With most football competitions being indefinitely postponed, fans have been dealt a great blow. How are they adapting to it? What are they doing to cope?
Most data tells us that it’s a mix between playing FIFA and spending time on YouTube and Facebook. Nothing new apparently. Yet, while the FIFA is self-explanatory, what they do on the other two channels signals a new type of behavior. On Facebook, fans are co-watching full match replays of past great matches and re-opening discussions about them. Even if the result is known, talks around specific plays and player performance are making a comeback. This is also amplified by the fact that players & coaches join the conversation now much more frequently than before the crisis. The match is now seen in a new, more interesting light. And with new controversies. And it’s maybe talked about with the very characters in the video.
Some teams (or brands) have noticed this and started to broadcast their archive on Facebook. The live-watching, in turn, seems to trigger a highlight binging behavior on YouTube. And this is where nostalgia kicks in. Take a look in the comments section, you’ll see most fans find watching this type of content soothing.
Rediscovering past players, seeing reactions to last-minute goals and thinking about what-ifs gives them a sense of comfort. Even ultras are more in touch with their emotional side these days. 60% of the top ten content in YouTube Sport trending videos is related to this type of highlights.
The point is that although live football is absent, talking about it is as present as ever. If not more. So if you have something to add to the sports conversation (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t), this is a good time to do it.