With the excitement of the first Ireland match behind us, we reflect on the first few days of Euro 2016 with Livewire Euros Insider. Each week we will be giving you insights into the tournament with analysis in areas including fan behaviour, TV ratings, social and digital media, as well as sponsorship activation. Make sure to follow us at @LivewireIRL for all the best insights from #EurosInsider.

The Livewire Euros Insider is brought to you by Livewire, Ignite Research and Radical – all members of Core Media Group.

TV Impact

1.08 million people tuned in to RTÉ to watch Rep. of Ireland vs Sweden on Monday evening. While this is very high, it is below the 1.235m that watched Ireland’s first game of Euro 2012. TV3 scored its largest audience with England’s opening match; 460,000 tuned in to watch Rooney et al. Below is a selection of live matches broadcast by RTE (blue) and TV3 (pink) since the tournament started:

TV Data graph

Despite not having Rep. of Ireland matches, TV3’s coverage features heavy weights such as England and Germany. Clearly there is national appeal to these big teams, both pulling strong viewership.

Interestingly, Livewire’s pre-tournament research highlighted that more people would be supporting Northern Ireland (21%) as a second team than England (14%). However TV viewing figures do not reflect this support, although the England game was at a more favourable time of 8pm. It is clear that the England team remains a big audience driver, most likely as a result of the strong connection between Irish football fans and English club football and its associated stars. It is also possible that the quality of football on display during the NI game, had an impact in keeping viewers interested.

With the obvious exception of Rep. of Ireland matches, it appears that advertisers and sponsors have access to similar audiences on both TV3 and RTÉ. However, regardless of the success of the Rep. of Ireland in the group stages, RTÉ also has the advantage of first choice on matches in the knock-out stages and will broadcast a highlights programme on each night of the tournament. In addition RTÉ will broadcast an additional two Round of 16 games and both semi-finals.

The opening match, which saw hosts France win against a tough Romanian side, drew almost 600,000 viewers which is almost double the 320,000 viewership that tuned in to watch the opening match of Euro 2012 between Poland v Greece.

Sponsorship Sting Performance

UEFA dictates that the sponsorship of live match coverage is restricted to Euro 2016 tournament sponsors only. Therefore both TV3 and RTÉ did not have the rights to sell sponsorship stings. To date, 2,116,000 people have seen at least one sponsor sting once on RTÉ compared with 1,222,000 people on TV3 over the course of the tournament so far.

However, RTÉ and TV3 have been able to ink deals with sponsors for programming beyond match coverage. Indeed, RTÉ confirmed Hyundai (also a tournament sponsor) as sponsor its Euro 2016 coverage across all platforms. At the same time TV3 struck a deal with Carlsberg (also a tournament and Rep. of Ireland sponsor) for its Extra Time programme. The first episode of which had an average viewership of over 38,000 people. The show, hosted by Joe Molloy (Newstalk’s ‘Off The Ball’) and Kirsteen O’ Sullivan will air every Thursday at 10pm for the duration of the tournament.

Social impact

As both a Euro 2016 tournament sponsor and Republic of Ireland team sponsor, Carlsberg faced the challenge of achieving cut-through as a sponsor both internationally and in Ireland, ensuring content was relevant and specific to both.

On an international level, the brand has activated heavily on social media running an interactive ‘Guess the Man of the Match’ competition on Twitter for each match. The competition encourages fans to make predictions in the hope of winning tickets to the Euro 2016 Final. Wes Hoolahan took home the title following his performance against Sweden, much to the delight of Irish fans. This has translated into the brand essentially ‘winning’ on Twitter in Ireland with 85% share of voice.

Carslberg wes hoolahan

 It will be interesting to see if Carlsberg’s activations will claw back some initial ground lost to its rival Heineken. Our research put Heineken (alongside Adidas) as the most recalled tournament ‘sponsor’ despite not having an official association with Euro 2016; 62% of people listed the brand is a sponsor of Euro 2016.

Star appeal

Hoolahan, Brady and Clarke commanded most of the Irish attention on Twitter over the course of the week. Hoolahan’s 31% SOV was a result of his goal against Sweden. There were also 1.7k retweets of Gary Lineker’s tweet comparing ‘Hoolahan’s strikes’ to ‘hooligan strikes.’

Gary lineker tweet

Discussions around Brady were a result of his ‘classy’ comments concerning Wes Hoolahan’s cap count being a ‘shame to Irish football’. Unfortunately for Clarke, his mentions were all down to his own goal score for Sweden. Despite this, many empathised with the player.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic commanded 47% of Twitter chatter on the day of the Rep. of Ireland v Sweden game. Most of the comments mentioned the player’s ‘God’ like abilities as well as conflicting opinions on his performance in Monday’s match.

International Players SOV:

Int. players pie chart

Source: Radical social listening

Looking at the conversation trends during the Ireland match, it is clear that brands with savvy reactive strategies have potential to capitalise on big game moments. Wes Hoolahan’s goal proving by far the biggest talking point of the 90 minutes.

Minute by minute player conversation:

Min by min player conversation

Source: Radical social listening


Image credit: Squawka.com