59% of UK won’t be watching the World Cup this year

A winter World Cup has changed consumer behaviour and where they watch the global tournament. Will it be as popular as advertisers hope?

Despite the UK’s reputation as the “home of football”, only 39% of British respondents said they plan to watch the World Cup. 

Mobile advertising platform LoopMe revealed in their survey that a surprising 59% won’t be tuning in to the tournament. This comes as the tournament prepares to kick off in late November, the first winter World Cup, and during a worsening financial crisis. 

Advertisers will already have been making decisions on whether their campaigns will be aligning with the football, Christmas or both in this final quarter, with expectations of the obvious Santa kicking a football soon to be seen on our screens. 

But will the tournament be as popular as they expect? Consumers in Singapore are more engaged with the event, with 42% stating they plan, or may, watch. Only 20% in the US said they’d watch. 

84% of UK respondents who plan to watch the World Cup will do so from home, and while 54% cite comfort as the reason for this, 14% admit they want to save money by watching indoors.

Colder weather means less sociable viewers

While much has been made of the tournament’s unusual winter scheduling this year, 37% of LoopMe’s UK respondents said it makes no difference to them. However, a quarter (25%) stated they prefer watching the World Cup in the summer because of the weather. This is corroborated by LoopMe’s Euros research last year, which found that 43% intended to watch with family, suggesting a warmer season prompts more sociable viewing habits.

For 48% of respondents, the Lionesses’ success in the women’s Euros has made them “much more” or “a bit more” excited to watch the World Cup this year – an encouraging insight into the growing popularity of the women’s game.

“While it’s surprising to see that so many respondents aren’t planning to watch the World Cup, it’s understandable that the majority of viewers will be watching from home this year,” commented Sarah Rew, Senior Director, Global Marketing at LoopMe. 

“As the cost of living crisis continues, many will inevitably want to cut back on pub trips, with financial anxieties likely to blame for the low interest in the tournament this year. Perhaps the clash with the festive season means the World Cup has lost its usual significance. Either way, it will be interesting to see how the event in Qatar plays out.”