How the European Super League Will Test Fan Loyalty?

Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur are among 12 clubs who have agreed to join a European Super League. With the new competition proposed to replace the Champions League, the football industry could be on the verge of a monumental shake-up.

The European Super League

The Local Fanbase

UEFA’s recent proposal concerning a new Champions League format has left the door ajar for discussion about the future of European football. Elite clubs have jumped at the chance, completely knocking the door down in the process.

While clubs don’t have to give back to their local area, relationships between clubs and communities have seemingly developed naturally over decades. This affiliation has prompted many from local populations to become fans, seeing them attend matches during the Premier League era. However, the push for a European Super League has perhaps revealed the true colours of elite football clubs, making these community contributions appear far less genuine.

As English football increased in popularity, there has been a notable surge in foreign investment. This has stolen the emphasis away from local fan groups.

The Premier League ‘big six’ have damaged their public relations on several occasions within the last year. Liverpool and Tottenham attempted to use the UK government’s furlough scheme to pay their non-playing staff 80% of their wages. The Premier League pay-per-view model also stirred a negative reaction from football fans. These actions show how out of touch the ‘big six’ are from their fan groups and local communities.

With fans currently not able to let their feelings heard in stadiums. The ‘big six’ have no doubt seized the opportunity to guarantee future European stability for their own clubs. However, this will likely come at a cost. Fans might turn their back on these football clubs, that were once held in high regard within local communities.

The Global Fanbase

Even though it’s clear, football isn’t quite the same spectacle in empty stadiums. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that Premier League clubs aren’t financially reliant on fans who buy tickets.

The sale of international broadcast rights has triggered a worldwide interest in high-level European football. Owners of elite European teams have realised the expansive potential of having global fanbases, meaning local fanbases have become of secondary concern.

In fact, Premier League football is being aimed towards the huge markets in Asia and Africa. This has been seen with the staggered kick-off times, encompassing the global audience.

The idea behind the European Super League is to increase the regularity of high-profile matches around the world. If the proposal works out to be as popular as the founding clubs predict, there will be an uptake in the value of television rights and then subsequently a rise in the value of sponsorship deals.

The closed nature of the league will reduce the jeopardy for the clubs involved. However, there’s the risk that local fans will become disenfranchised from Europe’s elite football clubs. Unfortunately, this appears to be of little concern. The clubs in the European Super League have shown their hand. It’s now time for the rest of the football industry to push back and stifle the growing influence of these European powerhouses.

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