New figures show just how ready fans around the world were to boycott the widely-derided European Super League, although the feeling among potential customers in the US suggests a Stateside cash-in could have been on the cards.
Thousands of supporters were asked whether they intended to snub the multi-billion dollar new league founded by 12 clubs in Europe – and even in the lucrative markets outside of the UK and the US that bosses had been hoping to tap into, more than two thirds of people said they would shun the much-maligned proposals.
The league had aimed to capitalize upon the huge appetite for football in Asia and other regions, but only around one in five fans said they would be willing to watch the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United, Barcelona and Juventus play each other as part of the hugely controversial JP Morgan-backed plans.
In one finding that is unsurprising given the protests that took place outside stadiums across England following the announcement of the league on Sunday, RunRepeat revealed that 83 per cent of people in the UK would ignore the extravagantly lucrative new competition despite the involvement of major Premier League clubs including Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham and Arsenal.
“It’s a big threat and we have to fight very hard against it.” Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl confirms he is opposed to the proposed European Super League, stating that if fans get together to boycott it, it will not succeed#SaintsFCpic.twitter.com/pcU1bZlszg
— PA Dugout (@PAdugout) April 19, 2021
— Liverpool actu France (@LiverpoolActuFR) April 18, 2021
There was more hope in the US, where only 43 per cent of people said they would boycott the league and 35 per cent admitted they were undecided.
Hungry to attract new buyers, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez – who dropped his scheduled media interviews and is under huge pressure after the idea he led collapsed – had warned that dwindling viewing figures were putting the game in peril.
The sad thing is that if the European Super League goes through, although we all say we would boycott it and wouldn’t watch it, when it actually comes, 98% of us would still watch it because of the intrigue and seeing the best footballers in the world 🙄
— Eddie (@Eddie_NUFC) April 18, 2021
Super league came at a time when fans could not even threaten to boycott matches.Stadiums have been empty almost all season.This script just keeps writing itself
— Sir Badt (@diminki) April 19, 2021
“Audiences are decreasing and rights are decreasing and something had to be done,” insisted the 74-year-old billionaire, adding that young people were not interested in the game in its established format. “We are all ruined. Television has to change so we can adapt.”
As well as winning over those undecided fans in the US, organizers would have looked to convince the much smaller proportion of international fans of the clubs involved who intended to pay no notice to the product.
Football twitter : we will boycott all matches. We’ll not watch. *5 minutes after xhaka scores in super series*Arsenal ft : No way xhaka(1) has more goal in European super league than Neymar(0).#europeansuperleague
— Ra (@Rameshgurjar_) April 19, 2021
Don’t mean to get existential but this is honestly true. People complain yet if the league happens it will be a huge success coz everyone will inevitably watch it.
— Yung Kodak (@Yung_kodak_) April 19, 2021
“There is a strong core of fans who will stick by their team regardless of who or where they play,” said researchers, pointing out that a third of the founders’ supporters outside of the clubs’ own countries would not boycott the league.
That would have given Perez and his co-organizers huge potential for revenue, although the reaction of supporters to a social media post by Chelsea about their Premier League match on Tuesday, which many readers used to pillory the plans and even wish defeat upon their club, showed the breadth and strength of feeling about the doomed scheme.
Whether this Super League happens or not, we must all boycott the ‘Big Six’ until these greedy owners are gone.It’s time to take the game back. pic.twitter.com/BQK3gdoerW
— The Sportsman (@TheSportsman) April 19, 2021
When the Super League starts I will watch every single game. Can’t be outchea lying that I’d boycott.
— Tawie (@Bla_Taw) April 19, 2021
“When you have no income other than television, you say that the solution is to make more attractive matches that fans from all over the world can see with all the big clubs,” argued Perez, adding that the league had concluded it would be able to “alleviate” its losses through the new league, featuring many clubs that are heavily in debt.
Perez’s plot is in tatters less than 72 hours later, with all six English clubs making moves to withdraw and the rest of the participants expected to follow.
Should the league be revisited in the future, the lack of interest shown by the study suggests that a marketing masterstroke may be needed to persuade many fans to change their minds. (RT)
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