The Champions League knockout stages start next week (Feb 13 and 14) and fans of the five Premier League clubs left in the competition are starting to dream of May’s final in Kiev.
You’ll overhear some of the conversations at the bar but there’s also an entire world of dialogue taking place online.
No matter how well plugged in to social media you are, it’s not easy to keep on top of everything that’s being said. However, we have our own means of monitoring thousands of social media posts and just lately we’ve been keeping a very close ear to the buzz around the Champions League.
Read on to hear what they are saying and how you can join the conversation and encourage fans to make their way to you on the big nights.
How big a deal is it anyway?
Football fans love the Champions League. In fact, according to our research (which monitors posts on social media, blogs and reviews) 83 per cent of fans really enjoy the competition. Interestingly, it is more popular with football fans who go to the pub than the Premier League is. It must be something about those midweek games under the lights.
When are people talking about it?
As many partners of football fans will testify, the chat around the game is almost constant. That is certainly the case on social media – but the key is knowing when to talk about what. For example, activity about the Champions League on social peaks at around 9pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, essentially when matches are in full swing
Talk about ‘the pub and Champions League’ peaks earlier, at 7pm. This is when people are likely to be heading out for the night, so it could be the perfect time to tell them why they should visit you for the action. Got a midweek offer? A final push before kick-off should reach a sizable audience.
Premier or Champions League?
Both are hugely popular with football fans on social (as is the FA Cup) but when people mention either competition varies massively. The Premier League is a marathon and, as such, there’s a constant stream of posts and mentions about it throughout the season.
The Champions League is more a series of intense sprints. So, while it has been relatively quiet on social in the last few months, ever since the groups stages were concluded, you can be sure it’s about to ramp up again. Talk about the Champions League overtakes the Premier League on and around match days. A sensible promotional strategy for pubs could be to wait until the right moment and then pounce with a flurry of activity, which sounds a bit like how Ronaldo plays these days.
What do fans talk about?
Top of the list this season has been the English clubs, with noise around Liverpool and Man Utd leading the way. Looking back to the 2017 knockout stages, big topics included the final, Leicester City and the Barcelona v PSG tie. The former and the latter are both reminders that while the fortunes of the home clubs will always be high on the agenda of domestic fans there is also an interest in big clashes between the continental greats. Real Madrid v PSG is on Valentine’s Day, so there’s two good reasons in one to get busy on your social channels.
The mention of Leicester reminds us all that anything can happen in football, and that fans love a fairytale.
Why the pub
Football fans on social also reveal some of the reasons why they watch the game at the pub. These include the atmosphere, blowing off steam after work and not having BT Sport at home.
If you do nothing else…
Make sure you promote the Champions League final. This is when we reach peak social conversation. Last year 25 per cent of all talk on social after the knockout stages was about the UCL final. If you are showing it, there is a captive audience out there that needs to know.
The Champions League is shown live and exclusively on BT Sport.