The Premier League is recognized as one of the greatest soccer competitions in the world, home of the world’s best players and most intense rivalries. During the last ten years, the sport has significantly grown its popularity overseas, including in Africa. Several major factors have contributed to the competition’s rise in the continent and in other international markets. Today more than ever, clubs in the Premier League, and especially the biggest names, draw on support from all of the world. Here we will examine the factors that are helping to stimulate the popularity of the Premier League in Africa, connecting fans to their favorite teams and developing new supporters who’d never previously watched the sport.
One of the biggest factors in the rise in popularity of the Premier League is the growth in the competition’s international broadcast portfolio. Today, matches from the competitions are shown all over the world, including through specialist channels and online platforms. The Premier League’s international broadcast portfolio is worth billions and individual deals are struck from country to country. The result is that the vast majority of games are streamed live and, luckily for African supporters, the difference in time zones is minimal. It isn’t uncommon for supporters of a particular club to arrange get-togethers to watch the matches. Often, fans kit themselves out in club colors and join in with traditional terrace songs to create an authentic match atmosphere thousands of miles from the action.
— Carabao Cup (@Carabao_Cup) November 6, 2020
Social media Social media is a hugely powerful tool that allows friends and relatives to make easy contact with one another, view each other’s latest photos, and share their favorite content. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are among the biggest in the world. The channels are also used by brands to connect with customers, as well as by Premier League clubs, who use the platforms to keep fans informed with the latest news and highlights. Updates are delivered every day and news is added as it breaks. Many clubs publish specialized regional accounts to engage with a particular audience and much of the output is designed to resonate with an African audience. This often includes placing focus on African players, including interviews and highlight reels.
🎙 Media duties following an impressive @premierleague debut.
— Brighton & Hove Albion (@OfficialBHAFC) January 13, 2021
The online betting industry has also played no small role in developing an overseas fan base in Africa for Premier League clubs. The modern betting experience delivers far more than the opportunity to predict the outcome of a match. For example, those betting at William Hill can check out the latest statistics, form, and even watch the match unfold in a live graphical representation. This can help to immerse a sports fan in the action, even if they’re not able to watch it. These kinds of betting apps and services are readily available to Premier League followers from across Africa. The rise of the budget smartphone is allowing millions more to connect to the internet and engage with betting platforms. As we can see, it’s never been easier for African supporters to engage with the Premier League. Perhaps more than in any other competition, clubs at England’s elite level have succeeded in building significant fan bases throughout Africa.