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FIFA World Cup a favourite for Generation X & Millennial men

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2017 – March 2018 (n=15,067).
Australia’s participation in the FIFA World Cup Finals is on the line on Tuesday night when Australia takes on Peru needing a win to progress to the knock-out stages, but who are the people most passionately cheering on the Socceroos in Russia?

Over 3.8 million Australians (19.1%) watch Soccer of one sort or another on TV (FIFA World Cup, A-League, English Premier League etc.) and the favoured TV viewing experience is the FIFA World Cup watched by over 3 million Australians (14.9%).

When the World Cup Finals roll around every four years viewership spikes significantly and in 2014 over 4.2 million Australians (21.9%) watched the World Cup Finals in Brazil. This year’s World Cup Finals in Russia will inevitably lead to a significant spike in viewership to challenge the high of over 4.2 million viewers achieved four years ago.

The FIFA World Cup is considerably more popular among men than women. Over 2.1 million men watch the FIFA World Cup compared to just under 900,000 women and these enthusiasm levels are replicated when analysing the TV viewing habits of different generations.

Generation X, born between 1961-1975, just pips Millennials to be the generation most interested in watching the FIFA World Cup on TV. Nearly 870,000 members of Generation X watch the FIFA World Cup on TV compared to around 770,000 Millennials.

26.6% of men in Generation X and 25.1% of Millennial men watch the FIFA World Cup on TV compared to 19.6% of men in Generation Z, 18.4% of Baby Boomer men and 14.2% of Pre Boomer men.


FIFA World Cup viewing by Generation & Gender – 12 months to March 2018

FIFA World Cup viewing by Generation & Gender - 12 months to March 2018

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2017 – March 2018 (n=15,067).

Over 10% of Generation X women watch the FIFA World Cup on TV – a higher proportion than any other generation. However, in contrast to men, it is the youngest women of Generation Z that are the next most interested in watching the FIFA World Cup on TV. 8.6% of women in Generation Z watch the FIFA World Cup on TV compared to 7.9% of Millennial women and 7.4% of Baby Boomer women.

The comparably higher viewing figures for the younger women of Generation Z are backed up by other Roy Morgan research which shows it is the increasing participation of young women in the game that is supporting the overall community participation levels for the sport. These trends were explored in detail in a Roy Morgan release on football participation levels available here.


Interest in FIFA World Cup spikes significantly when tournament is held

Analysing the long-term trends on TV viewership of the FIFA World Cup shows the positive impact the holding of the tournament has on attracting people to watch the games.

During and immediately after the 2014 FIFA World Cup Finals held in Brazil, nearly 5% more Australians said they watch the FIFA World Cup in six monthly period of June – November 2014 (21.9%) compared to the six monthly period immediately preceding the tournament between December 2013 – May 2014 (17.0%).

Since peaking immediately following the previous tournament TV viewership of the FIFA World Cup has fallen by around a third and in the six month period to March 2018 14.9% of Australians now say they watch the FIFA World Cup on TV.


FIFA World Cup TV viewing by Australians aged 14+ 2013 – 2018

FIFA World Cup Viewing Trends - 2014 - 2018

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2013 – March 2018 moving 6 monthly average. n averages 7,751 per 6 month period.


Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan, says the FIFA World Cup on at the moment is providing exciting late night entertainment to football fans up and down the country and millions will be watching when Australia’s hopes go on the line against Peru on Tuesday:

“The Socceroos journey to the FIFA World Cup was longer than any other team at Russia 2018 playing 22 games and traveling an estimated 250,000km in qualifying before victory against Honduras secured one of the last spots at the showpiece. For Australian fans enjoying the spectacle in Russia this month it was certainly worth it.

“Over 3.8 million Australians watch World football of one sort or another on TV and over 3 million Australians (14.9%) specifically watch the FIFA World Cup on TV.

“Unsurprisingly it is Australian men of all ages who are the biggest fans of the FIFA World Cup compared to similarly aged women. Over a quarter of men in the highly coveted age brackets covered by Generation X (26.6%) and Millennials (25.1%) say they watch the FIFA World Cup on TV – more than twice the rate of women of the same age. Men in these generations were born between 1961-1990 and are now aged 27-57 years old.

“Although viewership does drop off for the youngest generation born between 1991-2005 known as Generation Z, it is worth remembering that some members of Generation Z were only nine or ten years old the last time Australia played in a FIFA World Cup and are likely still developing their passion for the game.

“A quick look at the figures for the different States shows interest in the FIFA World Cup is highest in Australia’s two largest States. 17.1% of people living in NSW say they watch the FIFA World Cup on TV and as do 16.8% of Victorians compared to only 9.5% of Tasmanians. The fact over half of Australia’s A-League teams are based in these two States also indicates the level of interest for World football particularly in Melbourne and Sydney.

“Roy Morgan has extensive in-depth data drawn from the Single Source survey conducted with over 1,000 Australians per week and over 50,000 per year from around Australia. This quantitative and qualitative resource is unrivaled in its granular detail and for even more incisive results can be combined with the psychographic segmentation tools available via Roy Morgan Helix Personas.”

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