MTM Sport recently set their sights on Vienna for the European Club Association’s (ECA) 27th General Assembly, to deliver the Future of Fandom research report. The biannual event brings together all of the supreme body’s member clubs to discuss developments and ambitions in European club football.

MTM Sport’s Associate Director, Chris Sadd, and Head of Strategy, Rob Collier, presenting the Nurturing Football Fandom report

The General Assembly was centred on a landmark plenary session at the start of each day. ECA Chairman and Paris St Germain President, Nasser Al-Khelaïfi, UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin, ECA CEO Charlie Marshall, and Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Hedwig Lindahl all gave in-person talks, discussing topics as varied as financial sustainability of the European game, the growth of women’s football, and plans for the evolution of elite European club competitions. The event was also attended by footballing greats such as Oliver Kahn, Michael Ballack and Edwin van der Sar, all of whom have moved into senior leadership roles since retiring from their playing careers.

ECA Chairman and Paris St Germain President, Nasser Al-Khelaïfi’s talk at the first plenary session

MTM Sport’s Head of Strategy Rob Collier and Associate Director Chris Sadd followed the main plenary session on each day with a presentation of MTM Sport’s research into the evolution of contemporary football fandom. The research covers several key themes, in particular:

  • How young football fans (aged 16-24) follow the sport, and how this has evolved from previous generations
  • How young fans engage with clubs and players
  • How young fans respond to issues within the game (e.g. racism, gender inequality, sponsorships)

Each presentation was followed by a panel discussion led by Lasse Wolter, Commercial & Business Development Director, and Stephane Mottaz, Head of Services & Business Development at ECA. Harry Unwin, Senior Research Manager at Bayern Munich, and Tony Hughes, Research & Insights Manager at Manchester City, also joined the panel and talked through how their clubs have implemented the findings of MTM Sport’s research into their engagement with their respective fanbases.

Numerous club representatives from across the European footballing world attended the two presentations.

The research can be used by a taskforce of clubs for a number of purposes, including to inform brand activations in foreign markets, fan marketing campaigns and ticketing strategies.

MTM Sport’s panel on Nurturing Football Fandom

You can see highlights from the ECA event here and here.