It’s easy to live in a bubble when following soccer in the United States. Ninety
nine percent of my interactions are with hardcore soccer fans, so when I talk to a
fan who’s new to the Premier League, it’s often revealing.
One of my friends posted on Facebook asking for suggestions of which Premier League
he should follow. It’s a valid question.
I half jokingly suggested Swansea City, but then offered Fulham or Everton as
His reply was profound and cut directly to the real reason why new soccer fans pick
the teams they do. He said he wanted to pick a team that was guaranteed to be on TV
most of the time.
It’s a circle. The teams that garner the biggest TV ratings are the ones who are
shown more often. The teams that are shown most often on TV are the ones who get
most of the new fans.
I don’t see that formula changing anytime soon. In order to attract fans, clubs need
to spend money. Manchester City and Chelsea are examples of teams who have
significantly grown their global fan bases by a combination of spending tons of
money on players, winning trophies and marketing themselves worldwide through preseason tours.
Manchester City could be the last English team for the next decade that grows their
fan base that quickly.
While the revelation that soccer fans often pick teams that are more often on television isn’t earth shattering, it’s still interesting to get insight into the thought process of new fans to the Premier League.