Reaching a Target Audience
Soccer is the most beloved sport across the world, and it is the primary sport in most countries. In the United States, however, soccer has an uphill battle jostling for attention alongside football, basketball and baseball.
U.S. Soccer has many efforts to grow Americans’ interest in the sport of soccer. Another approach would be to seek current soccer fans that support teams other than the U.S. Men’s and Women’s National teams.
In that spirit, U.S. Soccer wished to better understand Hispanic American soccer fans.
We facilitated two stakeholder sessions to clearly articulate the learning objectives, the desired outcome of our work, and to understand current hypotheses about Hispanic American soccer fans.
To gather the fan perspective distinct and separate from client hypotheses, we asked open-ended questions of U.S. Soccer fans and non-fans through several methods:
Ten in-depth interviews
One English-language focus group
One Spanish-language focus group
Next, we led a stakeholder session to present and discuss qualitative findings, refine our hypotheses, and develop fan-inspired ideas for programs and initiatives that could be evaluated in the next phase of study.
To gain the confidence of numbers, we evaluated hypotheses and potential initiatives through an online survey of n=621 Hispanic American soccer fans ranging in fandom, language preference, acculturation and generation.
U.S. Soccer embraced the findings of our Hispanic American Soccer Fan study. Valuable learning ranged from media/language preferences and key drivers of team loyalty to hypotheses disproven and potential U.S. Soccer initiatives prioritized.
Perhaps the most important finding was to change the objective itself. The early goal was to win the favor of Hispanic Americans from their current favorite team, to persuade them to root for the U.S. National Teams instead. Our qualitative and quantitative findings showed that Hispanic Americans do not see themselves as solely Hispanic nor solely American, and understanding the complexity of their identity showed us that it is not only unreasonable, but also insensitive to ask them to select only America as their team. This small, deep insight about the Hispanic American target audience leads to a small change at the start, but this shift in perspective will have a significant impact on all messaging and campaigns to come.