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MIGRATION, TOURISM AND NEAR-UNIVERSAL ACCESS TO BROADCASTS AND SOCIAL MEDIA HAVE UNLOCKED BILLIONS OF POTENTIAL FANS — but they don’t live in your city, and don’t necessarily speak your language. The next 10 years will be a gold rush, as professional teams and leagues race to claim this emerging audience.

Global Adoption

97% of Real Madrid’s fans will never see their team in person. Three of the top five countries that generate the most traffic on the club’s website are not Spanish-speaking nations. Back in 2011, the club helped build a $185 million youth academy—in Guangzhou, China. Still, some spare no expense to see Los Blancos: for each Classico, an estimated 3,000 Israelis fly to Madrid, at an average ticket price of $900.

Cross-cultural marketing is no easy thing. Baseball didn’t become widely adopted in Japan until the meaning of the game changed to emphasize group harmony and obsessive ritual, mirroring Japanese culture.

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