A third of football fans set to spend more on beautiful game

Impacts of COVID-19 doesn't stop fans consuming all things football.

New research from the IPA and Rare: Consulting has found that almost a third of fans intend to spend more on football during the upcoming season, despite the impacts of COVID-19.

The Match Day Report, based on a sample size of 948 people, shows how 32% of fans predict that they will spend more money on football in the future than they did in previous seasons. This is despite 38% of them predicting that they will need to cut back on expenses as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic and 32% having concerns for their job security.

These figures compare with 16% who will spend less money on the game, 40% who will spend the same and 11% who don’t know. Noticeably, this desire to increase spending is particularly strong among younger fans with nearly half (45%) of Generation Z planning on spending more, while many older fans expect to spend less, including 18% of those aged over 55.

The study also highlights the ways in which fans have diversified their consumption of football during Project Restart (the name given to the Premier League’s attempts to resume the season that was interrupted by the Coronavirus pandemic on 13 March), as well as the opportunities and barriers facing clubs in the 2020/21 season.

Additional key findings include:

  • 35% of fans expect that they will read, talk and watch more football than they did before lockdown, while only 12% of fans will consume less football and 53% of people who will don’t expect to see any change.
  • 16% of fans intend to buy more season tickets for the upcoming season, while 21% say they will buy fewer.
  • Only 18% of fans plan to watch more live games in stadium. This is higher among women (20%) than in men (17%).
  • 45% of fans see concerns for their own health or that of someone they are close to as barriers to return to games in the future.
  • Exclusive and behind the scenes content is the most popular way of engaging in the sport other than watching live games, with 30% of all fans looking to engage in this more. This is particularly popular among superfans, 48% of whom have viewed one hour or more behind the scenes content since lockdown began.

There are also significant differences in the ways that fans from different age groups and genders interact with football content, which will be explored in detail in future editions of the Match Day Report later this year.

Says Damian Lord, Head of Insight, IPA: “The Coronavirus lockdown severely impacted the sporting landscape this year. Schedules were ripped up, the sporting economy was rocked and the way that fans were able to engage with the sports they love were disrupted. But with passion for sport as high as ever, there is an incredible opportunity to reset and revaluate the way that we interact with fans moving forward.

Our Match Day Report hopes to shine a light on the way that fans engaged with football during Project Restart - what they liked and didn’t like, and what their hopes and fears are for the upcoming season – in order to provide a blueprint for NBGs, brands and clubs, to engage with their fans moving forward.

Damian Lord, Head of Insight, IPA

Ben Pask, Managing Director of Rare: Consulting and Founder of Rare: Group, commented: “The research adds further light into the changing landscape for brands, post covid-19. Overall it shows fans want more of what they love, and for many, they are finding new ways to experience sport in the absence of being able to go to see it at first hand. There are clear opportunities for brands that pay attention to these evolving changes in attitude and behavioural norms. We are delighted to bring this series of reports out with the IPA.”

Download the first, free Match Day Report.


The second Match Day Report, exploring what female football fans are looking forward to and how their experience of content differs from that of male fans, is due to be published in October

Last updated 01 May 2024