Sports Fans Love Soccer – New Study Measures Fan Satisfaction
J.D. Power Finds MLS and NHL Teams Outscore NFL Teams in Fan Experience. MLS teams ranked highest in 5 of 11 markets, and performed very well in the other 6 markets – NFL teams ranked the lowest in every market.
Now it is documented — MLS fans have a good time at watching their favorite pro teams play — at least according to the new J.D. Power 2017 Fan Experience Study. And, guess what?
In Many Markets, MLS teams scored the highest — NFL teams score the lowest.
The study measures fan satisfaction with their overall experience at major pro sporting events.
Fan satisfaction is evaluated across seven factors – in order of importance seating area and game experience; security and ushers; leaving the game; arriving at the game; food and beverage; ticket purchase; and souvenirs and merchandise.
While the personal bias of loyalty, team performance on-field and team image are important, these were not factored in the rankings.
Best News: Sports fans care more about the nightmare of traffic flow leaving the stadium than they do about the actual price of the ticket.
While the ease of leaving the stadium and avoiding nightmarish parking lot adventures or traffic jams to the freeway topped the list, seat location and view ranked #2 followed immediately by the helpfulness of ushers – ranking #3. The price paid for tickets ranked #22 on the satisfaction index — and very close to #24 which was the ease of the purchase
The price paid for tickets ranked #22 on the satisfaction index — and the ease of purchase process ranked #24. The quality of the food and beverages ranked #23.
Satisfaction was measured on a 1,000-point scale and the respondents were drawn online from US general population panels.
The Houston Dynamo, Los Angeles Galaxy, New England Revolution, New York Red Bulls and the Philadelphia Union score highest in their respective markets, while the Chicago Fire, FC Dallas, and San Jose Earthquakes score second highest.
The only MLS teams that buck the trend of rabid fan satisfaction are the Colorado Rapids and New York City Football Club (third) and DC United (fourth).
Study findings show that an NFL team performs at the bottom in every market.
“We know franchises and clubs with winning records generally do not have problems filling seats, but this study is about finding out which teams are giving their fans the best experience for their dollar,” said Greg Truex, Senior Director, Sports Research at J.D. Power.
The data shows that MLS teams are providing a great fan experience and delivering a real value for the entertainment dollar. Perhaps NFL teams earning such amazingly significant sums from TV rights — higher earnings than from ticket sales — distracts from the attention to fan satisfaction.
“The most surprising fact that emerged was that NFL teams were last in every market,” said Truex in a chat this morning to recap the findings in greater depth.
Truex’s parting wisdom to help sports teams? “It is important that sports teams listen to the voice of their customer and be flexible to change.”
More Good News: Fans say MLS games provide exciting entertainment
“Whether a team is a perennial champion, a contender or is accumulating draft picks to build for the future, they all need to find ways to get people through the turnstiles,” said Truex.
“The teams at the top of their markets understand what it takes to keep fans coming back for more, as well as recommending the experience to friends and family, regardless of the standings.”
12% of respondents say they watched less NFL games this year than in the past.
“Top performers in this study show that they really understand what it’s like to give a world-class experience to their fans,” Truex said. “These results have to make NFL teams sit up and take notice—particularly when coupled with their sagging TV ratings,” noted Truex.
Maybe sports fans are discovering the joys of watching soccer? Another pro-soccer fact which emerged from this study …
Sports fans believe MLS players set a good example for kids
In fact, 44% of sports fans believe MLS players are good role models for kids — up from the 35% industry average.
Why are people opting out of football? While national anthem protests are to blame as well as off-field problems with domestic violence and excessive commercials, this is a new trend — American sports fans discovering the excitement of soccer and a few even defecting from football.
Just the Facts – MLS Beats NFL on both coasts
East Coast Fact: New York is RED BULL Territory.
For the second consecutive year, the Red Bulls (819) score highest in the New York market.
That means big bragging rights for the Red Bulls because not only are they enjoying a hold on the top-scoring spot in the study’s New York market, but they also outperform archrival NYCFC (794).
What is really big news? Both MLS teams beat the New York Knicks and the New York Yankees by nearly 50 points in fan satisfaction.
On the other coast, the Galaxy beats Angels and Ducks.
The LA Galaxy (815) scores big this year — helping soccer take the top spot over other sports in the highly competitive southern California market.
Note: In last year’s inaugural study, only teams in the nation’s four largest markets—New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston—were evaluated.
This year, Bay Area, Boston, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Philadelphia, South Florida and Washington, D.C. have been added, while Los Angeles has been expanded to include all of Southern California.