How and where will you watch the Football World Cup when the tournament kicks off next week? Will you invite everyone you know over to sit around the TV and cheer on your national team? Will you watch it on the big screen at your local pub or bar? Or are you one of the rare people who prefer to watch the tournament alone via a live stream on a laptop?

We recently conducted an international survey in five countries (Germany, France, the UK, US and South Africa) to compare media consumption and brand association around the football world’s biggest event – with some interesting results:

  • Perhaps unsurprisingly, 91% of Germans (the reigning world champions) will watch the World Cup from June 14
  • 63% of the French fans will watch more TV than usual over the course of the tournament
  • 79% of South African women plan to watch at least a few games
  • Nearly half (46%) of UK fans will read more online news over the next month
  • 80% of Americans aged 18-35 plan to watch the World Cup

Below, we’ve pulled together the main facts and figures from the survey in each of the five markets. Big thank you to the DCMN Insights team who led this massive market research undertaking!


2018 World Cup infographic


When the games begin on June 14, 68% of Americans plan to watch at least some of the matches, even though the US will not have a presence on the field. 80% of American adults age 18 to 35 plan to watch the matches, making the 2018 World Cup an ideal television event for advertisers. 75% of 18- to 22-year-olds and 65% of 23- to 35-year-olds plan to watch more TV during the matches and 45 percent of respondents aged 18 to 22 believe that advertising during the World Cup makes brands more attractive.

The 2018 World Cup will also be a boon for both TV and online channels, as six out of 10 American World Cup viewers plan to watch more TV during the games than usual, and just over half are planning to increase their usage of social media during the competition. As for who will take this year’s cup, 21 percent of Americans believe England will win, followed by 15 percent who believe Germany will be victorious.


Engagement in France will be high as well. 84% of the French are planning to watch the World Cup, although only half of them believe that the French will be the next world champions. As watching the World Cup is a group experience, French fans prefer to gather with friends to watch the competition. 66% will watch it at home with their family or friends and 41% plan to go to other people’s places. A quarter of them will also watch the games at a bar. Interestingly enough, the group experience is particularly important for women. Only one out of four would watch a match home alone (27%), while 57% of the men don’t mind viewing it on their own.


The level of excitement among Germans about the upcoming Football World Cup in Russia is worthy of a reigning champion: More than nine in ten adults (91%; 95% among 23 to 35-year-olds) plan to watch the matches, roughly two thirds of which say they want to watch at least every other game – more than in any of the other surveyed countries. A whopping 70% of Germans believe that their national team will defend the title.

One of the biggest sports events of the planet will also be a massive stage for advertisers: 66 percent of German football fans will increase their TV consumption during the tournament and almost half will visit news websites more often than usual (46%). And no doubt does the World Cup provide a premium ad space for companies: Two-thirds of Germans associate the event with particular brands, with German sportswear manufacturer and official FIFA partner Adidas leading the lot (49 percent). More than one in four German consumers (27 percent) say that advertising around the football tournament makes brands highly attractive – and one in six have bought a product before because of an ad they had seen in the context of a sports event.

South Africa

When the FIFA World Cup 2018 kicks off, 86% of South Africans plan to watch at least some of the matches, even though their team will not be participating. 93% of South African men will be watching, but more interestingly 79% of SA women say that they will also watch some of the matches. For brands planning to advertise during the broadcast of the tournament, they are sure to score a goal with 96% of South African soccer fans watching the matches on television, with more than two thirds (68%) predicting they will increase their consumption of TV during this time. This is the highest percentage increase of all media platforms, with only online news platforms coming close with 56% of respondents saying that they will use this medium more. The 18- to 22-year age group will see the highest increase in TV consumption (79%), although the 23- to 35-year-olds come close with 72% saying that they will spend more time in front of the TV.

South African soccer fans also love sharing comments and insights with their friends via messaging services while watching a match. Forty-three percent said that they keep in contact with their friends during the matches and for them, this is an important part of creating the perfect World Cup experience. For those not interested in soccer, spending time with family and friends (61%), watching movies (52%) and surfing the internet (44%) seems like a better use of their time.


When it comes to watching the competition, TV is the medium of choice for British football fans. Ninety-four percent will watch the games on television. Smaller screens are much less common: less than one third will watch the game on a computer (29%) and around a quarter on a smartphone or tablet (26%).

More interesting is the predicted change in viewing habits over the course of the World Cup. Almost two-thirds of fans (60%) predict they will watch TV more than usual, including 10% who will watch the medium though they usually do not. Furthermore, around a third (34%) will watch more pay TV services and around the same amount (33%) expect to stream video online more frequently.

Among those choosing not to watch the World Cup, their alternative activity may come as a surprise: 50% plan to spend their time reading instead, while roughly the same amount (53%) will surf the internet. And generally the Brits don’t have the healthiest of viewing habits: nearly half (44%) will cheer on their team while drinking lots of beer and around a third (33%) expect to eat lots of junk food during the games, while just 4% plan to do sports rather than watching the tournament itself.