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Polling data offers demographic snapshot of MLS fans

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Public Policy Polling provides evidence that MLS still has a long way to grow as only 14% of respondents consider themselves fans of MLS. They did not ask about soccer as a sport or other leagues.

Today the independent polling firm Public Policy Polling its second annual poll of American sports fans, focusing almost entirely on the "Big Four" male professional leagues (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL) plus MLS, NASCAR and golf.  MLS was the least popular of these leagues/sports with only 14% of the 1,222 respondents (a combined sample of landline phone and opt-in internet) said that they are fans of MLS.  MLS has just more than half the fans of NASCAR (26% were fans) and was beat by golf by 5%. None of that should be a surprise. It is a bit disappointing that they only asked about leagues, rather than type of sport, and left out leagues like the EPL and Liga MX

But who those fans of MLS are is what gets interesting.

  • 57% of MLS fans are women
  • 48% of MLS recognize themselves as Hispanic with 26% claiming "other" as ethnicity
  • 59% are under the age of 45
  • 64% of MLS fans responded via internet rather than landline to respond
The only part that is a surprise is in the gender disparity. MLS and the NHL were the only polled leagues/sports that had larger fandom among women than men.

The margin of error reported for this year's poll was +/- 3.2%

Last year's poll from PPP did not ask about MLS, but did find that 22% of respondents were fans of boxing (no boxing question was asked this year).  Golf is down 4% from 2015.

A different survey from PPP last year showed that 30% of Washingtonians identify as fans of the Sounders.