YouGov Signal: social media sentiment towards ‘big six’ tanks following European Super League news

Dominic PrinceAssociate Director
April 20, 2021, 3:55 PM UTC

YouGov Signal: social media sentiment towards 'Big Six' clubs takes a negative turn following European Super League news

Late on Sunday it was announced that 12 of Europe’s top footballing teams – including England’s so-called ‘big six’ teams Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur – were to form the European Super League, a mid-week competition that could threaten the existence of both the Champions League and Europe’s top domestic leagues.

Conversation data from YouGov Signal, YouGov’s social listening tool that analyses online conversation on platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for sentiment and emotions, shows sentiment toward all ‘big six’ clubs took a strongly negative turn following the announcement.

Liverpool saw the biggest increase, going from 27% negative sentiment to 66%. Next hardest hit was Arsenal (25% negative to 59%) and Chelsea (17% to 44%).

Manchester United were affected least by the announcement, with a relatively modest 15pt increase in negative sentiment from 21% to 36%, though this is likely owing to their Premier League victory over Burnley on the night of the announcement.

In the week prior to the announcement, sentiment on social media towards five of the ‘big six’ had tended to be positive sentiment (Tottenham Hotspur being the only exception at just 28%). Following this ESL announcement, however, only Manchester United were able to maintain higher positive than negative sentiment.

Emotional analysis of conversation around Liverpool, who have the highest negative sentiment of any of the clubs involved after the announcement, shows a 27pt jump in social posts expressing anger/disgust to 69% following the announcement. This was in part due to Liverpool becoming a focal point for European Super League discussion yesterday in the broadcasting of their Premier League match against Leeds United.

There were falls in both sadness, which dropped from 12% to 5.1%, and surprise, which dropped from 1.7% to 0.6%, all of which were absorbed into anger/disgust, suggesting that fans felt very strong opposition to the creation of the new league.

Amongst the larger, broader shift towards anger/disgust was a small uptick in anticipation sentiment from 4.8% to 5.7%, perhaps due to the build up to the-then forthcoming Leeds vs Liverpool match, or possibly an indication that a subset of fans may feel excitement at the European Super League proposal.

Signal Topics, which analyses the themes around which conversations online are happening, show that money (anything about pay, tax etc.) became the most talked about topic in relation to Liverpool. It saw growth of 1,240% after the announcement, occupying 6.7% of all conversation around the current Premier League champions.

A snap YouGov Poll on 19 April found that 79% of football fans oppose the creation of the European Super League, 51% of which also believe that the clubs involved should be expelled from their domestic leagues.

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