This, the first of two articles on Sportscope's analysis of the World Cup, reveals the shifting engagement levels across Europe leading up to the opening of the tournament.
With the benefit of hindsight, the views of different nations prior to the World Cup tournament make fascinating reading. There's everything from blind optimism in Spain to outright pessimism in France.
Non-fans take strong interest
In the UK, the qualifying campaign had an understandably strong following among football fans, but 46% of non-regular football fans also claimed to have followed these qualifying stages. This indicates that the World Cup is able to successfully engage those who don't necessarily follow the sport on a regular basis.
FIFA WORLD CUP 2010 - QUALIFYING CAMPAIGN
Germany, Spain and Italy had non-football fans engagement rates of 62-63%, yet France only managed 36%. This strongly suggests the fortunes of the qualifying team have a high bearing on the appeal of the national team amongst a broad cross-section of society, as opposed to just core football followers.
In terms of following the finals, 31% of non-regular football fans in the UK indicated they were likely to keep watching. Non-football fans in Italy expressed the biggest levels of interest, with 59%, followed by 44% in Germany and 38% in Spain. France, at 32%, was again the most pessimistic and therefore least engaged.
Confidence follows engagement
The level of interest and engagement with the World Cup among non-football fans is demonstrated in the confidence that each of the nations had in their team's chances of winning the World Cup. 33% of non-football followers believed that England had what it took to lift the trophy. In Italy, where the level of engagement among non-football fans is quite strong, 51% believed in their chances of winning the tournament, followed by 47% in Germany and 21% in France. Spain's non-fans were the most optimistic with 64% correctly predicting triumph.
The 'Likely Winner' chart shows that perhaps the English saw their dismal performance coming - football followers and non-football followers alike were nearly as pessimistic about their teams' chances of winning as the French. Both countries' supporters were much more pessimistic than the Italians who went out one stage earlier.
FIFA WORLD CUP 2010 - LIKELY WINNER
Non-football fans demonstrated what looked like a good understanding of individuals' potential. 19% in the UK thought that Wayne Rooney would be the top scorer of the tournament. 53% believed that Fabio Capello would emerge as the best manager. French non-football fans' expectations were better predictors of performance on the day. Raymond Domenech's popularity was low at 7% going into the tournament. It will be interesting to see his post-tournament figure.
Coke out in front for sponsorship brand recognition
The pre World Cup Sportscope measured brand awareness. When prompted with a list of brands, Coca-Cola was the leading name identified as a sponsor in all five markets. The highest level of awareness for Coca-Cola was achieved in Italy with 53% of football followers. 35% of UK football followers picked out the brand, the lowest level of awareness across the markets. On average, respondents were able to identify less than four brands as being sponsors. McDonalds and Visa were also picked out by the respondents, alternating between second and third from market to market, though both were a significant distance behind Coca-Cola.
Discover what happened next
In the following Insight bulletin we will see at how these views changed by late June when the World Cup approached the Quarter Final stage. We will unveil how the reality of teams' actual performances affected the appeal of the World Cup and its ability to reach out to people with partner brands.
Sportscope and the World Cup
KantarSport's syndicated research programme, Sportscope, tracks sports consumption and sponsor involvement in five key European markets (UK, France, Germany, Italy & Spain). A nationally representative sample of 2000 adults in each country is interviewed six times a year. They are asked about their consumption, participation, spend, awareness and disposition towards a range of sports consistently as well as some ad-hoc questions probing deeper into specific sponsorship campaigns. Sportscope was launched in April 2010 and contained a special World Cup module which ran before, during and after the World Cup.