World Cup data shows football 'inspired a nation'
The country caught football fever this summer with England’s unexpected success in the World Cup - even those that don't normally get involved.
Mobile data company Ogury has released its FIFA World Cup study 2018 - an analysis of how 2.1 million smartphone users consumed news and information during this summer’s football world cup.
It found that 11 per cent of users accessed a sports application or visited a sports site, such as BBC Sport or Sky Sports, during the period.
Between the 14 June and 12 July, the study also revealed a 53 per cent overall increase in ‘football fans’ during the World Cup in the UK, with variation across the different regions. In England, the highest growth was in Yorkshire, with a 61 per cent increase.
This effect may be attributed to the strong Yorkshire contingent within the England national football team, with players like John Stones, Harry Maguire, Kyle Walker and Jamie Vardy all hailing from the UK’s largest county.
"It’s fascinating to see how mobile user behaviour can help measure the ‘World Cup effect’, breaking down the increase in football fans by region, demographic, and the various means through which mobile media is consumed,” said Ogury VP of data & mobile analytics Christophe Bize.
“Football mania has been a well-documented phenomenon during this World Cup, particularly in England where, as our study helps to show, football may not have 'come home' but it did inspire a nation."
The South West (55 per cent), South East (54 per cent), the North West (53 per cent) and West Midlands (53 per cent) also saw significant increases in fans. However, the largest overall increase in the UK was Northern Ireland, where numbers increased by 67 per cent.
Despite not making it to the World Cup finals, the competition was still very popular in Scotland, where new fan numbers increased by 54 per cent. Wales was enthusiastic but slightly less so, with a 43 per cent increase.
In addition to the region-specific data, the study was also able to explore the different demographic changes, finding that female interest in football increased by 41 per cent compared to just 24 per cent in males. However, female fans made up just three pre cent of the total volume of fans by gender.
In the UK, SkySports was by far the most popular choice of sports app, with 39 per cent of the share of visits from all apps in the top 10.
This was followed by BBC News Online with 26 per cent. Of the top 10 websites, sportinglife.com took the lion’s share of 43 per cent, with skysports.com (36 per cent) claiming the second spot.
Globally, there was a very different list of top 10 sports apps, with French newspaper L’equipe claiming the top spot.
The data was collected between 6 June to 12 July from across the Ogury network in the UK, France, Russia, Brazil, Germany, Spain and Italy.
For the purposes of this study, ‘sports fans’ are defined as smartphone users who have accessed a sports app or website prior to the World Cup, whereas users that downloaded a sports app or visited a sports website during the World Cup were considered ‘new sports fans’.