The Qatar World Cup is under way. Millions of fans around the world will be glued to this year’s most important football competition. It’s a stage that many a brand would like to take advantage of to reach their target audience. But what role will young people play as the audience of the event? How would they like to watch football? What habits do they have when they watch? What improvements would they see in the match broadcasts?
A study by Mazinn, a consultancy firm specialising in Generation Z that forms part of our structure, plus the collaboration from the consultancy firm FinalScore, specialising in sports marketing, reveals that 80% of Generation Z likes to watch 90-minute football matches. And that they tend to do so while using their phone. In fact, the vast majority (71.5%) are on some social network while watching a match: Twitter to see the comments, additional information to the broadcast or check the scores of other matches; WhatsApp to chat about a play with their contacts and Instagram and TikTok for content generally unrelated to the match, either at half-time or as a means of distraction.
The report also reveals that Gen Z consumes a great deal of football content in addition to the actual match broadcast (pre- and post-match). 67.5% on match round-ups; 62.2% on highlights; 59.4% on rumors and current affairs; and 41.6% on talk shows or debates.
The social channels where young people consume the most football-related content are Instagram (63.7%), YouTube (53.7%) and Twitter (48.1%). Twitch, a channel generally more geared to certain younger communities, is used for watching talk shows or previews (20.5%) or to stream FIFA video games (9.8%). And TikTok to watch football highlights (41.9%), talk show clips or reporter accounts (27.1%) or the analysis of plays or tactics (21.8%).
The report also points to 55.4% who occasionally watch football on free-to-air TV and 36.1% on illegal platforms (IPTV being the most mentioned). Among those who use paid platforms, 43.8% use Movistar and 41.4% Dazn.
In terms of devices, Generation Z continues to consume football content mainly via TV (81.9%), while 39.8% use computers and 42.4% use smartphones.
As for their favorite competitions, the study indicates that 65.9% prefer to watch Champions League matches, 26.1% La Liga and 8% Copa del Rey.
Wants and desires
As far as prices are concerned, Gen Z would prefer to consume football for less than 10 euros per month (36.1%) or for free (34.7%). In fact, 61.5% rate current match viewing prices at less than 3, on a scale of 0 to 10 (0 being “highly negative”).
The report also describes the changes that this generation believes should be made to football broadcasting. The Zs believe that reporters and commentators should come up with better broadcasts, “by providing interesting details about the game that help the viewer to better understand what’s going on and become more involved”. They also call for “honest, neutral journalists, not ex-players of one of the teams on the pitch”. They also call for commentaries in a natural, more informal tone, connecting more with viewers by changing the way matches are narrated and commented on.
What’s more, young people miss watching more free-to-air football. “La1 used to broadcast Premier League and Champions League matches”. That said, they would not mind paying more for a service that offers football, if the service were Netflix or Amazon Prime.
Generation Z is also requesting the capability to enjoy entertainment parallel to the match. For example, having an omnichannel broadcast that allows them to listen to what referees, the bench and coaches are saying.
The study was carried out according to a survey taken from 11 to 16 November 2022 in which 502 young people aged 17 to 27 all over Spain took part.