Recently a group of six football teams got together to create a YouTube based seven a side football league, named Next Level Football League. That’s the basic part of what it is, if that’s all you wanted to know then fair play the rest of this article is going to be pretty pointless. However for those interested i’ll try and elaborate on it’s significance.
One of the team’s involved is Hashtag United, a team formed by YouTube star Spencer Owen aka Spencer FC. The Hashtag team typically play exhibition games, which have a contribution to a league system that they created that is designed in a similar fashion to the league system in the EA football game series, FIFA.
Hashtag United have been on a fantastic journey so far working in partnership with some big companies such as Umbro and Top Eleven who feature on the side’s kit, as well as Coca Cola, who sponsored the team’s USA Tour. That’s right a team from YouTube went on tour to America, courtesy of Coca Cola.
The audience that they’ve began to generate is magnificent, their recent game against Top Eleven, currently has over 800,000 views. To put that in perspective, the English Football League this season, proudly boasted their highest attendance figures in 60 years for the 2016/17 season. The average attendance for this impressive season?
Championship- 241,433 Weekly.
League 1- 95,181.
League 2- 57,028.
Football League average weekly attendance across all three divisions? 393,642.
Yes, there is the obvious difference that those attending games in the football league are having to pay for tickets, but nevertheless, the fact that Hashtag’s recent game got over double the viewership of an average football league week across all 72 teams, is very impressive, and show’s the team’s potential.
Hashtag’s example shows the potential viewership of YouTube football. Now if this football league can start to generate similar viewing figures to that of Hashtag United, the future of the league looks bright. The figures would be there to possibly draw investment which could lead to growth in the league and the teams within it.
Could this mean that one day, people opt to play in the Next Level Football League rather than the lower league’s of the football pyramid? Whether it be for exposure to revamp a career or if the team’s can one day offer good money I think it’s a possibility. At the very least the ongoing Hashtag United games and the Next Level Football League can offer fans a nice alternative to the traditional football system that we’re used to, and also offer us an opportunity to fill our fix of football addiction while most league’s in the world are in preseason.
If you would like to watch the highlights for the first ever Next Level Football League match day. The video is below.