The FIFA World Cup 2022 is nearly here, and with FIFA projecting an audience of 5 billion watching at least some of the month-long event, it offers a chance for the entire media ecosystem —from the broadcasters, streamers and platforms to brands and rights holders— to score big with fans, and turn team loyalty into brand loyalty, Nielsen assured in its latest report.
With 40% of the global population taking an interest in football, it is no surprise the sport is the most popular in the world. In fact, 10 of the 13 regions Nielsen surveyed include football in their top three most-popular sports.
The World Cup has the highest awareness of any sporting event at 95% of sports fans. And for football fans, the World Cup is the ultimate sports experience. The month-long tournament features 32 national football teams competing in 64 matches, with a final game that hundreds of millions of people will watch.
The reach of the World Cup extends far beyond the pitch, with match updates, scores and the latest player news taking over fans’ screens, airwaves and social feeds. With so much happening, the competition for attention is almost as fierce as the face-offs happening on the field. “To keep audiences engaged, brands need to create a seamless, cross-platform experience that provides relevant information, to enhance the viewing experience. Given the diversity of the World Cup audience, brands and marketers who want to make the most of the opportunity to attract new buyers need to make sure they are reaching the right audience on the right platform, at the right time,” Nielsen said.
When it comes to platform, fans prefer to watch live matches, and 81% tune in to free-to-air TV for their footie fix. Social media viewing is gaining in popularity with 72% of fans watching the action via apps, while 68% view on over-the-top streaming devices and 62% paying to watch matches. “This means brands, publishers and platforms have the ability to get creative with how they engage audiences across multiple devices. But the key to engagement on any platform is data,” Nielsen noted.
Moreover, Nielsen’s survey found that 59% of football fans would favor a sponsor’s product over a rival’s brand if price and quality were the same. At the same time, with roughly 80% of fans browsing social media or using an app during a game, there are even more possibilities for brands to connect with their target audience through influencer marketing.
“With its massive global audience, the World Cup represents a unique opportunity to capture the attention, and win the loyalty, of new audiences. And the brands that will score big are the ones able to harness the power of data to deliver a responsive viewing experience that immerses fans in the drama of the game and never leaves them guessing on where to find the information or entertainment they want,” the report concluded.