StubHub’s 2019 NFL Preview: NFL International Appeal Continues to Climb; Cowboys Remain #1 In-Demand Team
As NFL kickoff approaches, football fans across the country – and around the world – are planning their tailgates, circling their favorite rivalry games on the calendar and hoping that this is finally their year for a Super Bowl run. This season is even more special as the NFL celebrates 100 years of football. The NFL and its fans are celebrating players and traditions with a series of ‘NFL 100’ events and programs throughout this historic year.
StubHub is kicking off this prestigious season with a look at the latest insights surrounding the most in-demand teams, the growth of football in the U.K. and the teams that have seen the most demand growth since last season. Additionally, StubHub teamed up with eBay data analysts to determine which teams and players drive the most gear sales across the U.S. and abroad.
More Travelers Coming to the U.S. for NFL Games
- NFL sales coming from buyers outside the U.S. are up 19% from the 2018 season.
- Sales are being driven by buyers from more than 54 countries, driven largely by demand from these 10 countries.
- Sales for the international NFL games are up over 55% compared to 2018.
- Buyers from 35 countries have purchased tickets to matchups in London this year, up from 31 countries in 2018.
- The Chicago vs. Oakland game is the most in-demand London game on StubHub, with more than double the sales of the #2 game (Panthers vs. Bucs).
- 47% of U.S. sales for the Bears/Raiders matchup come from Illinois and 9% come from California, showing that there may be more Bears fans in the stands at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium come October.
“StubHub sales demonstrate that fandom for NFL is spreading at an increased rate around the world,” said Akshay Khanna, GM of NFL at StubHub. “With more international games offered, the sport is continuing to reach more fans and drive more interest. Even U.S. events are seeing an uptick in international buyers.”
Top 3 Most Popular Teams on eBay Among International Fans
- While eBay’s data indicates Tom Brady is the most popular player in the U.S. and abroad, the Kansas City Chiefs drive30% more sales than the Pats in Canada.
- Canadians are driving the most international fan gear sales, 116% more than the U.K. and 135% more than Mexico.
STUBHUB’S TOP TEAMS OF 2019
Cowboys Command #1 Spot Again
- Dallas is StubHub’s most in-demand NFL team for the fifth year in a row.
- The team is up 64% from 2018, based on ticket sales.
- Cowboys outsell Green Bay Packers (at #2) by 54%.
- Dallas’ top-selling game is against the Packers on Oct. 6.
Bears Battle into Top 10 List
- Chicago enters Top 10 at #3 after missing the list altogether last year.
- The Bears are up 160% since 2018.
- Packers at Bears on Sept. 8, is the #1 most in-demand game of the entire 2019 NFL season.
- The Bears vs. Raiders matchup in London comes in as the #6 game of the year.
Chargers and Browns Emerge
- Both teams crack the Top 10 for the first time ever.
- The Chargers are up 220%, based on ticket sales, even with the smallest venue in the league.
- The Chargers matchup against the Steelers is the team’s #1 game of 2019, which is also the #8 most in-demand game in all the NFL this year.
- Cleveland is up 366%, the biggest jump of all NFL teams.
“Historic franchises are continuing to draw fans in 2019,” said Khanna. “The Cowboys, Packers, Bears and Patriots dominate StubHub’s Top 10 in-demand teams and each are up at least 20% in ticket sales from 2018. It really shows that loyal fan bases, histories of winning seasons and continued buzz throughout the offseason can continue to fuel high demand.”
Top 10 Teams on eBay
- Despite the Patriots’ 2019 Super Bowl win, the Dallas Cowboys remain ‘America’s Team’ on eBay with 30% more US merchandise sales than the current champions.
- In the past year, the Dallas Cowboys have sold an average of 26 items per hour on eBay.
- Los Angeles Rams fans were at an all-time high gearing up for this year’s Super Bowl, spending 50% more than Pats fans.
TOP TRENDING TEAMS OF 2019
Browns Are Back
- Cleveland is the #1 trending team of 2019, with the biggest growth in sales since the 2018 season at a staggering 366% increase.
- The Browns most in-demand game of the season is against the Titans in Week 1.
- The team has also entered StubHub’s list of Top 10 in-demand teams for the first time ever.
- Cleveland was also the #1 team on StubHub’s Fan Optimism Index, an algorithm comparing Vegas odds to fans’ purchase behavior, when the 2019 season schedule was released.
Chiefs and Bears Ride Last Season’s Success
- Kansas City is up 280% from 2018.
- The Chiefs have the most affordable average ticket price of the Top 5 trending teams at $172.
- The Bears have two of the Top 10 games of 2019, including their matchup in London.
- The Bears are up 160% from 2018.
“The Browns and the Chiefs have been top stories in the NFL over the last year so it’s appropriate to see the teams topping StubHub’s top trending teams list with so much buzz,” Khanna said. “With the Browns’ splashy offseason acquisitions and Patrick Mahomes’ recent MVP year and AFC Championship appearance, it’s clear why fans are confident and buying tickets at an astonishing volume.”
eBay’s TOP 10 MOST POPULAR NFL PLAYERS
- Tom Brady is the most popular NFL player when it comes to merch sales on eBay, not only in the U.S., but also in Mexico, Canada and the U.K.
- Fans are eager to rep running back and Jets newcomer Le’Veon Bell this season; his jersey is 74% more popular today than last year.
“Tom Brady continues to resonate most with eBay shoppers following his 2019 Superbowl win, according to fan gear sales on our marketplace,” said Sam Bright, Vice President of Merchandising at eBay. “We are, however,seeing increases in excitement for other players compared to our top 10 rankings of 2018. Odell Beckham, Jr., who ranked number 10 last year, is now the number five trending player following his move to the Cleveland Browns, and newcomers to the list include Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, Rams running back Todd Gurley and Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson – all fantasy football favorites.”
TOP GAMES OF 2019
#1 Game is #1 Game
- The official season kickoff between the Packers and the Bears – the first game of the 2019 season – is the #1 most in-demand game of the year.
- This historic game is outselling last year’s season opener (Eagles vs. Falcons) by 25%.
- The Packers vs. Bears matchup is outselling the #2 game (where Packers take on the Cowboys) by 32%.
Packers Pack ‘Em In
- Green Bay is playing in all of the top three games.
- The Pack has four of the Top 10 games, including the #1 game of the entire NFL season.
- The Packers have been on StubHub’s Top 10 in-demand list every year since 2014.
TOP 10 SELLING STATES FOR NFL MERCH
- The Dallas Cowboys might be the most popular NFL team on eBay, but California beats out Texas as the #1 state with the most team and player apparel purchases by nearly 33%.
HARD KNOCKS HISTORY
When teams are chosen to participate in HBO’s television series, Hard Knocks, it’s natural for fans to get a little nervous. Since 2016, no Hard Knocks team has made the playoffs, or even won more than seven games. Nevertheless, there is still good news for these teams.
StubHub has taken a look at the numbers for each Hard Knocks team over the last four years, in the month the shows aired, and compared it to the average trends for that year. What we found: the teams on the show draw. Fans’ ticket buying habits show that they are buying tickets to watch the players they admire on TV actually play on the field.
- The 2016 Rams had the biggest gains in site visits and ticket sales out of any NFL team, following their show.
- The 2017 Bucs had the third-biggest gains in site visits and ticket sales in the NFL after their appearance.
- The average gain in site visits for NFL teams in 2018 was 2% but the Browns were up nearly 37%.
FANDOM FROM THE GREAT NORTH
Oh Canada! Canadians are crossing the border in large numbers this season to take in the action live.
- Canadian buyers represent 56 per cent of total international NFL sales.
- The country’s sales have increased 16 per cent since 2018.
- Cities in Canada drive the most sales:
- Calgary is driving nearly 2x the sales than Toronto.
- Canadians are supporting their favorite “border teams” – here are the top three teams with the largest percentage of buyers from Canada:
- Buffalo Bills
- Seattle Seahawks
- Detroit Lions
“More than ever, Canadians are traveling across the border to watch an NFL game,” said Paul Nowosad, GM of Canada for StubHub. “The border teams like the Bills, Seahawks and Lions offer a tremendous opportunity and easy access to take part in a fantastic sports tradition.”
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