NBA ‘Buzzing’ with Millenials While the NFL Continues to Dominate ‘Word of Mouth’

Of all major sports leagues, the NBA is generating the most positive Buzz (+17.5) amongst A18-34 while the NFL continues to lead on overall conversation (21%).  This information according to YouGov BrandIndex, the only daily consumer perception research service.

Looking into the data further, we see all leagues are generating less conversation (Word of Mouth) with Millennials vs. one year ago. The NHL is unique in that it is also experiencing a sentiment (Buzz) decline over the last year. The NHL has recently announced they will be creating next years schedule “without any break to accommodate the Olympic Winter Games” ending a near two-decade tradition of accommodating professional athletes competing for their home country. It remains to be seen if the recent kickoff to the post season will reverse that trend.

Millennials are an audience on which leagues, brands and the media seem to focus, as they can determine your future business performance. And not surprisingly, the place to reach that audience is online. According to YouGov Profiles data, 81% of Millennials agree “the Internet is my primary source of information” vs. 62% of adults 35+.

Among the major sports leagues, the NBA is the only one with more millennials than adults 35+ indicating it is there ‘favorite sport to watch:’ – 7% vs. 4%. The NFL registers a higher volume of young fans who indicate it is their favorite sport to watch at 13%. That 13%, however, is roughly half of the 23% of A35+ who say the NFL is their favorite sport to watch, which indicates that the NFL needs to continue to search for a way to capture the hearts and minds of millennials.

The NFL’s recent $50 million partnership with Amazon to stream Thursday night games may be, in part, an effort to do just that. Amazon provides the NFL a platform that appeals to a younger audience, In fact, Amazon is the #1 recommended brand amongst Millennials so far in 2017, according to YouGov BrandIndex.


In the US, YouGov BrandIndex interviews 4,800 people each weekday from a representative US population sample, more than 1.5 million interviews per year. Respondents are drawn from an online panel of more than 1.8MM individuals.

  • Buzz score: “If you’ve heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?”
  • Word of Mouth: “Which of the following brands have you talked about with friends or family over the past two weeks (online or offline)
  • Recommend: “Which of the following brands would you Recommend to a friend of family member? Which you recommend they Avoid”

YouGov Profiles is an innovative market research tool that both collects and connects over 200,000 datapoints from more than 200,000 YouGov panel members across the country. Using digital tracking technology and several types of online surveys to capture a variety of opinions, attitudes, and behaviors, YouGov Profiles is nationally representative and updates weekly.

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Lance joined SMG Insight in 2017 as Vice President for North America. Having previously worked for YouGov, Lance has over ten years’ experience in the market research products industry, beginning as an analyst within the consumer division and advancing to the role of Head of Client Management for North America. Lance has successfully developed talent and led large cross-functional teams, consulting with a broad range of clients including Google, NBC, VISA, Bank of America, Omnicom Media Group and Twitter. Lance is a graduate of New York’s Cornell University.

Not surprisingly, the place to reach the Millenial audience is online. According to YouGov Profiles data, 81% of Millenials agree “the Internet is my primary source of information” vs. 62% of adults 35+.