New football report reveals how fans are moving from traditional media and sponsors are following them

This is a guest post by Jon Reay, Lead Strategist at digital media agency e3.

A new report by digital agency e3 and sister innovation agency LSU highlights the widening gap between what football fans and players expect and what they’re actually served.

Football may have a passionately loyal fanbase, but the game is also rife with outmoded views, traditional media holding onto old models and gender segregation that hasn’t moved with society.

Some people in the industry believe that adding logos to kit, like the recent introduction of sleeve sponsors in the Premier League, is an example of innovation in brand partnerships.

Fan and player expectations have shifted, but on the whole the industry hasn’t.

Organisations that are embracing this shift are quickly gaining an audience and deeper engagement, and the commercial rewards are starting to follow. Ball Street Network for example has an aggregated social reach of over 50m vs around 5m Sky Sports subscribers.

“We don’t believe that a diet solely of old media can any longer satisfy the appetite of a modern football fan.”
James Kirkham, Head of Copa90

Research conducted for the report reveals that whilst younger fans (aged 30 and under) still follow football in traditional media at similar levels to older fans, they supplement this with an even higher consumption of new, unofficial channels. They are more than twice as likely to follow such channels at least daily than over 30s are.

The report also highlights the rise of eSports, women’s football, freestyle and other formats of the game and how digital is accelerating fan engagement.

The report features video interviews with key influencers leading the change including Ball Street CEO Matt Wilson, ArsenalFanTV founder Robbie Lyle, Head of Copa90 James Kirkham and FC Barcelona’s Director of Digital Russell Stopford.

Download a free copy of the report here.

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