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The World Cup has begun, and with it comes research examining how people will watch the event and the impact it will have on corporate sponsors and advertising markets. Here are some highlights from various studies released in the past few weeks.

Each bullet point ends with the source of the data and a link (where available) to where the research can be viewed or downloaded.

Viewing/Interest Data

  • 42% of US adults will watch the World Cup and 11% watch even though they have no other interest in soccer. Some 3.2 billion people tuned in to the 2014 tournament. Source: Oath.
  • Some 38% of young adults (18-29) in the US are likely to watch the World Cup, on par with the number who said they would watch the World Series (39%) and NBA finals (40%). Source: Morning Consult.
  • 43% of people surveyed across 18 markets report being interested in football (soccer), making it the sport with the broadest interest of all. Within the US, 32% are interested or very interested in football, with this figure higher among men (38%) than women (26%). At least half of youth (16-34) in the US are very interested in the sport, though interest declines alongside increasing age. Source: Nielsen [download page].
  • Among people who are aware of the World Cup, the largest share (62%) around the world plan to watch it on a TV set, while one-quarter will watch on the internet and 13% on a mobile phone. Source: Ipsos [pdf].
  • People in China (35%) and India (28%) are the most likely to say they’ll watch the World Cup via smartphone or tablet, with just 8% in the US concurring. Source: Nielsen [download page].

Sponsorship Data

  • 3 in 4 people around the world who aware of the World Cup believe that nowadays it is more concerned with corporate sponsorship than individual sportsmanship. Source: Ipsos [pdf].
  • Among those aware of the World Cup, sponsor awareness is highest for Coca-Cola (76%), Adidas (64%) and McDonald’s (51%) and lowest for Alfa Bank (8%), Wanda (7%), Rostelecom (6%) and Mengniu (4%). Source: Ipsos [pdf].
  • Brands will spend up to US $200 million for a sponsorship package. Source: Zenith.
  • Although adidas has spent millions on World Cup sponsorship over the years, Nike actually regularly outperforms it in share price gains after the events. Source: The Guardian.
  • FIFA sponsorship revenue is expected to exceed $1.45 billion in the 2015-2018 period, though that would be down from the $1.63 billion between 2011 and 2014. Source: Nielsen, citing FIFA annual reports [download page].
  • Some 57% of people interested in football agree that companies involved in sponsoring sport gain in appeal with the audience, and 36% say they actively inform themselves about brands engaged as a sponsor in sport. Source: Nielsen [download page].

Advertising Data

  • The World Cup will bring an additional US $2.4 billion to the global advertising market this year, with China ($835 million; 1% of its ad market) the biggest beneficiary in dollar terms. Russia is expected to enjoy a $64 million growth in ad revenues, which translates to 2.1% of all Russian ad spending in 2018. The World Cup will have a larger dollar impact on US ad spending (bringing an additional $400 million), but that will boost the US’s advertising market by only 0.2%, with the failure of the men’s team to qualify being a key detractor. Source: Zenith.
  • FIFA World Cup media rights income is expected to be $3 billion this year. This refers to media right income for all FIFA events in the cycle, with the World Cup accounting for the vast majority of the value. This year’s $3 billion would represent a 25% increase from $2.4 billion in both 2014 and 2010. Source: Nielsen [download page].
  • World Cup programming in the US earned $319 million in revenue for the 2014 event, including pre- and post-game, as in-game coverage earned $296 million. The auto industry was the biggest spender on US advertising during the 2014 World Cup, followed by telecom and non-alcoholic beverages. Source: Standard Media Index.
  • In the lead-up to the event, facial coding research suggests that Nike’s World Cup ad is more emotionally engaging than its rival adidas’ campaign. Source: Realeyes

Please follow the links for details on the research methodologies.

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