Football and LaLiga gain followers in India

MUMBAI: Interest in football and the number of fans following the sport are registering significant growth in China, India and Indonesia, with further evidence of consolidation of LaLiga’s brand image. This demonstrates the degree to which the sport and the Spanish competition are making significant inroads in major Asian markets.

The above results comprise some of the findings of the market research firm GfK in a study conducted for LaLiga analysing the evolution of football and LaLiga in 10 countries, including China, India and Indonesia – all markets of strategic relevance for the expansion of football and the Spanish competition. The project in Asia consisted of 5,000 online interviews, lasting 15 minutes each, with internet users between 16 and 69 years of age, who were representative of the population of internet users in each country, during November 2017 and November 2018.

Interest in football and the number of fans is on the rise

Over half of respondents in the three countries stated that they are “very interested” in football. The level of interest has grown by 7 percentage points in the period analysed, rising from 45% to 52%. Particularly notable was the growth in Indonesia, with an increase of over nine percentage points to reach 59%, as well as in China, where the seven-percentage-point increase situates it at 43%. Although more moderate in India, interest also rose by four percentage points to 53%. Furthermore, football retains the top positions in the rankings of favourite sports among the respondents most interested in sport: In China it was first-placed alongside basketball, in Indonesia it occupied first place, and in India it was the second-favourite sport behind cricket.

LaLiga is rated very positively as a competition

Just as a commercial brand needs to be remembered by its potential customers, as a sports brand LaLiga needs to remain in the minds of the public as the first step towards earning their preference. As a result, measuring the degree to which people remember it is key to winning over fans in China, Indonesia and India. When measured professionally, this is termed “awareness” and it is described as unaided because respondents are not prompted in any way in order to “jog” their memory. And this is why this indicator is important: It tells us whether the brand being studied is top of mind among respondents or not.

Unaided awareness of LaLiga has increased by four percentage points in the three countries analysed during the year under study.

According to Javier Gomez, GfK’s Brand and Customer Experience Director, “In our experience with regard to brand tracking studies, growth in brand awareness of one percentage point in one year is a very good figure. The result obtained by LaLiga, with a rise of four percentage points in a single year, is extraordinary.”

Additionally, the number of viewers who watched at least one LaLiga match per month last season increased by three percentage points. In the 12 months analysed, this figure rose from 59% to 62% of the internet users interviewed.

Furthermore, there was an increase in the recommendation of LaLiga among the football fans who took part in the study. In this regard, an indicator called the Net Promoter Score (NPS)* is used. In the case of LaLiga, this indicator increased by a total of three points in the three countries analysed, rising from 30% to 33%.

Another important figure is the high opinion which the fans interviewed have of the Spanish competition. Around 80% of them rate it positively or very positively and offer unprompted praise when asked about the values, ideas and feelings which they associate with LaLiga. Examples of notable observations are “it is a good competition,” “it’s high quality and prestigious,” “it’s the best,” and “it’s good entertainment, it’s fun.”

This excellent image is even more notable among viewers who prefer to watch LaLiga matches over other sports or audiovisual content. Among them, almost half (48%) do so due to the quality of the competition, given that it features some of the best footballers in the world, 40% because they “support a team”, and 36% because they are “fans of a player”.