There’s a new generation of football fans hungry for content that is funny, irreverent and straight to the point. fcbusiness goes behind the scenes to find out how Slash Football is serving this audience.
The days of slick production, highly paid presenters and expensively designed studios may be numbered, at least for the millennial generation. Slash Football is the new kid on the block that’s serving up football from a different angle.
“It’s all about the big personalities behind the game,” said Will Pyne, Chief Creative Officer at Brave Bison, the power behind Slash Football. “We are less interested in the scores or the stats. We’re fascinated in all the individuals that make football what it is. The people stories behind it all – ultimately how football people behave.”
Based around ‘Football People’ as its creative platform, Slash Football challenges the norm and puts a fun and irreverent slant on its creative proposition.
“We see ourselves like stand up comedians – we observe human behaviour in football – and then we will create content off the back of it. It’s generally irreverent, it’s always jovial. We never seriously talk about football tactics or fan rivalries as such. What we’ll do is dig out those little humorous stories, the funny relationships between different players, managers, pundits, YouTubers! We’re all about seeking as much entertainment as possible out of football. But ultimately it’s about celebrating football people – this amazing circus of individuals that make the game so fascinating to us all.”
That ‘circus’ of people has helped Slash Football grow rapidly and includes prominent social media celebrities such as The True Geordie and Manny and shows such as The Last 5 and Park Life.
“We’re big on Facebook – with over 2.5m followers, we have about 320k [followers] on YouTube, 70k on Instagram and 75k on Twitter so we’re truly multi-platform and we’re creating content that is relevant to the people on those platforms,” adds Will.
The primary audience for Slash Football is 18-30 year olds with variations across the different platforms used. But one thing that is constant is their insatiable appetite for content.
“Every day we need to get into their heads. My team has to totally get into the heads of this audience and understand what they love. The younger audiences are almost eschewing and not really engaging with your typical mainstream media outlets like Sky Sports for example. If you look at audience our figures, we get some really big numbers on our Facebook Live streams. They’re not that far behind the viewing figures the likes of Sky get. I think it’s because the type of content we produce is much more relevant to that younger audience.
“We run a show called The Last 5 on Facebook that goes out at 4:40pm every Saturday and it’s a direct competitor to Final Score on the BBC or Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday where you have smartly dressed pundits lined up in a studio. That’s fun and entertaining but what we do is make it much more youthful and out there. We have it presented by YouTube and Facebook creators – guys that have big followings amongst this audience and can resonate with them.
“We don’t worry about high production values, in fact it’s quite the opposite, we make it feel quite down and dirty – on the fly. We don’t spend a fortune creating a polished looking studio because our audience don’t really care about that.”
Their audience may not care too much about production values but they do care about frequency. “What we’ve found is that they’re a pretty insatiable bunch and you have to keep feeding them. Even though they’ve signed up to multiple football channels, you just cannot give them enough content. We’re making so much but it’s about making sure the content we create genuinely stands out and it isn’t just generic football channel fodder.
“It’s about cutting to the chase! There’s no teasing like with traditional narrative arcs where you lead the viewer in and gradually introduce the subject matter. Attention spans are so much shorter now, and there’s so much competing for our attention. Our audience aren’t sitting just watching one TV channel, they’ve got things coming at them from Twitter, YouTube, SnapChat, Facebook and most of it’s on mobile so you have to get to the point, and with a tone of voice that is different to everyone else.”
With sponsorship of Eltham FC, the Sunday League team that figures prominent YouTubers KSI, Manny and Tobi (aka TBJZL) amongst its ranks for its Park Life series, Slash Football’s ability to feed it’s audience’s hunger shows no sign of abating.