In a new study released by odds comparison experts Sidelines.io, the Golden State Warriors are the most-searched U.S. sports team around the world. The Dubs were the most searched U.S. team in 64 countries. That number dwarfs the second place U.S. team, the Chicago Bulls, who were the most searched in 16 countries. In total seven NBA franchises made the top 10, two NFL franchises and one MLB franchise.
No doubt the Warriors’ popularity is connected to their resurgence among the league’s elite. After two down seasons following three championships in a five-year span, the Warriors are the No. 3 seed in this year’s Western Conference playoffs and have the immensely popular two-time MVP in Stephen Curry as their leading man.
The fact that the NBA has more franchises in the top 10 than any of the other leagues speaks to the global popularity of the sport. Basketball is very popular worldwide and only trails soccer, the world’s game, in that regard.
Poor MLB. Only one team, the Boston Red Sox, rank in the top 10. Their success is a factor surely. But the team is owned by the Fenway Sports Group, which also owns Premier League’s football team Liverpool F.C.
The NFL is doing its best to make the sport global, to increase revenue. But the game just hasn’t quite captured the imagination of citizens abroad.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers came in fourth place, the most popular NFL team with top searches in 11 countries. The Bucs were the most popular team in Fiji with more than 450 searches a month, Papua New Guinea with more than 300 searches and American Samoa with more than 250 searches a month.
By contrast the Warriors’ highest searches per month came from Brazil, with more than 270,000 on average, the Philippines with more than 216,000 and India with more than 65,000 searches a month.
To be fair. the NFL is still leaps and bounds ahead of all sports in the U.S. in terms of search.
The Dallas Cowboys, ranked sixth in terms of search across the world, are the most popular sports team in the entire U.S. with more than 5,500,000 searches a month. That’s pretty impressive. They’re called “America’s Team” for a reason.
Still, you can’t help but wonder as the owners and commissioners of these leagues look out at the changing sports consumption landscape, what is continued growth supposed to look like?
Maybe the U.S. market is enough for football to continue to grow exponentially for the next 50 years. Americans do love their football. It’s the reason the USFL and other alternative leagues start up. There is an appetite for the game in this country that is unmatched anywhere else.
However, the international market remains an elusive market for the NFL. Maybe one day it will get figured out. It’s likely one day it will have to.
As the country demographics and sensibilities toward sports change, all leagues will see an ebb and flow with popularity. Having a foothold in additional markets is one way to manage that reality while also serving the bottom line.
Top 10 most searched U.S. sports teams around the world
- Golden State Warriors
- Chicago Bulls
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Brooklyn Nets
- Dallas Cowboys
- Dallas Mavericks
- Boston Red Sox
- Denver Nuggets
- Los Angeles Lakers