Project title (approx. 20 words)

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Project title (approx. 20 words)

Project title (approx. 20 words)

Reviewing the role social media has played in regards to the consumption of football amongst the millennial generation

Project question

What role has social media played within football consumption and has this affected the consumption of football amongst the millennial generation of fans?


What is social media?

How has it changed over the past decade?

The impact it’s had on businesses?

The world of sport regularly experiences continues change (Thompson et al, 2014). With the advancements in technology, sporting organisations are being provided with new ways of building communications with sports consumers (Thompson et al, 2014). The latest innovation in technology has led to sporting organisations, to find new ways of providing content to consumers (Martin et al, 2014). Over the past decade, social media has become a great phenomenon amongst society (Wang et al, 2016). With over 2.5, billion people using various social media platforms, sports business organisations have had to make adjustments and find new ways of adapting to the latest trend in consumer communication (CNBC, 2018). The latest advancements in technology, has slowly led society to move away from old school media (CNBC, 2018). Not only has the advancement in technology opened the door for sharing personal content, but it is also becoming a key focus for sport business organisations, in terms of increasing sales and attracting new customers (Miller et al, 2016).

In the book How the world changed social media, Daniel Miller (2016) emphasises the point that people are using social media as a place to socialise and not just a means of communication with one another, but also as a way of maintaining and building relationships. Sporting organisations have recognised that social media has become the key hub for interaction amongst people in society and are capitalising by offering new content on social media platforms (Billing et al, 2015). The revolution in smart phones, computers and the introduction of tablets has enabled the public to maintain frequent online presence through social media sites (Anderson, 2018). Individuals can now use social media on a computer, mobile phones or tablet to send messages, photo and video sharing between one another or in a group (Anderson, 2018).

The shift in technology has seen traditional media outlets such as newspapers, radio, and television forced into adjusting how they communicate with the public (Rayner et al, 2004). In terms of sport, these three formats continue to be the forefront in sports consumption, for sporting audiences away from live sport venues (Blakey, 2011). On the other hand, new media technologies is now providing sports fans with an alternative way of viewing sports content, opposed to the traditional formats (Blakey, 2011).

With new media becoming a more efficient alternative for sports fans, companies are now starting to move into online subscriptions to cater for people who have moved away from the traditional format (BBC News, 2012).This is a major transformation as television, radio and newspapers were once seen for many years as the main source of information (Watkins, 2018). Sports companies are taking advantage of new media by using it as a way of communicating with the public (Watkins, 2018). The change in technology has had a major impact in the relationship between society and the media (BBC News, 2012). Internet quality has played a key part in the relationship between society and media (BBC News, 2012). Better connection, compounded by the emergence of social media platforms, major companies are now moving with time (BBC News, 2012).

The growth in technology has provided the public with more choice and has seen television and radio stations make adjustments (Degaris, 2015). Traditional formats have started to offer the sports consumers, new ways of interacting (Degaris, 2015). Blakey (2011, p.144) states, “The digital revolution has arrived and sport media technology has jumped on board”. The internet is now a powerful tool within society, sporting organisation have recognised this trend (Nicholson et al, 2015). With television and the internet being the main format for sport fans, it now outweighs other forms of media when it comes to peak viewing times (Shank and Lyberger, 2014). Sporting organisation would find the task of engaging with a mass audience very difficult if social media was not available, due its reach (Westerbeek, 2009).

Along with the internet, the mobile phone has become an essential device for keeping up with information and on demand, content has seen companies such as the BBC, Sky and BT introduce on the demand content for users (The Guardian, 2013). According to (Degaris, 2015) Mobile phones are set to exceed the number of people on earth in a few years’ time, television networks need to respond with new ways of providing content. With all smart phones, containing reliable 4G or wireless connection, consumers are in no need to own a television or radio to watch live sporting events, because this is now available through streaming on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook (The Guardian, 2013). On demand also provides consumers an opportunity to catch up on any live television they have missed, at a time it suits them (The Guardian, 2013). The BBC are recognised as one of the first television networks to have launched an online catch up service for viewers in 2007 (Telegraph, 2008). Such as the change in the landscape in traditional media, other television networks have followed suit such as ITV and Channel 4 (Telegraph, 2008). The BBC provide viewers with BBC iPlayer, which enables sporting fans to view live content such as live football matches and match of the day providing they own a smartphone that contains reliable internet connection (Telegraph, 2008).

The internet has become a staple piece of software amongst households worldwide. According to Westerbeek (2009, p237) who states that “In 2005-06, 60 per cent of all homes within Australia had access to the internet and 40% of Australian stated that they used the internet everyday”. For a sporting organisation, these numbers represent a major opportunity to market to a mass audience of people, because businesses are using the software for marketing purposes and the internet also provides access to social media (Degaris, 2015).

Over the past ten years, social media with the help of the internet, has now become the main outlet for sport businesses to advertise their latest products and services (Nicholson et al, 2015; Newman et al, 2015). Due to the technological advancements, which has enabled internet use, consumers can now access information more conveniently and efficiently (Nicholson et al, 2015). This enables sport businesses to target a larger proportion of consumers due to its reach (Blakely, 2011). Sporting organisations such as Manchester United, have over the past decade realised that social media is more efficient than traditional media in terms of advertising (Maya, 2013). The financial times (2014) points out that Manchester United’s engagement is greater than any celebrity or football team anywhere in the world and with the club boasting 659 million fans around the world, traditional media restricted the number of fans the club could engage with. Furthermore, social media has now made it more realistic for a club of Manchester United’s popularity to reach to a mass audience.

In the book Sports management review, Adam Karg states, “The emergence of social media has profoundly impacted the delivery and consumption of sport” (Karg et al, 2015; p1). Sports fans are now able to interact on social media while also watching live matches (Karg et al, 2015). A decade ago this was not the case, sports fans had to settle for traditional media such as television and radio in order to follow live sporting events (Nicholson, 2015). The development in technology and the emergence of various social media platform has enabled the delivery of live sporting events to change forever (Karg et al, 2015).

Football is one of a number of sport to have benefitted from explosion of social media (Degaris, 2015). Near enough every football team in the world is signed up to some sort of social media outlet in order to interact with fans or to expand their fan base worldwide (BBC News, 2013). Social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are now being used by professional sporting teams, in order to communicate with fans around the world (Watkins, 2018). Having strong communication with fans around the world is very important, because it provides sporting teams with an opportunity to maintain brand awareness, as well as strengthening relationships with fans (Watkins, 2018). Neilson (2015) states that in the last ten years, the media market has changed drastically due to sports fans engaging with sports on different platforms. Teams in the premier league in particular, have embraced the power of social media and it has become a key component for teams in terms of sponsorship opportunities and also a chance to advertise new merchandise (Halberstam, 2016). Football teams have further embraced social media in terms of the quick updates they can now provide fans during live events (Sanderson, 2015). Teams are now able to report line-ups, goal updates and transfer news in order to keep fans engaged with the latest activities within the club (Sanderson, 2015).

For fans, social media has become the main source of sport fandom and has led to many of the millennial generation of sport fans to watch football games, while enjoying interacting with rival fans through social media platforms (Sanderson, 2015). One example of social media platform that is commonly used football fans is Twitter. Founded in 2006 and it has over 29.9 million users in the UK and is free to set up (Sky News, 2018). The platform has seen a surge in popularity amongst sporting organisation and football fans due to its interaction ability (BBC, 2012). Sporting fans use the platform regularly to keep up to date with the latest activities within their favourite football team and organisations use it the platform to provide information (BBC, 2012). Instagram is another social media platform used by sports fans. Founded in 2010 the platform, is used by many sporting organisations and many sports fans around the world to share content such as photos and videos and allowing other people to leave likes and comments as a way of feedback (Sky News, 2018). Snapchat has recently become a popular format amongst sports fans. Snapchat has grown at a considerable pace since its emergence and has now become the third highest social media platform used by the millennial generation in terms of consuming sport (Billing et al, 2015). Facebook remains the biggest social media platform to date. Founded by Mark Zuckerberg in 2004, the network boasts over 40.9 million users in the UK (Sky News, 2018). The platform provides users with opportunity to interact with one another through messenger and add pictures and videos (Sky News, 2018). Finding ways of engaging with of interacting with sports fans has become vitally important for sporting organisations (Sanderson, 2011).

Whether it is through apps or social media, sporting organisations have recognised they need to provide the right content in order to attract and maintain sports fans (Sellito, 2014). The use of athletes by sporting organisation on social media sites is an attempt to raise interactive levels amongst sports fans (Billings et al, 2015). Running marketing campaigns on social media apps with a nostalgia connection is also a way for sporting organisations to maintain a relationship with its fans (Billings et al, 2015).

Disadvantages of social media: However social media

In light of the above, the aim of this research is to analyse how clubs in the premier league are using social media and what type of content they are providing the millennial generation in order to stay connected with them.

In order to achieve the aim the following objectives will need to be achieved:

Objective 1: Introduction of social media, football, and the millennial generation and examine the connection between all three

Objective 2: To examine which social media platform is being used the most by the millennial generation

Objective 3: Objective three will analyse how social media has been used by fans to express themselves online

Objective 4: Objective four will analyse the changes in football consumption

This study intends to adopt a quantitative method of inquiry through the use of conducting online surveys. This research will mainly target people between the ages of 18-25 with a sample size of 75-100 participants asked to take part in the survey. Both male and females are welcome to take part in the survey both open and closed questions will be included within the survey in order to answer objective 2.

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