New research reveals fan concerns as crowds return to football stadiums

Over a third of fans expect to struggle to get tickets due to the high demand when full crowds can return.

New research from the IPA and Rare: Consulting has found that over a third of fans (36%) expect to struggle to get tickets due to the high demand when full crowds can return, while only 27% of fans expect getting tickets to be easy.

According to the free Match Day Report, Open Goal: Winning strategies for football’s new match days, this fear is greater among more dedicated fans (43%) than more casual fans (32%), while fans in Scotland (58%) are the most worried at missing out due to high demand.

The report, which examines the future of match day experiences also found that uncertainty surrounding the pandemic (50%) and health concerns for others (44%) are currently the biggest barriers preventing fans from enjoying the sport.

Additional findings include:

  • More casual fans are more likely than dedicated fans to need to cut back on expenses including paid subscriptions (40% vs 35%).
  • Despite the prospect of a safe return to stadiums, just 18% of fans intend to watch more games in-ground moving forward compared with 22% who plan to do so less often.
  • For all fans the most common match day activities that they intend to do more of can all be done from their own households. This includes watching games on TV alone (21% for home matches and 18% for away games), with family (20% vs 18%) and watching online alone (19% vs 18%).

Says Jamie Britton, Insight Analyst, IPA: "The world of sport has been badly damaged financially by playing in front of empty stadiums in recent months. Whether they will be watching at home, in a pub or in-ground, fans are football’s lifeblood.

Brands and clubs should therefore take this opportunity to reinvent how, when and where they engage with their supporters to help the football family come back stronger.

Says Ben Pask, Managing Director, Rare: Consulting: "The Match Day report series with the IPA has shown that there is lots of opportunity for clubs, brands and sponsors. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us into new patterns of behaviour much of which could be considered as restrictive, but it is forcing new ways of interacting with the things we love, and the opportunities to embrace this is immense for those organisations who are listening."

Open Goal: Winning strategies for football’s new match days is the final publication in our series of Match Day Reports into the attitudes of football fans.

Download the free report from the IPA website
Last updated 10 December 2020