation on this question, as some individuals, though supporting their national team, were more excited to see other teams play.   Brazil was the most frequently chosen country.  Eighty percent of those interviewed in Brazil are most looking forward to seeing their national team (Spain was chosen second most often at 6%).  Brazil was most likely to be chosen outside of the national teams in the US (12%), the UK (18%), France (15%), Japan (8%), and Australia (15%).  In Germany, both Spain (4%) and Brazil (5%) were the countries most likely to be chosen outside of their national team.

What Country Most Looking Forward to Watching at the World Cup

Those who are most looking forward to seeing their national team play were also asked who they would like to see their national team play against.  Brazil was far and away the most popular answer.  For example, 42% of the Americans who are rooting for team US would like to see their team play against Brazil compared to England (11%) and Spain (7%), which were the next most popular choices.  In Brazil, Argentina (51%) was the most popular adversary chosen for the Brazilian national team.

Who do you want to see your team play against

Pressure on Team Brazil

Although Brazil is currently ranked fourth in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking (as of May 16th 2014) behind Spain, Germany, and Portugal, they are seen as the runaway favorite to win the World Cup™ by those planning on watching the matches.  

Who Has the Best Chance of Winning the World Cup

Expectations are highest in Brazil, where 81% of those interviewed expect the home team to win.  It’s not just Brazilians predicting their national team as the winner, as every country interviewed besides Germany chose Brazil more than any other team to win the entire tournament.  Germany was equally divided between team Brazil (34%) and the German national team (32%), which is currently ranked second in the world.  

Participants planning on watching the 2014 World Cup™ were also asked who they felt Brazil’s biggest challenge would be in group play.  Although most countries were somewhat divided between Mexico (ranked 19th in the world) and Croatia (ranked 20th), the vast majority of participants in Brazil and the US felt that Mexico would be the biggest challenge of Group A (selected by 61% of those interviewed in both countries).

Biggest Challenge for Brazil in Group Play

*Within the questionnaire, respondents were asked if they planned on watching or listening to the World Cup™ to avoid a cultural bias where audio may be an important component of the audience.  When this analysis refers to the population watching the World Cup™, we mean watching or listening to any part of the games.

Changing Opinions of Brazil

Most of the countries interviewed have a similar opinion of Brazil as the World Cup™ host.  However, the population that appears to be most critical of Brazil is…Brazil.  There have been several negative news stories that have come out of Brazil as it prepares for this summer’s World Cup™ that could fuel this opinion.  No doubt, awareness of these troubles is likely higher in Brazil and therefore more likely to influence the overall opinion of the nation.  Twenty-nine percent of those interviewed as part of our Brazil sample have a “much or somewhat worse” opinion of Brazil, 34% have “the same” opinion, and 37% have a “much or somewhat better” opinion.

How Opinions of Brazil has Changed as World Cup Host

As part of this research, we also asked a series of agreement statements to gather opinions about the preparedness and general perception of Brazil as the host country of the World Cup™.  Brazil was its harshest critic, with two-thirds of participants disagreeing that it is well prepared for the World Cup™ (compared to 37% across all countries interviewed), 62% disagreeing with the statement that it is a safe location (compared to 42% across all countries), and 42% disagreeing that it is a great location to host the event (compared to 19% across all countries).  

World Cup Location

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