With the Premier League in full swing, many brands continue to launch campaigns looking to take advantage of the competition’s diverse audience.

Its global reach is significant, with around a fifth of internet users following or watching the games online or on TV.

Although the competition has a broad audience, Premier League fans1 do have their differences. Here are some defining characteristics to know.

1. The female fanbase is bigger than you may think.

It’s often assumed that soccer leagues attract a very male-dominated audience, and that interest among women remains limited. But our data says differently.

Women actually make up just under a third (30%) of the Premier League audience.

This presents an untapped opportunity for brands to reach the sport-minded female.

This female audience is 43% more likely than average to be from the top income quartile and is open and receptive to advertising.

57% say tend to buy the products they see advertised, and over 4 in 10 say they come across new brands via TV ads.

There’s, for example, a promising opportunity for short-haul travel brands and service providers to target female Premier League fans.

2 in 3 say travel and exploring is a strong interest of theirs, and they’re 33% more likely than their male counterparts to take short-haul vacations abroad every few months, giving travel companies a unique chance to reach out to women during gameplay.

2. They value premium products.

Premier League fans are big online shoppers. In the past month, 8 in 10 have bought something online.

They don’t just buy any brand, though. The vast majority (3 in 5) say they tend to purchase the premium version of products whether shopping offline or online, which tallies with their affluent nature.

Designer brands perform particularly strongly with this audience.

They’re about twice as likely to purchase all of the designer brands we track, like Louis Vuitton and Prada.

This is most likely linked to the importance they place on their image and status. 75% say it’s important for them to feel respected by their peers. They also care about their appearances and other people’s perceptions of them, and will buy into the brands that can boost their social standing.

3. They favor the big screen for tuning in.

Sports broadcasters continue to compete for distribution rights, and soccer is one of the most highly sought-after sports worldwide.

But the increased competition from digital services like Amazon Prime is set to change the viewing landscape next season. Earlier this year, we saw Amazon acquire the rights to stream games on their platforms for the 2019/2020 season.

In particular, the likes of Netflix and Amazon have shaken up the TV landscape and changed how content is consumed.

Online TV has taken off in recent years and has become a key part of media portfolios for Premier League fans. Two-thirds watch TV-on-demand on a weekly basis, while 60% choose subscription services like Netflix.

While sports viewing retains its appointment-viewing status, there’s certainly an appeal in watching games live on a big TV screen with peers – something that can’t always be mirrored on another device.

This is evident in our data too: while a third of fans now watch Premier League games online, around half are still doing so on traditional TV sets.

4. Second-screening is a big deal.

The vast majority (92%) of Premier League fans reach for other devices while watching TV, and it’s the smartphone which is the clear favorite here (81%).

Second screens are a huge competitor to advertising brands for the attention of fans.

But while they take fans away from what’s happening on the main screen, they also offer a huge opportunity for engagement as fans search around for information.

The question for advertisers and brands is: how can they reach fans as they move their attention from the main screen to the second one?

Our research shows that interaction on social media is where the opportunity lies.

Most fans use social media (54%) or chat with friends (51%) while the action unfolds, potentially discussing the game or reading other people’s comments and opinions on players or the events as they unfold during the game.

The key challenge for brands is being a subtle part of the conversation, without getting in the way of fans accessing the commentary and content they’re after.

5. They’re early adopters of the esports trend.

In recent years, the explosive popularity of the esports genre has bridged the gap between gaming and traditional sports.

The Premier League itself has launched its first esports competition, partnering with EA Sports to create a tournament where strong performers earn points towards the FIFA eWorld Cup in 2019.

This is set to be a hit among Premier League fans as gaming is already a strong interest for over half of this audience.

A sizeable number of fans are onboard with the esports trend too. In the last month, 28% have watched an esports tournament, putting them 64% ahead of average, and 18% have broadcasted a live stream while playing in the last month.

This is a promising opportunity for marketers to sponsor individual players and influencers, creating more income streams for the players and increasing awareness for the sponsoring brands.

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1Premier League fans are defined as those who follow or watch the Premier League on TV or online.

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