BLOG | by Lance Fraenkel

Revealed – the sports conversations going on around the world today

Are we all talking about the World Cup? Or is the NBA more interesting?

If you live in a soccer-mad nation, it’s easy to think that the whole world is talking World Cup football right now. But is that the case? Our new Sport Talk report visits countries around the world and uncovers what sports events people are talking about around the world right now.

To download a free copy of the report, featuring data from the USA, UK, Germany, China and Australia, complete the form on the right hand side of this page.

Or you can carry on reading to find just a few of the highlights.

Using our YouGov SportsIndex Word of Mouth metric (‘what sports properties have you been talking about in the past two weeks’), we thought we’d listen in on the world’s sporting conversations to find out what people around the world are talking about right now. Here’s some of what we found out.


In the States, the NFL is the country’s main source of conversational interest – helped along by the player draft, which happened at the end of April.  NFL pips Major League Baseball into second spot. The NBA, whose season has just reached its play-off climax, comes in third.

The only international sporting events to make it into the top ten for Americans are the FIFA World Cup, the Champions League and Formula 1, with the rest of the most talked-about properties being domestic leagues and tournaments.


Predictably, Britons remain fixated on their soccer, with football properties occupying the top six spots.

What’s interesting to note is that only three properties – the FIFA World Cup, the Champions League and F1 – feature in the top ten lists of both the UK and the US.


Germany is having a more diverse conversation than the UK – seven different sports are in the top ten, compared to five in the UK (and eight in the US).

Germans aren’t yet quite as excited about the FIFA World Cup as Brits – this despite the relative records and prospects of the two qualifiers. The German team is a regular tournament semi-finalist and has won the tournament four times.

Germans also rack up the highest score in our tour for a sports property – soccer’s Bundesliga.

It’s also worth noting Germany’s international outlook. Seven of the top ten conversational topics take place outside of the country, with the NFL and the NBA also taking places in the top 20.


Foreign/international properties dominate China’s top sporting conversation, with the World Cup achieving its highest score yet. It’s also interesting to see WTA Women’s Tennis up there in the top five. The country currently has four players in the women’s top 100.

China is also the only market where World Wrestling Entertainment features in the top ten (it comes in 14th in the States). At number 11, the Ultimate Fighting Championships also only just miss out on the top ten, showing the country’s appetite for combat sports.


Australia is the place where the Commonwealth Games are making the biggest splash – that’s because the country hosted this cycle’s edition of the tournament.

A month ago, Australia was the only country we visit today where the FIFA World Cup wasn’t in the top ten conversations.  But clearly as the tournament has got nearer, interest in the prospects of the national side – the Socceroos – has ramped up.

Australia has the highest number of international properties in its top ten right now (eight, including the Commonwealth Games) but the biggest range of sports (nine). It also has three sports properties – UFC, Australian Football League and National Rugby League – which don’t feature in any other top ten.


The FIFA World Cup has achieved critical mass – even in countries where a generation ago that wouldn’t have been the case (see our chart left).

But conversation in all of our countries is dominated by a healthy mix of international properties, domestic leagues and tournaments as well as US sports (the NFL and NBA feature in the top 20 in three and four out of the five countries we looked at, respectively). So whilst soccer’s World Cup is heating up, it’s not quite as all-encompassing as media coverage in soccer nations might have us believe.

For more detailed analysis of the world’s current sporting conversations, check out our full report. It’s available as a free download (complete the form on this page).

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Lance joined SMG Insight in 2017 as Vice President for North America. Having previously worked for YouGov, Lance has over ten years’ experience in the market research products industry, beginning as an analyst within the consumer division and advancing to the role of Head of Client Management for North America. Lance has successfully developed talent and led large cross-functional teams, consulting with a broad range of clients including Google, NBC, VISA, Bank of America, Omnicom Media Group and Twitter. Lance is a graduate of New York’s Cornell University.


For more detailed analysis of the world’s current sporting conversations, check out our full report. It’s available as a free download. Just complete this form.

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