Initiatives That Transform

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Major League Soccer Fan Survey

During Major League Soccer’s 1996 inaugural season, the league office expressed an interest in surveying game day fans. However, achieving an adequate sample size would be hindered by the lack of a central pre-game gathering place, uninterrupted play on the field, and a short 15-minute halftime. Bryan’s experience with event production and data analysis charted the path to accomplishing the league-wide initiative.

Strategic Approach

Upon targeting twenty games (two per stadium) for the MLS fan study, staff devised a seven-page, 33-question survey, with English and Spanish versions that could be answered in seven minutes. On gameday, staff positioned in two sections—one primarily English-speaking, the other largely Hispanic/Latino—wore T-shirts emblazoned with “Your Opinion Counts!” to encourage full participation. One minute into halftime, staff walked up the aisles distributing 1,000 surveys and golf pencils; after ten minutes, they repeated their ascent to collect completes.

Results

Out of 20,000 distributed, MLS staff collected 6,000 completed questionnaires, yielding data that met thresholds for statistical reliability at team, league and demographic levels. Data tables were translated into a summary report presented to league ownership.

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 The project action plan (left) included English and Spanish questionnaires that could be completed in seven minutes using a golf pencil. The surveys posed 33 questions in all.

The project action plan (left) included English and Spanish questionnaires that could be completed in seven minutes using a golf pencil. The surveys posed 33 questions in all.

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