The U.S. Evolution of Soccer into Fútbol

Each day brings us closer to the highly anticipated summer of 2026, when the United States, Canada and Mexico will make history by jointly hosting the largest FIFA World Cup yet, featuring 48 teams and spanning 104 matches. As the host city for the 2026 World Cup final, New Jersey’s Metlife Stadium will shine on the global stage, drawing billions of viewers worldwide. During the Qatar 2022 World Cup, an estimated 9 million viewers tuned in to the Spanish-language broadcasts on Telemundo, Peacock and its streaming services to witness the nail-biting final between Argentina and France. 

As some of the most passionate and engaged fútbol fans, U.S. Hispanics are excited to say the least. 

  • 64 percent view the World Cup as a holiday and rank it in importance second only to Christmas
  • Hispanic fútbol culture is contagious. Spanish language broadcasts are beloved for their exciting and colorful commentary, so much that even 65% of non-Hispanics also prefer to watch games in Spanish. This passion for the language and its fans heightens the overall game-watching experience and has increased its popularity in the U.S. 
  • Last month, fans eagerly awaited the 2026 FIFA World Cup match schedule reveal, marking another significant step closer to the tournament, capturing attention on local, national and international levels. 

The evolution of soccer into fútbol in the U.S. encapsulates the essence of Hispanic+, where campaigns that are driven by Hispanic insights and grounded in Hispanic passion points, possess the transformative ability to reshape the fabric of U.S. culture. 

Born Fútbol Fans Are Leading the Fandom 

Fútbol is deeply ingrained in the Hispanic community, with many U.S. Hispanics feeling a natural connection to the sport, often describing it as being “born into it.” Seventy-three percent of U.S. Latinos aged 16 and older identify themselves as soccer fans. For them, soccer is not just a pastime but an integral aspect of their personal identity, rooted in tradition, heritage, legacy and pride. 

The popularity of fútbol continues to grow in the U.S., fueled in part by “The Messi Effect”, the rise of Women’s soccer and the anticipation of the U.S. becoming a global stage for the sport. 

  • Since Messi’s arrival to Inter Miami CF, MLS has attracted over a million viewers tuning in to watch the season’s most anticipated matches. 
  • With the rise of women’s sports in the U.S., the National Women’s Soccer League signed a $240M domestic broadcast deal with Amazon, CBS, ESPN and Scripps. 
  • This summer, the spotlight is on the U.S. as it hosts the 2024 CONMEBOL Copa America, one of the most competitive tournaments and the third most watched in the world. During the summer of 2024, 16 nations will come together, igniting Hispanic communities nationwide and embracing their greatest passion. In 2021, Argentina and Brazil battled in the CONMEBOL Copa America final, drawing in 3.5 million viewers to Univision’s broadcast. 

Fútbol Allows Fans to Embrace Their Culture 

Attending a World Cup match is a life goal for many fútbol aficionados. This upcoming World Cup gives them the opportunity to not only attend games but immerse themselves in the fútbol atmosphere. Hispanics will have the taste of home brought to them through fútbol as they watch their home countries leave everything on the pitch. Many Hispanics around the country will have their favorite teams and soccer stars in their backyards, as key host cities are in highly Hispanic-populated areas. For example, the U.S. opener will be in Los Angeles, where 49% of the population is Hispanic, and a quarterfinal and third-place match will take place in Miami, which boasts 69.1% Hispanic population. 

Hispanic fans’ passion for the sport, rooted in cultural heritage, is fueling fútbol’s rise in the U.S. creating a vibrant and loyal fan base hungry to engage and be a part of a larger community. With Copa America and Leagues Cup in the pipeline, this is the moment to take the lead with Hispanic culture, captivating their hearts while simultaneously transcending to appeal to mainstream consumers who are also embracing the passion of fútbol across the U.S.  Fans will look for brands that can deliver the ultimate World Cup experience in their own unique way, whether it be an on-site stadium activation, product launch or local fan watch party. 

How Brands Can Maintain Year-Round Buzz

The buzz around the reveal of the match schedule only marks the beginning of numerous announcements to come. Up next are the highly anticipated team qualifications, the draw ceremony and the unveiling of sponsors and partnerships. With the U.S. quickly growing into the international hub of fútbol and Hispanic fans pushing this fandom forward, fútbol has truly transcended the mainstream. 

Our team of fútbol experts developed an insights report that dives deeper into the U.S. Hispanic audience’s relationship with fútbol, from social-first content to fashion, to the sport’s main stakeholders and how fútbol is reshaping the fabric of U.S. culture. Our takeaways give brands a sneak peek at all the opportunities brands have to activate around the growing fútbol fanbase and score big with the Hispanic community and beyond.