Because of MLS’ relative newness to the sports scene, MLS fans have more “ownership” in the league’s success. Unlike fans of the NFL, MLB and other mainstream sports, fans of Major League Soccer have real concern about their league and its place on the sports landscape. Fans work hard to bring friends to games, introduce family to the sport and cheer for MLS teams in international competitions. This personalized relationship to the sport lends itself to these same fans taking an interest in the corporate entities that keep the league solvent. Moreover, because the relationships are promoted through means other than commercials (jerseys, signage, etc…), the names of these companies are always prominently displayed.
The Sports Business Journal is reporting on the results of the latest TurnKey Sports Intelligence Poll that looked at the significance of league sponsorship. The methodology of the survey is below. In short, the survey found that MLS fans are more likely than fans of any other US sport (other than NASCAR) to take patronize their official league sponsors. Two thirds of avid fans and more than half of casual fans are willing to consume or recommend league sponsors. According to the SBJ article, MLS fans are readily able to identify league sponsors, making investment in the league a financially worthwhile investment. New sponsors Allstate and Four Points generated significant increases in fan recognition early in their deals with the league.
We will have more on this survey in coming days, but from a league perspective, this survey should give SUM and MLS ammunition to attract more sponsors impressed with these numbers. We reported on this survey last year and the numbers have continued their upward trend. In short, MLS fans reward league sponsors with business and recognition.
Here is the methodology.”This year’s survey was conducted Nov. 14-16, a three-day period leading up to the MLS Cup championship game. Last year’s survey was fielded Nov. 5-12, a period leading up to the season’s conference finals. Respondents were screened and analyzed based on their general avidity levels. Fans categorized as “avid” were those who responded “4” or “5” to the question “How big a fan are you of MLS?”, claimed to “look up scores several times a week or more often,” “watch/listen/attend at least 10 games per season” and “have a favorite team.” Fans categorized as “casual” responded “3” to the same initial question, then claimed to “look up scores several times a month or more often,” “watch/listen/attend at least 3 games per season” and “have a favorite team.”When asked to identify official sponsors, respondents selected from a field of companies and brands that was provided to them for each business sector.”
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