How U.S. Hispanics View The World Cup: What Marketers Need To Know

Everybody’s talking about this year’s World Cup. Next to the Olympics, the FIFA World Cup is the largest, most all-encompassing sporting event in the world with nearly 200 countries trying to qualify for their chance to be among the final 32 taking the field in unarguably one of the most enthusiastic fútbol (soccer) countries in the world, Brazil.

And for marketers hoping to attract the Hispanic market, the odds of having your message seen by millions during the games are in your favor. 

In 2010, the World Cup held in South Africa was played in 10 different stadiums and drew in 3.1 million fans; averaging nearly 50,000 people per game. For the 3.2 billion fans around the world that couldn’t make the trip, full coverage was as close as their TV remote controls thanks to channels like Univision and ABC. Marketing and sponsorship sales alone brought in $1.1 billion. And this year’s games are stretched out over 12 host cities in Brazil!



So with over 50 million Hispanics living in the U.S., for marketers, it’s a gold mine, right? 

Not so fast. While the World Cup is considered the most important sporting event for the Hispanic global community, here in the States – according to a recent nationwide study conducted by ThinkNow Research – the level of interest varies … and we think we know why. Read on.

Level of Acculturation 

In the study, when asked if they were even aware that the World Cup was taking place, nearly two-thirds (64%) of Hispanics said they were … compared to just 43% of non-Hispanics. And while the Hispanic stats were pretty consistent across gender and age, when viewed in relation to language preference and acculturation, the difference was clear:

  • 78% of Spanish-dominant Hispanics were aware of the World Cup, compared to just 43% for English-dominant.
  • Similarly, 86% of low-acculturated Hispanics were aware of the event, compared to 39% of those highly-acculturated.

Considering the fact that a large portion of the U.S. Hispanic population has roots in countries where fútbol is the dominant sport, it’s no surprise that Spanish-dominant Hispanics and low-acculturated Hispanics have a higher awareness of the World Cup.

Importance of Cultural Values

For many Americans, Monday night is as synonymous with football as Jack Bauer is with Fox’s “24.” And for U.S. Hispanics attuned to the World Cup, that same affinity exists. 

As is typical in Hispanic communities, the focus is on family and friends, with 85% of Hispanics saying that they would be watching the games with others, compared to 42% of non-Hispanics who prefer to watch alone. 

When asked in which language they would be watching the games, no surprise … “Spanish” (29%) and “Both English & Spanish” (56%) paralleling their language preferences and acculturation levels.

And while nearly everyone planned on watching the event on TV, as many as 37% of Hispanics said they would also be watching online, reinforcing the fact that Hispanics are leading the way in adopting new digital technologies and using mobile devices.

The Big Picture

So, where does the World Cup rank in importance, compared to other sporting events? Like most other aspects of this survey, it depends on who you ask.

But it’s fair to say that the World Cup is easily the Super Bowl, World Series, and NBA Finals rolled into one for the Hispanic global community. But, here in the U.S., the study suggests that the longer Hispanics are in the States and become more acculturated, it’s possible that one day, the Super Bowl could edge out the World Cup. 

Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

1 comment about "How U.S. Hispanics View The World Cup: What Marketers Need To Know".
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  1. Alexis Soffian-Tellez from MASS, June 26, 2014 at 11:24 a.m.

    Very interesting read. My only "issue" is your penultimate line:

    "But, here in the U.S., the study suggests that the longer Hispanics are in the States and become more acculturated, it’s possible that one day, the Super Bowl could edge out the World Cup."

    While I suppose that without having a crystal ball, I cannot say for sure that this would never happen, what I don't like about this sentence is that it implies that Hispanics assimilate, rather than acculturate. And this implies that they may assimilate so much so that Super Bowl could become bigger than World Cup. And as this is supposed to be representing a Hispanic perspective, I think that gives General Market marketers the ammo to say "why target Hispanics if they're eventually going to assimilate, anyway".

    Yes it's true, Hispanics are acculturating (NOT assimilating), but I don't think they will ever give up their Hispanic roots enough that this could happen.

    I just wish instead of saying "Guess we'll just have to wait and see" you had said "Nahhhh!"

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