BLOG | by YouGov Sport

Mexicans know European teams are better. They just don’t follow them

European football teams should have a golden business opportunity in Mexico: They have talented and popular players among their ranks, Mexicans recognize their success and team management, and are even more widely known than some local teams. However, they haven’t yet achieved a following proportional to this perceived quality in the country.

So far in 2022 (from January 1st to November 10th), according to YouGov’s SportsIndex, local football teams as a group are more widely known among Mexicans compared to foreign teams. Spanish and British football organizations, also as a group, trail somewhat closely, but they are not recognizable brand names for around half of the country’s audience. Other European teams are even lower in the scale. However, they haven’t yet achieved a following proportional to this perceived quality in the country.

Equipos de fútbol locales: América, Atlas, Atlético San Luis, Chivas, Cruz Azul, Juárez, Mazatlán, Puebla, León, Monterrey, Necaxa, Pachuca, Pumas, Querétaro, Santos Laguna, Xolos, Toluca, Tigres.
Equipos de fútbol españoles: Atlético Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona, Sevilla, Real Madrid.
Equipos de fútbol británicos: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Equipos de fútbol italianos: Milán, Roma, Inter Milán, Juventus, Napoli.
Equipos de fútbol alemanes: Bayern Múnich, Borussia Dortmund.
Equipos de fútbol franceses: Mónaco, Olympique de Marseille, París Saint-Germain.
Otros equipos de fútbol extranjeros: Ajax (Países Bajos), SL Benfica (Portugal)

Even in a case-by-case basis, foreign teams are much less popular than you might expect them to be compared to the biggest local clubs, considering the players they employ and even how the very same Mexican football fans grade their performance.

For example, Paris Saint-Germain employs Lionel Messi, Neymar and Sergio Ramos, 1st, 3rd and 5th favorite football players of Mexican audiences, according to YouGov’s Profiles. Manchester United has Cristiano Ronaldo, the 2nd favorite in the country. And Real Madrid and Barcelona are the favorite foreign teams of Mexican consumers overall. The four European teams are recognized as clubs with much better team management by local football fans.

And when rating their success, Mexican consumers also tend to agree that these European teams fare significantly better than the biggest local clubs. However, América, Chivas, Cruz Azul and Pumas, the local favorite teams of the country in 2022, still vastly outperform their foreign competitors on how many people in the country watched live one of their games (in-person or via TV/internet) in the past three months.

Foreign football clubs may be underperforming in Mexico not entirely because of geography or due to the closer ties that local teams may have with the national audience. There’s also a matter of accessibility to both games and news coverage. Mexican football fans keep themselves much better informed (via TV, social media, internet and other channels) about the “Big Four” Mexican teams (America, Chivas, Cruz Azul and Pumas) compared to the European clubs.

The only two foreign teams of which Mexicans football fans keep themselves similarly informed are Barcelona and Real Madrid, precisely the clubs with the most similar levels of audience as the Big Four. For that reason, if European teams truly want to capture a bigger part of the Mexican market, they probably need to up their communication and content efforts, bringing more of their news and games to Mexican channels.

This lesson even applies to other not-so-popular Mexican teams: Just as there seems to be a clear relation between low coverage and smaller fanbases for clubs like Barcelona and Real Madrid compared to América Chivas Cruz Azul and Pumas; other local football teams in the country also have significantly lower coverage and follower scores than the Big Four.

It’s important to point out that the heightened coverage for foreign (and local) teams that wish to increase their fanbase should be very precise. Specifically, football teams should heavily invest in traditional communication channels, mainly television.

According to YouGov’s Profiles, 60% of Mexican consumers watch and follow sports through live, conventional TV, with online a distant second with just 34% of the population. More importantly, while barely three in 10 Mexican sports fans believe streaming it’s much better than live TV to watch sports; almost half of the population agree that, compared to ten years ago, it is much easier to find sports content on TV. In that sense, at least in Mexico, the internet isn’t the key to gain more followers.

Methodology: YouGov SportsIndex collects data on thousands of sports brands, teams and events every day. Data from surveys of adults aged 18 years and above residing in Mexico from January 1st and November 10th, 2022. Learn more about SportsIndex.
YouGov Profiles is based on continuously collected data and rolling surveys, rather than from a single limited questionnaire. Profiles data for Mexican markets is nationally representative of adults aged 18 and up, with an urban focus. Learn more about Profiles.

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