McCann Truth About Fans

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METHODOLOGY This study was conducted over the course of the one-month-long 2014 FIFA World Cup. Using McCann Truth Central’s proprietary mobile research tool, the Truth App, interviews with soccer fans were conducted in 24 markets globally, including: North/Central America: Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago, US South America: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru Europe: Germany, Greece, Italy, UK Asia-Pacific: Australia, Hong Kong, Japan Middle-East and Africa: Saudi Arabia, South Africa

In addition, a social listening exercise was conducted in the following countries: English: Australia, Hong Kong, Kenya, South Africa, UAE, UK, US Spanish/Portuguese: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Portugal, Spain Lastly, a focus group with teenage soccer fans was conducted in the United States.

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Quantitative data was used from the Truth About Globalization study, which surveyed 25+ markets worldwide.


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INTRODUCTION The best thing about being a fan is that the world stops when your team is playing. It’s like a drug. Being a fan is great. – Chilean soccer fan

The Truth About Fans: Sports Edition is inspired by the recently concluded 2014 FIFA World Cup. The event provided an ideal opportunity to study sports fans because a full 7 of 10 people globally say that they have an interest in sports, and a further 7 out of 10 said they were looking forward to the World Cup games in Brazil. The following pages will tease apart insights into fans of soccer in particular and of sports in general, although some of the biggest insights apply to fans of anything in the broadest sense.



FANS MATTER Fans, simply by virtue of the passion and connection they feel for a hobby/personality/pursuit, are a very special group of people. They are the most likely to talk about the thing they’re passionate about, evangelize it to others, and according to some studies, spend more than non-fans.1 This spirit of loyalty comes through loud and clear in one South African soccer fan’s description of what it means to be a fan:

[Being a fan] means supporting a team through thick and thin. This is more than just a game; this is a lifestyle. T H E T R U T H A B O U T FA N S S p o r t s E d i t i o n

By virtue of these characteristics, brands today are obsessed with cultivating fans of their own. However, fan behavior is changing drastically in the face of new technology, social media and the overwhelming mass of content that is vying for their attention. How can brands understand their new behaviors in order to best engage with them? The Truth About Fans seeks to answer this question. But before it does so, it is worth exploring this idea of fans at the broadest level.


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Think about things like music, film, sports, celebrities and brands. In general what kind of “fan” are you?


There are things I’m completely obsessed with; I’m a die-hard fan.


There are things I love and I would definitely describe myself as a fan.


There are things I like but I wouldn’t say I’m a fan of anything in particular.


For the full executive summary of this study, please email us at:

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