So there we have it. A season of underdogs culminates with the unfancied Portuguese stealing the show without their talisman. That is not to say he didn’t dominate the conversation elsewhere (with a little help from a moth).

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With over 40% of people using second devices while watching Euro 2016, the last Livewire Euros Insider gives a snapshot of the role of social and digital media during the tournament.

The Livewire Euros Insider is brought to you by Livewire, Ignite Market Research and Radical – all members of Core Media Group. Make sure to follow us at @LivewireIRL for all the best insights from #LivewireEurosInsider

The role of social and digital

Google search trends paint an interesting picture as to the interest of fans over the course of the tournament. For example, while Euro 2016 commenced amid fears of a possible terror attack, the focus of Irish fans turned to traveling to France immediately after Ireland’s win against Italy.

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In the end, 84% of us tuned in to watch Euro 2016 on television at some stage over the past month. While TV remains king for live match viewing, the role of social and digital media for further fan engagement is clear. A number of sponsors supplemented television advertising with strong social and digital media content.

43% of people who watched some of Euro 2016 used a second device to look at content or follow the tournament. Laptops / computers (23%) and smart phones (21%) were the most used devices.

66% of people spent their time on Facebook following matches or looking up content related to the tournament while 28% used WhatsApp and 24% Twitter. Not surprisingly the majority of Irish sponsors turned to social media to capitalise on this trend, with Facebook proving the preferred medium.

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While ‘casual fans’ make up the clear majority of those who watched the tournament, 44% of people said they watched only a few matches, it is the 21% ‘die hards’ who watched, or tried to watch, every game that proved important consumers for most sponsors and advertisers.

Die hard fans spent 39% more on alcohol, almost 12% more on football memorabilia and 24% more on gambling over the course of Euro 2016 compared to everyone else who watched the tournament.

Interestingly, second screening is a favoured behaviour of die hard fans, with almost 60% using a device while watching matches, 39% choosing to do so on computers / lap tops.

With statistics such as this, it is clear that opportunities existed for sponsors and advertisers with social and digital presence. With regards to die hard fans, brands that capitalised on match moments had most to gain.

Planning for the unexpected is a much used cliché in social media marketing. But being ready in advance for these moments, is often the key to success. A couple of brands stood out with nimble and timely content on social media. Team and tournament sponsor

Carlsberg received significant engagement for its reaction to Ireland’s defeat to France, becoming one of Ireland’s most tweeted handles in the process.

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The use of a famous and endearing phrase while simultaneously touching the emotions of the Irish fans is a good example of timely and relevant content.

In fact, Carlsberg made good use of social media throughout the tournament, accounting for 55% of the chatter on Twitter by Irish team sponsors.

Much of the sponsor’s content focused on its official Man of the Match activation which, over the course of the Euros, generated 70k sponsor mentions with an average of 4,776 per match (internationally).

Our research shows that 22% of people aware of the sponsorship are more likely to purchase Carlsberg as a result of its sponsorship of the Irish team.

Three’s long-term association with the team gave it the legitimacy to tap into the emotion and heritage associated with Irish teams and big tournaments. The brand did this with an emotive TV and outdoor campaign backed, throughout the tournament, by exclusive interviews with Irish football stars reminiscing on key moments in Irish football history. These videos have to date clocked up close to 1m views.

At the same time Three made sure to have fun with fans with a series of social and digital activations. For example the brand created a website to give fans inventive excuses for taking the day off work following emotionally draining Ireland matches.


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By the close of the tournament, and with the Republic of Ireland team long gone, 16% of people aware of its sponsorship stated they were more likely to purchase Three as a result of its sponsorship.

Lifestyle sports, not a team or tournament sponsor, had significant presence throughout the tournament, ensuring it was well placed to benefit from the surge in spending on team memorabilia.

The brand chose to drive its presence across outdoor advertising and on social media; its #FootbALLorNOTHING hash-tag was the most used in Ireland over the course of the tournament pipping Three’s #MakeHistory to first place.

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(Brand Hashtags Share of Voice 01/06/16-10/07/16 Source: Radical)

The Ambush

Every major sporting event features some degree of ambush marketing. While ambush tactics can create short-term gains, they have less impact on longer term objectives such as enhancing brand image or building affinity. Sponsorship is a much more potent tool for achieving these objectives. In the UK Iceland (foods) certainly made hay while the sun shined.

Careful not to associate directly with Euro 2016 or with either team, the brand created plenty of fun and engaging content over the course of the tournament generating an immense amount of good will in the process.

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While not doing much to build brand affinity with its English customers, this content is an example of a non-sponsor cashing in (ambushing) on a big tournament moment. Not always easy to do. The combination of being nimble and smart usually involves planning for the unexpected.


It took a well organised team, ready to take full advantage when opportunities arose, to win Euro 2016. The same can be said for the best sponsors and advertisers on social and digital media. In particular Livewire Euros Insider highlights the importance of planning for the unexpected with great content as important for sponsors in the face of savvy ambush tactics.

While sponsors and advertisers can benefit from exposure to large audiences during major sports tournaments, it is die hard fans who are most likely to look for deeper forms of engagement across social and digital media. In sum, TV continues to be the king medium for consuming live sport but sponsors and advertisers must utilise social and digital media to capture the hearts and minds of fans.

Stray tuned next week for our complete overview of the tournament!

Photo Credit: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images