Ahead of Super Bowl LVI, we take a look at the level of interest in the National Football League (NFL) in Britain and dig up some key insights into this audience base. YouGov Profiles data tells us that almost one in ten Brits (9%) are either somewhat interested in the NFL or say it’s one of their top interests.
Promisingly for the League, historical Profiles data reveals that the share of interested consumers has grown steadily since January 2020.
The age split of this fan-base largely mimics the make-up of the overall British population, but people aged 30-50 are somewhat more drawn to the league. Two in five (39%) of those interested in NFL belong to that age group, while they constitute 35% of the general population.
Another demographic insight is that almost three-quarters of NFL fans are men (73%), who make up only 48% of the total British adult population. This gender variance is somewhat less pronounced in the British fan bases of other popular American sports leagues, such as the National Basketball Association (67% male vs 33% female) and the MLB (68% male vs 32% female).
But how does the fan-following of other big-ticket American leagues compare against NFL on the whole? Our data shows that the NFL (9%) is noticeably more popular than the NBA (4%), MLB (4%) and NHL (4%), each of which draw interest from about one in 25 Brits.
Most popular NFL players in Britain
Seven-time title winner Tom Brady, who is mulling his future in the sport, is the most popular NFL athlete among NFL followers in Britain. About one in eight British NFL fans (12%) say he is one of their favourites.
Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes (9%) is second on the list and features in the top five alongside Ron Gronkowski (6%), Aaron Rodgers (6%) and Odell Beckham Jr. (5%).
How can advertisers reach these fans?
When compared to all sports followers (those who say they are “sports mad” or that they “follow sports closely”), NFL fans are significantly more likely to engage with billboard advertising. A quarter of them (26%) agree with the statement “I often comment on things I have seen on posters and billboards on social media” (vs 14% of general sports followers). A third of them (32%) say they “often talk to my friends and family about things they have seen advertised on posters or billboards” (vs 20% of sports followers).
NFL fans (33%) are also likelier than the average British sports follower (21%) to say they like to support their team by buying products from the team’s sponsors.
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