MasterCard surveyed over 5,000 football fans across Europe to discover their social media habits

  • Facebook (63%) is the most popular social media channel amongst football fans
  • Spanish football fans are the most active on social media whilst watching football
  • Over 69% of football fans want to see the introduction of Wi-Fi in all stadiums
  • Only 50% of UK fans think football players should be on social media
  • Germany has the most loyal football fans on social media with only 4% following a club they don’t support

Milan, 25th May 2016 – As Europe’s attention focuses on Milan for the UEFA Champions League Final between Real Madrid CF and Club Atlético de Madrid, on Saturday 28th May, a new report from MasterCard has unveiled the social media habits of football fans across Europe.UCL16_MCcomposite_OC_HZ_RGB-eng

The report revealed Spanish fans offer the most social support with almost a quarter (24%) posting four or more times whilst watching a football match on TV, almost double that of Italian fans (15%). Only one-third of English football fans post on social media during a live game, compared to 84% of Turkish fans.

The Social Fanalytics Report from MasterCard, the official sponsor and payment system of UEFA Champions League and exclusive provider of Player Mascots, revealed that being able to engage with their footballing idols on social media has positively impacted the game for the majority of fans (69%). None more so than in Turkey (97%) and Spain (86%), yet the topic continues to divide opinions across Europe as only 50% of UK fans think footballers should be on social media.

Facebook (63%) is the most popular social media channel amongst football fans. This is highest in the 45 -54 age group. This is particularly the case in Italy where 81% of fans prefer the social networking site, followed by Romania (78%) and Portugal (77%).

When it comes to social media use, 64% of all football fans say that keeping up to date with the latest news is at the top of the agenda. This is highest in the 25-35 age group. The renowned passion of Turkish fans spreads across social media as they’re most likely to celebrate a victory (71%), more than double that of English fans (29%).

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • Spanish football fans are the most active on social media in-stadia, posting on average twice a game, double the European average
  • Ukraine has the most positive fans in Europe, whilst fans in Turkey and the UK are the most critical
  • YouTube is the second most widely used social media platform and the most popular amongst Ukrainian football fans (32%)
  • Spanish (23%) and Turkish (27%) football fans are the most active on Twitter, over 10 percentage points higher than the UK
  • Italian (42%) and Spanish (47%) fans prefer to follow live commentary, whilst fans in Russia, Romania (63%) and Czech Republic (61%) predominantly use social media to chat to other football fans (68%)
  • Male football fans are almost twice as likely to follow a team they don’t support on social media than their female counterparts

The Social Fanalytics Report highlighted the importance of staying connected, with 69% of football fans stating they would like to see Wi-Fi in all stadiums. No more so than in Italy and Portugal where 79% and 70% of fans respectively have called on the installation whereas German fans are less interested, with only 39% voting for the roll-out.

Demand for contactless payments is also proving increasingly popular across Europe with 31% of football fans calling for the roll-out of the technology within football stadiums. Over half (54%) of football fans in Turkey favour the convenience of contactless payments whilst fans in Romania (54%) and Czech Republic (44%) would prefer to see the introduction of contactless ticket gates.

Gianluigi Buffon, MasterCard Ambassador for the UEFA Champions League, commented: “I have had the pleasure of playing football for over 20 years and the impact that social media has had on the game is priceless – it brings fans closer to the game they love and allows us as players to connect with them on a personal level.”  

Ann Cairns, President, International Markets at MasterCard, said: “Social and digital media continues to change the way we all follow, share, and celebrate our passions. As technology continues to play a significant role in every element of our lives, it is a natural progression for people to move conversations and interactions to a digital environment. The Social Fanalytics Report highlights that while the channels may vary the most important thing is the ability to interact and join the conversation. Like football, social media breaks down international barriers, allowing fans to come together and share their passions.”

The Social Fanalytics Report survey was carried out for MasterCard by Mortar. There were 5,000 respondents across 16 European countries – England, Germany, Spain, France, Netherlands, Italy, Turkey, Russia, Sweden, Portugal, Greece, Ukraine, Romania, Israel, Czech Republic and Poland.


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