So I have wanted to tackle this topic for a while and the final piece came into focus today as SBJ (Sports Business Journal) released some interesting numbers about fans and "avid fans"
There are two things that stick out to me, first is that growth of 7% among men 18-34 over the last decade is exactly what so many of us have tried to say was happening. To see that the 7% is tops among all major sports is a huge factor that validates the investment of MLS owners and should speak loudly to both TV and league sponsors.
The numbers also show while the Hispanic market is important to MLS, the league is far less important to them, soccer is important to them, but it is clear that twice as many continue to support teams in Mexico over MLS. This despite years of attempting to market the league to them.
After the jump we look at what I believe is the key to long term MLS success.
So for me the question is how to turn the 27.8% of people who said they were MLS fans into a larger number of "Avid Fans"? No sport has a higher number of "Avid Fans" than the NFL that have 31.9% using that title vs. 67.1% who simply say they are NFL fans. If MLS can convert a higher percentage (currently 20%) then we will be moving in the right direction, if MLS were able to turn half of their fans into "Avid Fans" it would give them a higher percentage than NASCAR, the NHL, and have them close to the numbers of the NBA and College Basketball
So ask yourself what kind of fan are you, if your not sure click here to take the Octagon "Passion Driver" quiz, it is just 5 questions and could reveal something you didn't know about your passion level for the sport.
I like the list of the more detailed Octagon survey which measures passion by:
- Team Devotion
- All Consuming
- Talk & Socializing
- Personal Indulgence
- Sense of Belonging
- Player Excitement
- Love of the Game
- Active Appreciation
- Player Affinity
- TV Preference