Association football (AKA “soccer” in North America), is one of the most popular sports in the world, and probably the number one ball game when it comes to the sheer number of participants and spectators, both on and off the field. Not only is it played by around 250 million players in over 200 countries, it is an obsession for a huge numbers of people around the globe, with 2014’s FIFA World Cup Final drawing a TV audience of around 1 billion.

Football is also one of the most followed sports online, with YouTube dominating views for football related video content, followed by Facebook video, and Vine. In a new report from Tubular, football scores a huge number of goals in terms of views and engagement:

  • Football-related video content generated 37 billion views across the major social video sites in 2014
  • 70% more soccer videos were uploaded to YouTube than Facebook in 2014
  • Branded football content attracts 22% more views than the average category
  • Ronaldo is the most popular football player for YouTube views
  • UK Premier League YouTube “fan channels” today are growing 3.6X that of Premier League official club channels

YouTube + FootBall: 22.7B Views in 2014

Of course, 2014 was a stand-out year for soccer, with the FIFA World Cup taking centre-stage in Brazil, dominating the airwaves, the Internet, and social media for the entire summer. On YouTube, videos relating to football content generated 22.7 billion views last year alone, with 70% more soccer focused videos being uploaded than Facebook. Football related videos also have some of the highest engagement rates on YouTube at 4.62%, that’s just behind Gaming and How-to and Style, which are two of the fastest rising verticals on the site.

Football Videos on YouTube

Average Engagement Rate for Football Related Content on YouTube (Data via Tubular)

Although women’s football is gaining momentum with online video fans, the majority of viewers engaging with soccer content on YouTube are predominantly young males. 93% of engagers are male, and 92% of the overall audience engaging with football videos are aged between 13-34 years old. And while soccer videos are consumed all over the world, fans in the UK make up the biggest audience at 15%, with the US (13%), and Brazil (6%) in second and third position.

Young Males Engaging with Football on YouTube

Engagement Data for Soccer Content on YouTube – By Gender and Age (Data via Tubular)

Branded Football Videos: More Views Than Average

Along with all the user-generated content uploaded to YouTube, branded football videos also perform fantastically well, generated an average of 22% more views than other types of branded videos.

The most viewed video in YouTube’s football category over the last year is ‘The Selfie Shootout’ featuring Barcelona FC superstar Lionel Messi. The video, made for Turkish Airlines, also features Kobe Bryant and has generated an incredible 142.6 million views to date.

However, there are still many opportunities for brands to benefit from creating soccer content, especially around ‘Best of’ player compilations. Brands could also try to connect with an incredibly passionate audience by producing videos that combine soccer, entertainment, and comedy for the maximum impact. Brands will also find a goldmine of opportunity in working with influencers in the vertical. Collaborating with creators who have already established an engaged audience can increase a brand’s visibility and reach.

Download ->The Growth of Football Content on YouTube:

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.