Special report: Generation Z – the young fans who are switching off

15 April 2021

Photo: Alamy Data from the Nielsen Fan Insights 2019 study across eight different markets (China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, the UK and the US) revealed that those aged 16-24 prefer shorter, “snackable” content and, from a sporting standpoint, were less inclined to watch entire games. Pictured is a few young Real Betis fans.

42 per cent of 13-23 year olds have no interest in sport, versus 25 per cent in other age groups.

Formula 1 has gained nearly 60 million new 16-25 year old fans during lockdown due to digital media and streaming strategies.

Leading football executives and broadcasters express concerns at switch off among young people.

“We have a real concern about how football is losing its grip and losing its salience a little bit. We need to do all we can, all we can to address that and put it back at the centre of attention for the younger generation.”

Generation Z frustrated that traditional sports are overloaded with marketing messages: 55 per cent said they watched highlights to avoid ads.

James Corbett corbett@offthepitch.com

Is football facing a silent but looming threat that threatens the long-term future of its financial ecosystem? A ticking timebomb that the game complacently lingers towards? Could the past year be a harbinger of an even direr future for the game: not just empty stadiums, but games broadcast to ever-diminishing audiences?

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