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UEFA: Why European Soccer Resonates with U.S. Hispanics

By Eric Conrad, SVP, Sports Programming and Acquisitions

Starting in 2018, Univision Deportes will have the Spanish-language rights to all UEFA competitions. This includes top properties like the Champions League and Euro Cup. Since we acquired these rights, I’ve been asked time and again how European soccer factors into our strategy of reaching U.S. Hispanic sports fans. Let me address.

According to the 2017 Fanáticos Study our research team conducted with Nielsen, Hispanics are three times more likely to follow the UEFA Champions League than non-Hispanics. This interest translates to TV success. The ratings for last year’s full tournament on ESPN Deportes was +41% higher than on ESPN2 in English among Adults 18-49. A similar story is seen on Fox Networks, with Fox Deportes delivering +23% more Adults 18-49 than their English-language matches on Fox Sports 1 & 2.

So why is there such high interest in these properties among Hispanics? One of the main reasons is the level of competition. The most recent FIFA ranking says that 6 of the top 10 national teams in the world play in Europe. Also, a 2016 Guardian ranking states that 99 of the top 100 players in the world play on a European club soccer team. Simply stated, soccer fans want to see the best players play.

This brings us to our second big reason U.S. Hispanics love European soccer. Of those 99 best-in-the-world-players, 57 are from Spain or Latin America. Hispanics are drawn to teams that feature players from their countries of origin, regardless of which team they land on. When Mexico’s star forward Javier “Chicharito” Hernández moved to Bayer Leverkusen in 2015, they became the highest-rated German club team among Hispanics for the two following seasons until he was traded again to West Ham United in July 2017.

In our recent Fanáticos study, we found that 83% of bilingual Hispanics say they prefer to watch games in Spanish. By marrying the best soccer in the world with the Univision Deportes brand, we are giving our audience world class production from the brand – and in the language – they love. We are already the home of soccer in the U.S. and these rights will help us maintain that through 2018 and beyond.

Source: Nielsen, NPM, NPMH (ESPD), most recently completed tournament for Champions League, based on all matches on UniMás to-date compared to same match in English for National Tournaments. For Hispanic vs. Non-Hispanic UEFA Champions League % & bi-lingual: 2017 Fanáticos Study commissioned by Univision with Nielsen

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