Russia, China lead global growth in NFL interest says study

Wed Jan 28, 2015 12:08pm EST
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By Simon Evans

MIAMI (Reuters) - The NFL, which holds its Super Bowl on Sunday, is enjoying a significant surge in global interest with Russia and China leading the way, according to a study by a leading sports marketing research company.

The report by Germany-based Repucom found interest in the league rising in several key markets with Russia having the highest percentage of the population focused on the league.

The report says 13.3 percent of Russians are fans of the NFL, with a growth of 5.3 percent in the past year leading to a total of 10.38 million fans.

The growth of the NFL in China in the past year is the biggest in terms of population size.

Since 2013 interest in the NFL among the Chinese population has jumped from 1.7 to 7.9 percent -- meaning an extra 31 million people have an interest in the sport there.

The upward trend is also evident in South America with Brazil seeing a rise of 3.3 million in NFL fans.

The NFL's biggest international focus -- and one of its key successes -- has been in the United Kingdom where three regular season games were held in the past year.

Repucom found interest had grown from 8.1 percent in 2012 to 12.3 percent, adding an extra 1.86 million NFL fans.   Continued...

The Super Bowl logo sits outside the Phoenix Convention Center in preparation for Super Bowl XLIX at US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports