BLOG | by Frank Saez

Arabian Gulf League – Reasons to be cheerful

With the Arabian Gulf League now underway, we have polled people living in the United Arab Emirates to get a feel for what they perceive as the competition’s strengths and weaknesses.

In the chart below, we show the characteristics most associated with the league – both amongst the general population and amongst football fans.

As you can see, the characteristics most associated with the AGL are ‘entertaining’ and ‘exciting’, with ‘accessible’, ‘professional’ and ‘respectful’ all making strong showings. Whilst every top characteristic polls more strongly among the football fan segment, it is interesting to note that the top ten for the general population mirrors the top ten for football fans.

In the chart below, you can see where the biggest differences exist between perceptions of the general population and of football fans.

These are likely to be the areas where the league will want to close the gap in perceptions. Football fans, for example, are much more likely to view the league as compelling, world-class and exciting – something that looks to emerge from attending the matchday experience.

We also asked people what they considered the top reasons to attend a game.  You can see the top five reasons among fans and the general population below.

What the chart shows is that, as you might expect, there is a well-established link between supporting a club and attending games. Both fans and the general population also strongly believe that watching the match live is more enjoyable than watching on TV.

Finally, we asked respondents about reasons not to attend matches – and you can see the results below. We are surprised to see ticket cost as an issue, given the AGL’s competitive pricing. This is certainly a perception the league will want to address in its marketing and communications.

It’s also interesting to note that only one in four football fans (24%) cite the number of high-profile players as being a barrier to attendance, suggesting that the league has the balance about right. The standard of football is also relatively low on the list of reasons not to attend, which administrators will find pleasing. With the opening matches already played, this data tells us that the League is in good health ahead of what we are all hoping will be an exciting season.

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.