Most Adults Across North America (the U.S., Mexico, and Canada) Say That They Have Watched the World Cup in the Past
Washington, DC, October 24, 2017 —According to a series of recent online surveys conducted in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada by Ipsos on behalf of the United Bid Committee, just over half (55%) of all adults report having watched the men’s international soccer/ football tournament known as the ('FIFA' in Canada) World Cup in the past. However, viewership in Mexico (83%) is nearly twice as high compared to the U.S. (45%) and Canada (47%) – including a significantly greater proportion of adults in Mexico who say that they are avid watchers of past World Cup matches (33% vs. 17% U.S. and 11% Canada).
- A third (34%) across North America consider themselves to be occasional watchers of the World Cup, although this is more likely to be the case in Mexico (50%) and Canada (36%) compared to the United States (28%). The other 43% of all respondents say that they have never watched World Cup matches in the past, with Americans (53%) and Canadians (50%) driving this trend (compared to only 15% of adults in Mexico who have never watched World Cup matches).
A majority report being at least a little interested in the sport of soccer (61%), including two in five (40%) across all three countries who report being very/somewhat interested in the sport. Adults from Mexico are much more likely to say that they are very/somewhat interested in the sport (67%) versus respondents in the United States (30%) and Canada (31%) who say the same thing. On the other hand, nearly two in five (38%) of all respondents say that they have no interest at all in soccer/football – with a greater proportion of adults from the U.S. (47%) and Canada (43%) lacking interest in the game (versus 13% in Mexico).
When asked if they have heard about the possibility of the men’s World Cup being played in Canada, Mexico, and the United States in 2026, only a third (34%) acknowledge awareness of this - versus just over half (53%) who have not heard of the bid and 12% who are not sure. Awareness of the World Cup being played in Canada, Mexico, and the United States is greatest in Mexico where more than half (56%) report having heard about this possibility. Awareness in Canada drop to 32%, while even fewer (26%) have heard about this possibility in the U.S.
- Nearly six in ten (57%) would be interested in attending World Cup matches if they were played in a city near their home/work, although interest jumps to 78% among adults in Mexico (compared to 50% in the U.S. and 51% in Canada). On the contrary, 38% say that they would be not very/not at all interested in attending World Cups matches while a few (4%) don’t know.
Attitudes Towards Co-Hosting the World Cup
Looking at support for the United States/Mexico/Canada co-hosting the men’s ('FIFA') World Cup in 2026, more than three quarters (77%) are in favor of this initiative, including two in five who say they are very supportive (43%). Not quite one in ten, in comparison, say that they are strongly/somewhat opposed to their country co-hosting the World Cup in 2026 (8%), while another 16% don’t know.
- Relative to both the U.S. (74%) and Canada (76%), support for the united bid is especially strong in Mexico (83%). However, greater proportions of adults in Mexico also report being opposed to their country co-hosting the World Cup (12% vs. 6% U.S. and 6% Canada). Those in the U.S. (20%) and Canada (18%), in their turn, are much more likely to be uncertain (versus 5%, Mexico).
When told that a potential advantage of the united North American bid is that no new stadiums will need to be built to host World Cup matches, which would dramatically reduce the financial burden on taxpayers in the U.S./mean no costs for federal and local governments in Mexico/mean no need for stadium infrastructure dollars from any level of government in Canada, support for the bid remains steady with more than three quarters saying this makes them much more/somewhat more supportive (79%). Once again, less than one in ten (8%) say that knowing this makes them much less/somewhat less supportive, while 13% don’t know.
- Adults in Mexico continue to have stronger opinions here as well, with greater proportions saying that knowing this makes them feel either more supportive (84%) or less supportive (11%) of the bid. Those in the United States (15%) and Canada (16%) remain particularly likely to say that they don’t know.
Among those in favor of the North America bid, helping out their country economically is the top reason for supporting co-hosting the World Cup (61%), while another 50% also back this idea as they think it would boost the image of their nation around the world. Two in five (43%) believe that co-hosting the World Cup would help grow the game of soccer in the United States/Canada/Mexico, rounding out the top three responses.
- In the United States and Canada, supporters are much more likely to say they favor the bid for the positive economic impact it could have on their country (64% and 59%, respectively vs. 53% Mexico) and for its potential to help grow the game of soccer in their nation as well (48% and 57% vs. 27% Mexico).
- However, Americans are much less likely to think co-hosting the World Cup would boost the image of their country around the world (47% vs. 54% Mexico and 53% Canada).
Other reasons such as helping the U.S./Canada/Mexico socially (39%), inspiring kids to be more active (36%), and having fun watching/ attending World Cup matches with others in their community (30%) are mentioned by at least three in ten as reasons for being supportive, while slightly fewer feel this way because no new stadiums would need to be built meaning less burden on taxpayers/ government (29%). Fewer support their country co-hosting the World Cup for political reasons (20%) or because they are fans who would want to attend the matches (18%), although one in five nevertheless mention these.
- Adults in both the U.S. and Canada tend to be more likely to mention most of these reasons when describing why they support their country co-hosting the World Cup, although results for all three countries are on par when it comes to saying that attending World Cup matches and/or watching them with others in their community would be a fun and exciting thing to do.
Not only are most adults in North America supportive of the United States/Mexico/Canada co-hosting the men’s World Cup, but more than eight in ten (81%) also agree it would be good for the country as a whole (compared to only 7% who think it would be bad for the country, and another 12% who don’t know). Those in Mexico (85%) are especially optimistic about the effects of the bid on their country, while Canada mirrors this pattern, though not quite to the same extent (82%). The proportion of Americans who believe that the U.S. co-hosting the World Cup would be good for their country falls just below eight in ten (79%).
When it comes to those who are opposed to World Cup matches being held in their country, nearly half feel this way because they think it would cost too much money (49%) – although costs are more likely to be a concern in Mexico (67%) and Canada (63%) than in the U.S. (33%). Not being a soccer fan/not attending a match (34%) and the potential security risks that co-hosting could pose (33%) are each mentioned by roughly a third, while one in four adults are opposed to the bid for fear that hosting a game in their hometown/city would cause traffic congestion and other headaches (25%). At least one in ten also bring up general traffic congestions and crowds (15%) and the influx of foreign visitors (12%) to describe why they oppose World Cup matches coming to their country.
- Only a few major differences emerge across the three countries, with Americans (46%) and Canadians (54%) especially likely to report being opposed because they are not soccer fans and would never consider attending a match compared to those who say the same in Mexico (16%). Traffic congestions/headaches in their city and traffic congestions/crowds in general are also especially likely to be pain points in Canada.
About the Study
These are the findings from a series of Ipsos polls conducted August 31 – September 1, 2017 in the U.S., September 14 - 19, 2017 in Mexico (please note that fieldwork ended prior to the Earthquake that struck Mexico 09/19/17), and September 19 - 21, 2017 in Canada on behalf of the United Bid Committee. For the survey, a sample of roughly n=1,000 adults ages 18 and over from each market was interviewed online, in English (U.S. and Canada), Spanish (Mexico), and French (Canada). The total sample was weighted to be appropriately representative of the three countries. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of ± 2.0 percentage points for all respondents surveyed, and ± 3.5 percentage points within each country.
The sample for the U.S/Canada was randomly drawn from Ipsos’s online panel (see link below for more info on “Access Panels and Recruitment”), partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling (see link below for more info on the Ipsos “Ampario Overview” sample method) and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Post-hoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, region, race/ethnicity and income.
For Mexico, the survey instrument was conducted via the Ipsos Online Panel system. Results are weighted to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects the adult population of each country according Census data. Results are representative, although lower levels of connectivity that exist in Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Turkey make these samples not nationally representative. They are more urban/educated/income than their fellow citizens and are referred to as “Upper Deck” Consumer Citizens.
Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of ± 2.0 percentage points for all respondents (see link below for more info on Ipsos online polling “Credibility Intervals”). Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=3,005, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=3.5).
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