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What Brands Need to Know About
Online Football Fan Behavior

What do football and the internet have in common? Both that and another unite people of different views, ages, and interests. Today, digital technology allows fans to interact with football content in new ways, and brands to support their audience in the most exciting moments of the match. Including due to the interest of fans in online videos. We will tell you about the behavior and interests of online football fans, the knowledge of which will help advertisers conquer this large audience.

Technology is changing fans’ habits and expanding the fan experience, making it more intense and engaging. In 2014, inquiries about Ghana’s soccer player Asamoah Gyana, who became Africa’s top scorer in the World Cup, grew 18-fold during a match. Such a surge of interest in real-time is hard to imagine without access to the Internet.

Fans are increasingly choosing online platforms to watch their favorite content in a convenient format. According to Google, today, 1 in 3 users follow sports events online.

  • 56% prefer to watch online broadcasts of games and events
  • 42% prefer sports news
  • 40% prefer to watch significant moments of matches

Fans can find all kinds of football content online, whether it’s reruns of the season’s best goals or tricks from their favorite players.

Video content gets on top

YouTube occupies the leading position among online video platforms. Despite the widespread belief that videos on this platform are watched mostly by teenagers, the majority of viewers of football content on YouTube are in the 18–34 age group. This young and active audience is looking for new ways of interacting with their favorite sport that goes beyond the traditional viewing of matches in front of the TV screen. They want to get more opinions, share emotions during the game and watch football at a convenient time. They don’t always stick to the official tournament schedule but watch football videos and matches throughout the day from 1 pm to 10 pm.

If we talk about seasonality, then the growth of interest in any major sporting event begins long before the official opening of the games. Thus, 54% of viewers of sports content watch thematic videos even before the start of sports events. Fans have been fueling their interest in the championships months in advance, and watching football content and looking for relevant information ahead of the summer games has been on the rise since March. Most often, early interest from fans is related to finding tournament dates and match schedules, general event information, ticket purchase options, and obtaining a FAN ID.

Besides, interest does not fade away immediately after the end of the events. 61% of football fans go to search immediately after the match to get more information or revisit memorable moments. Popular football content can be divided into categories.

The best moments are one of the most requested categories. These videos give fans the chance to relive the thrilling moments of the match. The peak in popularity of this content falls on the game itself and the first time after its end. To support fans’ desire to revisit the game’s poignant and defining moments, football clubs are posting a selection of team highlights. Such videos are created by users themselves, and the most popular formats among them are “Top 10 Goals”, “Best Free Kicks”, etc.

Football has long ceased to be “just” a game. Today, footballers are stars no less than actors and musicians. They are invited to social events, filmed in films, and pursued by the paparazzi. Therefore, modern fans enthusiastically follow the life of their favorite teams and players outside the football field. Many clubs have found success posting exclusive footage from the life of the teams and the personal stories of the players. For example, FC Zenit, one of the largest official football channels in Russia by the number of subscribers, shares video from hidden cameras, shows fans the process of training and gathering of the team, and also maintains video blogs of individual players.

Fan videos about news and rumors from the football world unleash the creativity of fans and allow them to voice their opinion on match-day tactics as well as coaches and athletes. And finally, football fans want to know how their favorite players become the best and score the cherished goals against their opponents. For example, educational content about football techniques and feints.

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Smartphone — the second window into the game

Apart from the habit of watching online videos, what else distinguishes digital fans? The habit of not letting go of the smartphone. Today in football, as in other areas, there is a shift towards mobile. Mobile internet access creates interest in specific topics while watching a match, especially during scoring chances. A mobile device in the fan’s hand allows, without interrupting the intense game, to quickly review an acute moment, write a comment or find information of interest. For modern fans, using a smartphone while watching a match is not a distraction, but an opportunity to complement the emotions of the moment and be always in the loop. Advertisers need to be prepared for this change and understand how to interact with soccer fans on a smartphone screen while their attention is focused on the game.

Conclusion

Video content allows advertisers to find common ground with fans around the world, and mobile devices to relive the best moments of the games together in real-time. Here are some tips on how brands can make their campaigns more attractive to football fans using data on their interests and online behavior:

  • Football is not only about iconic and major events such as the UEFA League and the World Cup. Build communication with fans during, before and after matches and championships. This can be done by creating a variety of entertaining and educational content that will support sports interest while waiting for the game.
  • Videos on the channels of football clubs and bloggers gain millions of views. Collaborating with influencers, footballers and popular content creators will bring thousands of loyal users to your brand.
  • Each new event in the world of football becomes more mobile. A smartphone for a fan is not a way to distract from an exciting game, but a tool for accessing the necessary information here and now. Consider this and you can always be close to your audience at the moments when it is most relevant to her.
  • Football is passion, passion, and a sense of unity. Share the fun of the game with your fans and give them the chance to feel in the thick of things, even if they are watching the game at home on the couch. This can be done through creative campaigns that extend the joyful moments of the game that you want to share with friends.

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