As the final match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup is fresh in our memory, it’s time for brands to embrace the tidal wave that is soccer. No longer a Saturday activity played by kids who long for orange slices and Capri Suns, soccer has come a long way baby. The phrase ‘soccer is not a sport’ is now only uttered by the ignorant, haters and Ann Coulter. The 2014 FIFA World Cup has showcased how much young consumers love soccer. The popularity of the World Cup surpassed the Super Bowl, the Oscars and the Grammys to become biggest social media event, ever, with the final game breaking records on Facebook and Twitter, including creating a new tweets-per-minute record of 618,725 as Germany won the game.
Soccer has a bad rap in the US, as Americans only seem to sign their children up to play but steer them to other sports as they age, mainly baseball and football. With the concussion and head trauma created in football finally getting attention, soccer is being embraced beyond elementary school. Brands need to embrace the sport as well as soccer popularity is surging. The trend of embracing soccer in the US finally gained momentum in 1994 with the creation of Major League Soccer (MLS). In 2013, MLS average game attendance of 18,608 surpassed that of the NBA 17,347 and NHL 17,720. Advertisers have taken notice and revenue for the MLS has increased each year since its creation. Now with the worldwide attention and Americans part of the party, the secret is out that soccer is cool.
Brands that target young consumers – Apple, Samsung, HTC, Nike, McDonald’s, Xbox – your time to embrace soccer is now. The Oscars and Emmys are but once a year, MLS soccer season runs from March to October and is gaining in momentum and cultural relevance. Brands need to engage this captive, social media addicted audience and participate in their passion. Baseball fans may be loyal, but soccer fans are passionate. If you could convert a soccer fan to be passionate about of your brand, imagine the advocacy they could create.
MLS Soccer Stadium vs. MLB Baseball Stadium
MLS Soccer fan vs. MLB Baseball fan
Soccer, you had us a ‘gooooooooaaaaaaal!’ Marketers and brands, it’s time to jump on the bandwagon, there’s plenty of room.