Updated: Nov 30, 2022
A few years ago, Nielsen Sport published an alarming report about the decline in sports consumption. For decades, being a sports fan meant buying a jersey, showing up at the stadiums, and watching the game on cable TV. Gen Z, who makes up 30% of the global population and soon the most influential generation yet, does not quite resonate with this traditional fan type though. But that doesn’t mean that this generation cannot be turned into sports fans – watching live competitions is just not considered as an integral part of being a fan.
Generation Z’s sports consumption
But how does Generation Z consume sports? Through social media! With sufficiently engaging content and regular opportunities to interact, they are prepared to invest meaningful time in sports consumption. A strong social media strategy will be key to convert them into sports fans. Here arises a fine opportunity for women’s football.
Why are women’s football and Generation Z a match made in heaven?
Instead of recreating the declining commercial model of the men’s game, the women should take a different approach. With the next three tips I give some options!
Tip 1: Generation Z cares about a greater purpose
Generation Z cares deeply about a greater purpose and standing up for social issues will always get them on your side. Women’s football embodies the battle for equality and by promoting inclusivity, they can reach this generation. It’s vital you are not doing this as a one-time stunt because Gen Z recognises this quickly and it will backfire badly.
Tip 2: Generation Z follows the athlete first
Content based around the athlete engages Gen Z. Real, raw, honest stories are highly valued by this generation and create a strong connection with the athlete. This connection is important for both athlete and sports organisation because Generation Z uses to follow the athletes first, before following the clubs. Female footballers play therefore a key role in growing the club’s fanbase and players with a strong personal brand identity will have more opportunities on and off the pitch. Clubs and leagues should invest in story-telling of their athletes instead of trying to get their matches broadcasted by a sports channel.
Tip 3: Generation Z wants on demand content
On demand is the way to go for Gen Z. They want to choose when to opt in and out, and they are not averse to paying for premium content. Traditional pay-TV subscriptions are less relevant, while a tailored value proposition is expected – they want to pay for what they want, where and when, and without any long-term contractual commitment. Most women’s football leagues do not have long-term broadcasting deals with traditional TV-providers and by tailoring the offer to each fan, they can connect immediately with Generation Z.
Time to get Gen Z engaged with your sports entity or with yourself as an athlete – the potential of women’s football is eventually in their hands.