Excitement and interest are growing in Russia as the country prepares for the biggest football event in the world. Russia will host the 2018 FIFA World Cup™, making it the first time the World Cup will be held in Eastern Europe. As a prelude, Russia will host the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 in June and July.
The location seems to meet a big need, as Nielsen Sports’ latest 2018 FIFA World Cup Tracking Study shows that 94% of Russians are aware of the FIFA World Cup, with three-fourths saying they’re excited about the prospect of hosting the tournament.
Awareness and excitement differ between the host cities. Awareness is highest in Samara (99%) and Nizhniy Novgorod (98%), followed closely by Kazan, Yekaterinburg and Volgograd (each at 97%). Comparatively, the most excited cities are Rostov-on-Don (92%) and Kaliningrad (90%).
“This latest Tracking Study shows us that Russians are really starting to engage with the two FIFA tournaments,” said David Lucas, FIFA Global Project Lead, Nielsen Sports.“Almost half of the population knew the recent Official Draw of FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 was happening, while over 2 million people tuned in to watch the unveiling of the Official Mascot of 2018 FIFA World Cup, Zabivaka.”
FIFA World Cup branding is also becoming more recognized across the country, with the official emblem being perceived more and more favorably. Awareness and appeal of the 2018 FIFA World Cup emblem have increased significantly among Russians over the last year. At the beginning of 2015, 61% of people were aware of the official emblem; today, that figure is 71%.
The appeal of the two tournaments is trending upward as well. Over the same period, of the percentage of people who are aware of the FIFA Confederations Cup, half (50%) say they find the concept of hosting the tournament appealing, up from 47% in 2015. That trend is even more apparent for the FIFA World Cup where in January 2015, 68% of people who knew of the tournament found the concept of hosting it appealing, today that figure is three quarters of the population (75%).
The results from Nielsen Sports’ study also show 78% think the country will be a good host of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, 69% believe it will have a long-lasting positive effect on the host country and 72% feel it will enhance Russia's reputation abroad.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup Tracking Study Wave 4 Survey was conducted Dec. 12-23, 2016, among 2,431 Russian citizens aged 11 to 69 years old. The survey is representative to online Russian population and balanced by age, gender and citizenship across the eight major Russian Federal Districts.