Social media and dual screening now play a central role for the average football fan on match days, according to new research.
The study from fan site FootballFanCast.com and social media agency Snack Media, reveals the habits of fans before, during and after a big night of UEFA Champions League football.
The survey of 2,000 fans across North American, Europe, Asia and the rest of the world, reveals how fans like to build up to the big match, where they like to watch it, who they watch it with, what they do while the game is on and what devices/digital channels they use to stay connected.
With Champions League matches drawing a global audience running into the hundreds of millions, the opportunity for brand engagement is huge. However, with audience split across various traditional broadcast and digital and social media channels, understanding the habits and behaviours of this almost captive audience is key.
Match night is a highly social affair
Over 75% of fans share their viewing experience with others. 33% get together with friends, 22% watch the match with their family, 15% meet up with other fans and 8% watch with their partner or spouse. Only 22% watch the game alone.
Fans love to watch the Champions League from home or the pub
The majority (69%) of fans prefer to watch the match from the comfort of their sofa with family or friends, while 22% choose to watch from the pub. 6% head over to a friend’s house, while 2% watch on the move from a wireless device. Just 1% watch from work.
Social media activity peaks at half-time
Fans are active across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube throughout the duration of the game. However, Twitter and Facebook usage in particular peaks during half-time when 9% visit Twitter and 11% Facebook respectively.
Conversely, demand for YouTube content surges after the final whistle has blown, jumping to 9% as fans search for game related content.
Fans follow Champion League matches through numerous channels
TV is most popular medium through which fans follow a Champions League game, drawing 91% of the viewership, followed by online streaming which is how 24% of fans follow the match.
However, online, social feeds and news/blogs are increasingly important channels with 18% relying on social media feeds to stay in touch with the game, while 13% follow via blogs/live blogs. Radio only accounts for 8% of the global audience, with text-message alerts used by 7% of fans (see regional breakdown for Asia – which are big text alerts users).
Only 15% of fans wait until after game has finished to read newspaper/blog reports to bring them up to speed on how the game played out.
The research supports the growing trend for dual screening; with TV viewers increasingly using their mobiles, tablets or laptops to augment their broadcast experience through the accessing of relevant content and conversation.
Therefore when media planning, brands need to be focusing on mobile first media opportunities to effectively engage the huge audiences which gather online during major sporting events like this.
Sarah Groarke, Managing Director, Snack Media, commented: “The Champions League draws an unprecedented global audience which is watched in the main by fans at home or at the pub where they are typically connected to their mobiles, tablets, laptops or social networks before, during and after the match.
“This creates a huge opportunity for brands with the right content and real-time marketing strategy to really engage a huge slice of this audience for a fraction of the cost of above the line activity or sponsorship, which is why real-time marketing is so effective.”