The Deep Dive Supplementary Document – International Football

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Hello and welcome back to the second supplementary document for The Deep Dive. Due to the nature of this weeks show, a lot of the discussion has been based around the podders on personal relationships, views and feelings toward international football however I do feel there still some aspects of supplementary information that may help provide some factual context to various elements of the discussion.

Interest in International Football in Scotland Gauged Through Attendances

The first element of this is regarding the declining interest rates from fans with regards to international football, especially Scotland. With that in mind I want to demonstrate the attendances for Scottish clubs vs the Scotland national side in the last season that fans were allowed to step foot inside stadia – 2019/20. As you can see, there was an interesting trend with regards to as the nights got colder and we got further into the season, interest in the national team declined with fewer than 20,000 turning up to the Kazakhstan game. Now, there are reasons for this (the end to an awful Euro 2020 qualifying campaign being one) but it still speaks to a downward spiral in terms of the interest in the national team, with only really the hardcore fans turning up to the games against San Marino and Kazakhstan.

Scotland v Russia  (Hampden) / 06 Sep 2019  / 32,432

Scotland v Belgium  (Hampden) / 09 Sep 2019 / 25, 524

Scotland v San Marino  (Hampden) / 13 Oct 2019 / 20,699

Scotland v Kazakhstan  (Hampden) / 19 Nov 2019 / 19,515

This lack of interest was also replicated in the previous season, with only 20,196 fans turning up to Hampden to watch Scotland play Belgium, 19,684 against Portugal, and a measly 17,455 against Albania. To contextualize these numbers, if Hampden was full for all three fixtures, 155,598 tickets would have been sold compared to the 57,299 that actually were, meaning 73% of tickets across the three matches went unsold. Again, there are reasons for this such as the pricing of tickets being a turnoff for many fans but it still goes to show that the interest in the national side is declining from a physical in-stadia support perspective.

International Football vs Club football In Statistics

The thing to bare in mind when these conversations are had around the money between the pinnacle of international football (The World Cup) and the pinnacle of club football (The Champions League) is that one is a truly global event in every sense of the word.

For example, the last World Cup in 2018 in Russia generated approximately $6.1 billion in revenue, (the equivalent of each person in the world donating 82¢ to the world cup). In the following season, the Champions League generated $2.8 billion in revenue. However, considering the World Cup is a once every four-year event, if you were to continue that revenue generation from the Champions League across all four seasons until the next World Cup in 2022 then the Champions League is evidently the greater revenue generator due to fans continued interest in the competition on a season-on-season basis, which drives annual sponsorship deals and long-term partners that pump money into the competition.

With regards to broadcasting, this is where interest in the World Cup truly peaks. The 2018 final in Moscow attracted an interest of 1.18 billion people, with the entire tournament reaching an audience of 3.57 billion people according to FIFA (approximately 47% of the worlds population). In contrast, BT Sport report viewers of the Champions League final to be in the tens of millions rather than touching the billions, with the 2018 final (the same year as the World Cup) drawing a global audience of 380 million, demonstrating that in terms of a showpiece event, it is difficult to come close to the World Cup due to the nature of it.

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