Will Gen Z be interested in the World Cup?

It is no secret that Gen Z is a concern for sports leagues, including soccer and the World Cup. Compared to other age groups, those born between 1997 and 2012 participate in sports substantially less frequently. Both playing games and having a desire to watch TV games fall under this category.

Statistics indicate that younger Gen Z children in particular are becoming less active and sluggish. According to Emory University marketing professor Michael Lewis, only 38% of children between the ages of 6 and 12 currently participate in team sports. This figure has decreased from 45% a decade ago.

Even though some of these children participate in sports, it appears that a sizable portion of them are still uninterested in the activities. Only 28% of parents whose kids participated in team sports just a year ago said that their kids weren’t even interested in playing the sport. That represented an increase of 9% from the previous year. Additionally, just about 23% of Gen Z identified as ardent sports fans. In contrast, 33% of Gen Xers, 42% of millennials, and 31% of baby boomers said they were passionate about sports.

Gen Z and the World Cup

In terms of soccer, the FIFA video game series has played a significant role in the childhoods of many children. A core component of the identity for 68% of Gen Z is gaming. According to reports, FIFA 22 sold nine million copies in the first two months after going on sale. However, it seems like a long step from playing video games to really participating in sports.

Gen Z is also being courted by brands to join teams in sports. In preparation for World Cup 2022, Overtime just teamed with the soccer media business Footballco, a digital sports company, to exclusively target the Gen Z demographic. Even the recent unveiling of new World Cup jerseys by Adidas involved influencers. Instead of presenting the concepts in a more conventional manner, the campaign let young fans essentially discover the new designs.

Because the World Cup falls around the holiday season, brands may be able to profit from this. Spending by Generation Z is increasing, and holiday shopping almost usually picks up. During the tournament, brands will need to determine out how to connect with these fans.

Rox and Ken discuss why they think Gen Z is moving away from sports, and what sports leagues and brands can do to bring the younger generation in.

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