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Picking Up The Tab - FC Business Nov 2010
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Picking Up The Tab - FC Business Nov 2010


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Results of Football Fans Census survey on soccer fans use of ipads and tablet pc devices published in FC Business Magazine.

Results of Football Fans Census survey on soccer fans use of ipads and tablet pc devices published in FC Business Magazine.

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  • 1. 73 Picking up the tab ootball fans in the future will be as likely to be buzzing to the sound of clicking digital tablets as they are pounding drums, waving rattles or singing terrace anthems according to the latest research by the Football Fans Census. The survey, conducted amongst over 1200 fans up and down the leagues, predicts an explosion in usage of the new digital technology over the next few years, potentially changing the way clubs engage their fans forever. Whilst current usage, according to the survey is still relatively low, with 4% of respondents owning a tablet computer, a further 6% are planning to buy a tablet in the next 12 months. This would represent an exponential growth rate of 150% in a year and mirrors wider market predictions for the technology. According to Garnter Research, 54.8 million tablets are predicted to be sold worldwide in 2011, with 20 million units shifting before the end of this year, while a gargantuan 200 million units are predicted to be sold in 2014. To put these astonishing predictions into context, if football’s fans follow these growth rates, 40% of fans could be purchasing a tablet in 2014, on top of very significant numbers already owning one by then. Tim Gentles, MD of the Football Fans Census, is bullish about the implications “this represents a seismic shift in the digital consumption habits of the average football fan. Not so long ago match day add-ons involved a paper programme, a meat pie and little more. The potential for clubs to extend their relationship with fans via this new media is huge – from electronic programmes to streaming games to rich content – tablets could open the door for a deeper engagement between fan and club...but only if clubs learn how to harness it.” Looking deeper at the survey, a significant number of fans are clearly ready to move with this technology. Asked whether they’d be interested in buying electronic versions of match day programmes, 12% of fans in the survey replied positively. Gentles observes “Interest in electronic programmes is much higher among casual and non match goers than season ticket holders, 17% versus 8%. This is good news for clubs, the print format works well for fans at the games and tablet technology presents a huge opportunity to extend this aspect of the match day experience to the millions of fans who can’t get to the ground.” On top of that, 61% of those in the survey said they have followed a game this season on computer, whether by text, audio or video streaming. Of those who had watched a game via a video stream, the splits between fans were fairly equal: 37% were casual match day attendees and 32% season ticket holders. Clearly the future’s bright for football fans as digital technology gallops onto ever more advanced platforms. While the poor bandwidths found in stadia may mean fans are unlikely to turn up to games armed with their iPad just yet, there is already a huge opportunity to engage with fans who can’t get to games and the onset of tablets promises more versatile, richer content opportunities. The only question for clubs would appear to be when, rather than if, they chose to embrace it. BY JON BUSK Do you own a tablet computer (like an iPad)? Yes 4% No 96% Are you planning to get a tablet computer (like an iPad) in the next 12 months? Yes 6% No 80% Don’t know 14% Would you be interested in buying electronic or online versions of your club's match day programme? All respondents Yes No Don’t know 12% 72% 16% Split by Match Attendance Yes No Don’t know Casual (0-10 Games) 17% 62% 21% Regular (11-20 Games) 17% 68% 15% Season Ticket Holders 8% 79% 13% Have you followed a game live on a Computer this season? Yes, by text commentary 32% Yes, by audio commentary 23% Yes, by video streaming 33% No 39% Yes, by video streaming Casual (0-10 games) 37% Regular (11-20 games) 32% Season 32% Football Fans Census The Media Centre, 19 Bolsover Street, London, W1W 5NA Contact: Tim Gentles Email: Phone +44 (0) 207 665 4127 Web Research F