SHELTON, Connecticut, June 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Brazil is seen as the runaway favorite to win the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ scheduled to begin on June 12 according to an international survey conducted by SSI. In fact, 53 percent of those planning to watch the matches believe fourth-ranked Brazil has the best chance of winning against Spain, Germany and Portugal, ranked first, second and third, respectively.
Two-thirds of Brazilians say they are not ready to host the event and are worried about safety. In fact, 62 percent of Brazilians do not think Brazil is a safe location (compared to 42 percent across all countries surveyed), and 42 percent of Brazilians disagree that Brazil is a great location to host the event (compared to 19 percent across all countries).
As for Brazil winning the World Cup™, expectations are highest in the host country, where 81 percent of those interviewed expect the home team to win. And it's not just Brazilians predicting their national team to win, as every country interviewed besides Germany chose Brazil more than any other team to win the entire tournament. Germany was equally divided between team Brazil (34 percent) and the German national team (32 percent).
From May 2 through May 13, SSI, a global provider of sampling, data collection and data analytic solutions for survey research, conducted an online survey of 7,983 people about the 2014 World Cup™ across seven countries including the host country Brazil, where SSI has a strong panel and growing presence, Australia, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. More than 1,000 people were interviewed in each country.
According to SSI's research, two-thirds of those interviewed plan on watching some of the 2014 World Cup™. Ninety-two percent of Brazilians interviewed expect to watch at least part of the World Cup™, more than any other country surveyed. Popularity in Brazil is fueled because it's the host country; it has a long history of football popularity and has a very good national team this year.
-- Changing Opinions of Brazil --
Most of the respondents interviewed have a similar opinion of Brazil as the World Cup™ host. However, the population that appears to be most critical of Brazil is Brazil itself.
"There have been several negative news stories that have come out of Brazil as it prepares for this summer's World Cup™ that could fuel this opinion," said Keith Phillips, SSI senior methodologist and lead researcher on this project. "No doubt, awareness of these troubles is likely higher in Brazil and therefore more likely to influence the overall opinion of the nation." Twenty-nine percent of those interviewed as part of SSI's Brazil sample have a "much or somewhat worse" opinion of Brazil, 34 percent have "the same" opinion, and 37 percent have a "much or somewhat better" opinion.
-- Record-Breaking Viewership Expected --
And yet, new SSI research indicates that viewership will indeed break records set in previous years. Expected viewership in the U.S., the U.K., Brazil, France and Australia shows a strong growth trend for 2014.
"SSI's research shows growth in the popularity of football across all countries," said Phillips. "We asked our participants to recall which World Cups™ they had viewed over the past 12 years. Our findings show a definite trend of increased viewership across all seven countries from 2002 to 2010. The only exceptions in the trend are Germany in 2006 and Japan in 2002, where each country saw a local spike in viewership as World Cup™ hosts." The SSI data suggests Germany and Japan could reach similar levels of viewers in 2014 as in the years they hosted the event.
This research also supports strong ad sales and bullish predictions for audience share coming from the U.S. networks showing the games. ESPN® is seeing significantly higher ad sales this year vs. four years ago, according to Ed Erhardt, ESPN's president of global customer marketing and sales. The event is "poised to break ad sales records for the event's two U.S. media partners," ESPN® and Univision™, according to Street & Smith's Sport Business Daily.
Among the seven countries SSI surveyed, there was a 9 percent growth in viewership from 2006 to 2010, in line with global TV viewership growth of 8 percent as reported in the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ Television Audience Report produced by KantarSport. "The data would suggest even more viewership growth from 2010 to 2014. However, planned viewership is not the same as actual viewership, so we will have to wait until after the event to see just how much the increase will be," Phillips explained.
The markets surveyed with the lowest levels of planned viewership, the U.S. and Australia, show an optimistic future for FIFA and the World Cup™, as younger participants in the study are significantly more likely to watch the World Cup™ this summer. In the U.S., 18 to 24 year olds (54 percent) and 25 to 34 year olds (51 percent) have the highest levels of planned viewership, while less than a third of 55 to 64 year olds plan to tune in to any moment of the event. Australia tells a similar story, with a large drop off in viewership occurring between the 25 to 34 year old age segment (61 percent) and the 35 to 44 year old age segment (48 percent).
For additional results of this survey, readers should visit www.surveysampling.com/learning-center/global-research/world-cup-study.
SSI is the premier global provider of sampling, data collection and data analytic solutions for consumer and business-to-business survey research, reaching respondents in 86 countries via Internet, telephone, mobile/wireless and mixed-access offerings. SSI staff operates from 25 offices in 18 countries, offering CATI, questionnaire design consultation, programming and hosting, online custom reporting and data processing. SSI's 3,300 employees serve more than 3,000 clients worldwide. Visit SSI at www.surveysampling.com.
 SportsBusiness Daily Global Journal, "ESPN, Univision see big World Cup ad sales," by John Ourand, staff writer, published April 28, 2014, Page 33.
 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ Television Audience Report produced by KantarSport for FIFA TV.
2014 FIFA World Cup™ and all references to World Cup™ are trademarks of Federation Internationale de Football Association.
Sport Business Daily is a media property of American City Business Journals.
ESPN is a registered trademark of ESPN Inc.
Univision is a registered trademark of Univision Communications Inc.
SOURCE SSI (Survey Sampling International)