New study from Sky Sports shows how football fan culture in the UK is ‘changing’, according to the broadcaster, with a ‘more diverse makeup of how fans watch the game’.
The Football Fandom report in 2021 was commissioned by Sky Sports ahead of the start of the domestic football season, which will see matches from broadcasters from the Premier League, Barclays FA Women’s Super League, EFL and Scottish Premiership. , among others during the course of the campaign.
According to Sky Sports, the ‘traditional die-hard club fan’ is still very present in the UK, but research suggests that the ‘lifeblood of the game’ is now joined by a multitude of different types of fans – including those who came to the game through the voices of players on social issues.
Sky says a growing number of fans see themselves as dedicated to the game itself rather than a team, with 20% of that group watching football at least once a week and / or never missing a big game.
“The relationship between fans and football is evolving and we are seeing a lot more people interacting with football in so many ways,” said Jamie Carragher, Sky Sports Premier League expert.
“It’s great to celebrate this diversity and open the door to conversations with people we wouldn’t have had before. Football brings people together and Sky Sports bringing attention to the ever-changing football fan is a great way for the nation to celebrate the start of the season. “
The broadcaster has grouped fans into five distinct subgenres, the “Lifers” – or traditional lifelong club fans; the ‘Statto’, who is more likely than others to focus on pre-match preparation and stats; the ‘expressionist’, who sits at the intersection of football and a larger culture such as music and fashion; and “Socialize”, which sees play as a way to bring family or friends together for a social occasion.
Meanwhile, Sky has also identified a fifth group, which they call the ‘game changers’, who are ‘driven by the social impact of football for the greater good’, and who see football as a means of change societal mentalities.
The broadcaster claims that around 70% of people believe that the power of gamers has “enabled the nation to advance conversations about discrimination”, while 63% believe they have a better understanding of social and economic issues in because of their love of football.
Dr Martha Newson, Future Leaders Fellow at the University of Kent, and self-identified ‘Socialize’, said: “Football is now more representative of the British public than ever before. Football is more than what happens on the pitch, it is anchored in our daily beliefs, integrated into our conversations and shaping the behavior of society and the community.
“Football tends to go a lot further than watching matches or watching matches; it’s about social connections and how we present ourselves to the world – whether it’s on social media, wearing the “right” sneakers, or knowing the lyrics to a song. For some fans, celebrating football is manifested in the way we buy and the brands we align with. “
Sky Sports and Game Changer Expert Karen Carney added: “Recognition from every fan is so important, especially as league coverage continues to grow and expand with the addition of the Barclays FA Women’s. Super League.
“I would have considered myself a ‘in perpetuity’ until recently and now I find myself in the ‘game changer’ category. Football is here for everyone’s enjoyment, I always say it’s important to be “part of” something that isn’t “outside” and that’s what it is about. celebration of all the fans who are part of the football community at large.