How fans are moving online to support their team

By Miles Wickford
In Arsenal
Jun 29th, 2017

If you’re reading this article, then it’s fair to assume that not only are you a fan of the world’s greatest football team but you’re also pretty comfortable with using the internet and operating online. If so, then you’re in good company: all over the world, fans are using the internet to support their favourite teams, get closer to the action and foster a real human connection with premier league players they could once only have dreamed of.

Closer connection

According to this article, over 35% of football fans on Twitter now follow their team or their favourite athletes more closely than before they joined social media. For 16-29-year-olds, the figure is 40%. While clubs like Arsenal have their own Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts, fans can also talk amongst themselves, commenting on the match as it happens and sometimes giving a more critical and irreverent view of proceedings than the official spokespeople are allowed to!

Chat freely

Football’s Twitter and Facebook followers are of course most active on match days, checking for updates and commenting on the game as it happens. Fans can also chat directly with players, ex-players and commentators on these sites, where some speak more freely than others. Gary Lineker’s political tweets have got him into some hot water recently, but others prefer to stick to chatting about the game itself.

The manager checking out his secret Twitter feed

Fan sites

Last year Arsenal was among the major teams worldwide that banded together to launch, promoted as football’s social media network. In fact, it proved to be more of a high-quality news site that promised original content, behind the scenes videos and interviews and exclusive access to players and managers. However, fans have been setting up their own sites, which have largely taken the place of those cheeky, rebellious football fanzines that used to be sold on the terraces back in the eighties and nineties.

Online betting

Like fanzines, football betting has also largely moved online, and sports betting sites have exploded in popularity over the past twenty years. The advantages they offer over traditional high street betting shops include the possibility of betting on games as they happen, known as “in-running” betting- for instance, which player will score the next goal. Football-themed casino games like slots are also popular on the best casino sites for slots.

Fantasy football

An alternative to betting on actual matches is to join a fantasy football league, and this is another hobby that has exploded online. Fans can put together their dream teams and follow them through the season, and forums allow them to continue those pub conversations about the best and worst players at any time of the day or night. Live streaming of games, reviews, podcasts and online interviews all mean that any true fan simply can’t afford to be without a decent broadband connection, or at least a first-rate smartphone.

Finally, the online connection, of course, works both ways. Clubs can build a better relationship with their fans, and the instant feedback players receive often encourages them to give that little bit extra on the pitch. Some may say that the real fans are those on the terraces, but the online army of supporters are just as important in today’s footballing world.

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About "" - 14 Posts

Football obsessed. Love for retro stuff like Subbuteo & Sensible Soccer. Hoping to work in football but there's not much of a call for History of Poetry graduates.

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