Association football (AKA soccer), is one of the most popular sports in the world, both in terms of participants and observers. Over 250 Million players in over 200 countries play the beautiful game, and 1 Billion TV viewers tuned in to watch Germany beat Argentina in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

But viewers aren’t just turning to terrestrial or cable TV to keep up with their favorite local and national teams. Did you know that football videos generated a massive 23 Billion online video views between May 2016 and May 2017? Tubular Labs, in conjunction with Brave Bison, an independent digital media and social video broadcaster, has released a new report on the performance of football videos online. The study analysed videos uploaded to YouTube and Facebook between 06/01/2016 and 05/31/2017, and highlights the fact that on YouTube, views of soccer-related content have grown 36% year-on-year, while soccer-related views on Facebook increased by 19%. Videos about football also have one of the highest engagement rates (only comedy and gaming content rank higher), with viewers liking, sharing, and commenting on a wide range of content within the category.

So, who is watching football online? The research shows the audience is overwhelmingly male (94%), with 66% aged under 34 years old. Fans that can’t attend matches in person have been able to follow their local and national teams on terrestrial and cable TV. But with such a demand for football content, fans have inevitably turned towards online video to catch up on games, take a look behind the scenes at clubs and players, and follow up-to-the-minute analysis from pundits. So, are traditional broadcasters are losing ground with Millennial Males when it comes to views?

Football on YouTube & Facebook: 2017 Insights

Highlights of the report from Tubular and Brave Bison include:

  • Manchester United drew 132m views on Facebook during April 2017
  • Manchester City attracted 6.6m views on YouTube in April 2017
  • Arsenal Fan TV generated 20m views during April 2017 on YouTube
  • Football live-streams on Facebook 6x larger than in 2015/16 season

Mighty Manchester City’s most viewed video in April 2017, with 55K views, was this behind the scenes look at the infamous Manchester Derby, plus a report on a return visit from the legendary Georgi Kinkladze. For more insights on to football on YouTube and Facebook, click on the link below to download the full report.

Football 2017: The impact of Live-streaming

For most fans, nothing beats the excitement of watching a live match. But since 1937, fans (in the UK at least) who haven’t been able attend a game in person have been able to switch on their TVs and catch the full 90 minutes. Now, with the proliferation of live-streaming, fans have been eagerly consuming live-streams around football content on the two major video platforms. News and sports publishers have been quick to jump on this trend, with Facebook Live streams increasing by 6 times, and YouTube live streams increasing by 2.5 times since the 2015/16 season. Although live-streamed soccer content makes up less than 1% of football-focused video content, the engagement rate is twice that of pre-recorded content. This is an incredible opportunity for publishers, and the clubs themselves, to use the live-streaming feature on YouTube and Facebook to broadcast pre- and post-game insights, and interviews, as well as a host of other types of content to draw in the online viewers.

Download Our New Report About Football Videos on YouTube & Facebook

If you want to know more about how well football related video content performs on the main social video platforms, then please download the full report below. It contains invaluable advice for any brand, video marketing team, or creator who wants to know what works best for the global or local audience. The research was produced as part of the recent ‘Future of Football Video’ panel event, hosted by Brave Bison and Tubular Labs.