Football and Social Media: FC Business March 2010

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"The Soccer Social" article on UK football fans use of social networks published in FC Business magazine.

"The Soccer Social" article on UK football fans use of social networks published in FC Business magazine.

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  • 1. FCB Page 24-25 2/18/10 4:09 PM Page 1 24 Social Media: Research The Soccer Social: Terrace Talk Goes Digital By Jon Busk W hile the football establishment is reluctant to embrace technology on the pitch, off it, fans have been much more enthusiastic according to the findings of the new “Soccer Social” report from the Football Fans Census. Whereas face to face contact was historically the biggest source of gossip, information and banter on match days, increasingly social media is fuelling the match day experience. Or, as Gentles puts it “Traditionally the pre and post match pint in the local pub turned the match day into a social The modern football fan has embraced the rise of the internet occasion and now Twitter, Facebook and many other networks and social media and both have become important parts of are extending the duration and reach of the big match to a the average fans football landscape. global community” According to the survey, which talked to over a thousand fans It would seem that this technology is not the sole preserve of up and down the league pyramid, 53% of fans visit their club’s the young fan either. According to the survey, 97% of fans official website at least every other day, while 54% visit aged between 15-24, and 94% aged between 25-34 have at Facebook just as frequently, a staggering statistic which least one social network account. Moving up the age range highlights how significantly Facebook has established itself. the numbers fall but are nonetheless still healthy: 77% of fans aged 35-44 subscribe to social networks, as do 53% of over According to Tim Gentles, MD of Football Fans Census, 55s. “Social networks are relatively new phenomena, yet it’s clear that they have already become as important as more Crucially, this represents a new opportunity for clubs and traditional channels for the modern football fan” brands seeking to reach football fans, and one that is, as yet, largely untapped. While official website stats look healthy, it The expansion of social media looks set to have an even more seems that a lot of clubs are not yet riding the social network dramatic effect on the way that fans enjoy their football. wave: Only 9% of fans agreed that their club has been quick According to the survey, 77% of football fans have an active to utilise the full potential of social networks. account with at least one social networking site, and a quarter of fans in the survey already use social networks to engage Of all the fans in the survey, 77% didn’t know whether or not with other fans on match days, with 67% of them citing their club had an official presence on Twitter, and almost half Facebook as their social network of choice for match day of regular Twitter users were unsure of their clubs presence. engagement. Clubs fared little better on Facebook; 67% of all fans in the
  • 2. FCB Page 24-25 2/18/10 4:09 PM Page 2 Social Media: Research 25 “According to the survey, which talked to over a thousand fans up and down the league pyramid, 53% of fans visit their club’s official website at least every other day, while 54% visit Facebook just as frequently.” mix. Looking at these results, very few football clubs have official visibility in this medium…but it’s an opportunity that the most media-savvy clubs can’t ignore for long.” Clearly the match day experience for fans is undergoing a sea change. Not so long ago it was a couple of pints in plastic glasses, a pie and the back page of a tabloid. Twitter, Facebook and their ilk extend and augment the experience, to the benefit of a significant number of fans, but the majority of clubs are still lagging behind. Those who figure out how to exploit this transformation are going to be pinching themselves an extra, critical few yards… For clubs and fans alike, as one mobile phone company once put, the future’s bright indeed. The full report is available from www.TheSoccerSocial.com Football Fans Census The Media Centre survey and 58% of Facebook users were unaware as to 19 Bolsover Street whether their clubs had an official presence, yet 58% of all London Facebook users surveyed followed unofficial social sites or W1W 5NA media related to their club on the network. Contact: Tim Gentles As Gentles puts it: “For big corporate brands, social media is Email: tim@footballfanscensus.com still very much in its infancy as a marketing lever, but is Phone +44 (0) 207 665 4127 increasingly becoming a key consideration in the marketing Web www.footballfanscensus.com