The weekly pilgrimage to a stadium may have defined football fandom in the past, but that is certainly not how it is perceived anymore by modern football fan s. Clubs are no longer one town or a one country entity, they are Global and their presence is prevalent on such a massive scale that ticket sales only account for less than 25% of the revenue for a club like Arsenal in 2018 ( down from 44% in 2008).
The remaining 75% of the revenue is generated from broadcasting and commercial deals that clubs have in place. What used to be around 145 mil Euros in 2008 is now more than 371 mil Euros and its primarily driven by the magnanimous increase in the number of people around the world who passionately support these clubs.
The impact is so massive and their support so important that the La Liga Federation was compelled to move its match timings in order to better accommodate their fans from South East Asian countries like India and China, who earlier probably had to watch the El Classico at 2 AM at night, but now get to do it at around 7 or 8 pm in the evening.
Football is global, clubs are global; make no mistake about that and yet stadium goers are mostly native English citizens who have grown up in and around the area and have a hereditary connection to the clubs that their father, and their father before them, had all grown up supporting.
So how do these fans who are not even in the same continent in which the clubs are in, relate to these footballing entities that they support so vehemently? Well, the answer is not one thing it is many. From ‘dark social’ discussions to artsy magazines, local pub screenings, fan blogs, and so much more, passionate support for a modern football fan goes far beyond simply spectating.
As Copa90 puts it in their recent report, the modern football fan is “worldly, culturally curious and passionate”.
They’re super knowledgeable about obscure teams and players thanks to avid gaming habits on the likes of FIFA, but don’t expect to see them imparting that knowledge socially.
This class is a generation priced out of the live game, yet enjoy greater access to football content and players than any generation before them. This is primarily due to the changing landscape of social media combined with the advent of easy internet access and cheap data plans.
Rather than the conventional ‘The Football League Show’ or the ‘Monday Night Football’, these fans prefer to consume their content from platforms like Snapchat, Twitter, Vimeo or fan-driven footballing websites like ours and many others. These platforms are driven by young passionate supporters cum writers who love to vent their frustrations or tactical analysis or in-depth understanding of the game and bring it in front of other like-minded supporters who absolutely love to read that.
On the other hand, for supporters who want to double down as writers or analysts because of their command over the language and a deep and ingrained understanding of the game combined with their passion for the club, there are a number of widely used platforms like Topcontent where one can easily apply to join a global community of like minded writers and use that to channel their passion for the game. The best part of doing this is they get to write from anywhere in the world while working at their own pace.
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Another stark discovery apart from this is how efficiently video games and console games are providing the Modern Football Fan with a wealth of granular statistics, player info, club knowledge and a better and widespread understanding of the game, the operations behind running a club and the personal involved in various decision-making scenarios that we love to read about.
What would previously be only accessible or heard of if you worked inside a club is now routine knowledge? No wonder Adidas choose to sponsor a virtual console gaming avatar like Alex Hunter. As a result majority of the footballing youtube channels and football Vlogs now speak about FIFA gaming entities. Not even that, numerous professional football players like Lukaku or Aubameyang are seen commenting or flaunting their FUT stats on social media highlighting the importance the real-life figures are placing on their virtual counterparts.
Having said all that, the thrill of a watching a live game is incomparable to anything that yet exists (hang in there VR), but for those devoid of that action, the alternative is a wide-reaching gamut of platforms that not only allow them to channel their support and enthusiasm passionately but also provides a tangible connection to the beautiful game and all its glories that have previously never been experienced by any other generation.