BLOG | by Frank Saez

AFC Asian Cup | Football finds its Buzz among UAE’s older generation

Following up on our recent blog post on the benefits the AFC Asian Cup has delivered to host UAE, we thought we’d drill a bit deeper into the Buzz* data we’ve collected around football in the country.

It shows us that hosting football tournaments in the region offers a guaranteed boost to ‘Buzz’ around the event but has a very different effect across age groups.

Take the World Cup, for example.

A quick look at our Buzz score for the tournament in the UAE shows that the tournament created very high amounts of interest across the nation, peaking with a score of 59%.

But when you drill deeper down into the data another important trend emerges. It shows that the older the population segment is, the more likely it was to have noticed a Buzz around the tournament. Take a look at our chart below which illustrates the trend nicely.

But this data is for a tournament played 3,700km away with no UAE participation. What about an event played on home soil, with Al-Abyad playing? Like the AFC Asian Cup for example.

Well, even as organisers pack away the flags, I can tell you that exactly the same effect was in play. The graph below demonstrates how, despite an early peak among our youngest age group, Buzz around the Asian Cup was soon overhauled by older groups. And as time has gone by, the same trend has established itself – namely that the older you are, the more excited you were likely to be about the tournament.

While differences in behaviour between age groups are to be expected, it is nonetheless worth exploring how they might be occur.

One possible explanation is that the tournament’s marketing and PR may have been noticed more among older groups – something perfectly possible as media consumption habits differ between the age categories.

It may also be the case that messaging around sports events get somewhat drowned out for younger people, amid a barrage of other topics – meaning many, especially non-football fans, simply haven’t taken as much notice of the events.

But another answer might be simply that younger people are harder to reach with positive news about an event. Their wider use of social media means that the messages they hear may be different to the ones carried over mainstream and traditional media – and potentially less positive. That’s something for organisers would want to bear in mind.

Whatever the reason (and a little more polling would allow us to nail it down), there’s lots to celebrate here, with the average Buzz score for the Asian Cup more than tripling since November. In addition, the UAE’s run in the tournament gave us all much to smile about…

  • BUZZ: a net score of whether respondents have heard something positive or negative about an event in the past two weeks)

BLOG | by Frank Saez

Managing Director and Founder of YouGov Sport

Recognised by his peers as one of the foremost practitioners in global sports business analysis and research, Frank has over 20 years international experience, working with some of the world’s leading sports rights holders and sponsors.