Scott Hutchison

Gen Z is Soooooooo Soccer

For most marketers, the start of a year means new challenges and fresh opportunities. It also means there’s a suite of industry buzzwords being retired (yes, I’m looking at you ‘multichannel’, ‘sticky content’, ‘social reach’ and ‘evangelist’) while we’re simultaneously creating new jargon for everyone to adopt by the end of Q1.

The now somewhat cringe-worthy word ‘millennial’ is staying in our lexicon because of the appeal of this demo. Rightly so. But for those hoping to avoid another year of overuse…you’re in luck because here comes Gen Z. They’re the post-millennials, the iGeneration, the group of folks that come after millennials. And, they’re the set of consumers many brands are now turning an eye toward.

Lucky for us in the soccer marketing space, Gen Z is soooooooo soccer.

So much of who they are, how they act and what they’re influenced by falls in line with our sport. I came across a great article from Inc. earlier in the week that laid out the demo and the ways in which they’re unique from their predecessors. A few highlights are below:

  • Gen Z will expect (or at least will be more open) to use more augmented and virtual reality experiences. They will be more diverse in their thinking and behavior. If the Millennials have you scratching your head, prepare yourself for a full mind blow as Gen Z brings even more diversity and change.
  • Millennials were considered the first global generation, but as more of the world comes online, geographies will continue to shrink. Gen Z will become more global in their thinking, interactions, and relate-ability. An 8-year-old in the U.S. is likely to have more in common with a 8-year-old in India than a 65 year in their own country. Connectivity has reframed for Gen Z how effortless it is to communicate and collaborate across the globe.
  • Like no other generation before them, Gen Z has actively tried to assimilate previous generations into their culture. As an adult, have you texted someone an emoji, taken a selfie, or downloaded Snapchat? Many actions that were once considered “childish” are now mainstays in culture. Never before have behaviors been rippling up generations like they are today. To remain relevant and functional in a high-tech world, previous generations are looking to Gen Z for cues on how to use and leverage technology.

Soccer’s fan base is young, tech-forward, multicultural, open-minded and globally influenced. The culture of our sport is largely driven by the youthful nature of our fans and the cross-pollination of players, teams, leagues, trends and lifestyles from across the world.

If you’re a brand with a focus on what’s now, and what’s coming, I urge you to take a closer look at the ways which soccer can unlock Gen Z. And, if you’re a marketer just hoping to avoid the word millennial in your next presentation, Gen Z is a pretty nice option.

Categories: Research, Soccer Marketing, Thought Leadership