Historically, the World Cup has driven a massive passion and engagement amongst the GCC, with interest for football peaking massively every time the World Cup begins. Nevertheless, this one will be even bigger in the region. For the first time, 4 Arab nations enter the tournament, making it the World Cup with highest Arab participation.
This has already generated an explosion on social media, with slight tensions amongst Arabs, since KSA and Egypt will be playing against each other on the first group round, and only one team can win.
However, these tensions have been dwarfed by the excitement of the four nations participating, focusing on what unites them: their being Arab.
In order to measure sentiment for this exciting event, OMD conducted across 1000 respondents in the six GCC countries, which uncovered changes in consumption patterns as well as sentiment from the last World Cup, which is also when a pre and post research was conducted.
When asked for their love for football, 75 percent consider themselves extreme football fanatics, stating that their favorite thing about the tournament was watching their team succeed, but close behind that was the opportunity to gather with friends and family as football brings people together. Unsurprisingly then a majority (65 percent) said they would be watching it at home – either their own or at a friend’s place.
When consulted on how they would keep themselves updated on the World Cup, the channel consumption ranks remained the same as 2014, but with shifting weights across channels. TV remains king but has seen the biggest drop of 19 percent since the last World Cup. On the other hand, social media sees the biggest increase of five percent when it comes to World Cup news. Friends/Family/Peers holds is in the third position as a source of updates with neutral growth vs. 2014.
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The World Cup will also have collateral impacts on other industries with 74 percent claiming that they will be ordering food to watch the match; 69 percent will be playing video games and 50 percent will consider buying a new TV prior to the tournament.
This region is one with the highest social media penetration, and undoubtedly this World Cup the GCCers will be heard.