24/05/2019   Guy Bisson
Is streaming accessibility the key to maintaining Gen Z's interest in soccer?

European soccer leagues that have taken the plunge into digital licensing are far more popular among 18-24 years old and have seen less of a drop in interest in the sport among this demographic than other leagues and competitions. At a global level, 18-24 year olds under-index for interest in most sports, including soccer. In Q1 2019, 23% of those 18-24 year olds surveyed across 20 markets worldwide expressed an interest in soccer, versus 27% of the wider respondent base. This also translates into the age bracket’s interest in European soccer leagues and competitions. Of ten leagues and soccer competitions surveyed, all but two show a lower interest among this age group.  Spain's La Liga and French Ligue 1 both over-index for interest among the younger demographic while the English Premier League and Italy's Serie A both show broadly equal interest among 18-24 year olds and older age groups. For La Liga and the English Premier League 18-24 year olds are also more likely to be willing to pay for access than the average consumer.

Digital licensing deals seem to play a part. La Liga, Serie A and the Premier League have signed deals for digital distribution with DAZN in multiple markets, La Liga has Facebook as a partner in India, and Amazon has purchased a Premier League package in the UK. All of these partners offer the content at a much lower price than traditional pay TV and allow streaming access, making the competitions more accessible to an increasingly mobile and cash-strapped generation. As the struggle for younger audiences’ attention continues access beyond broadcast will become a more prominent part of distribution strategy, and other soccer leagues and competitions should be considering how best to make the most of these new, lower-cost distribution channels. 

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