Phones have already changed the game
The only uncertainty is what consequence this change will have and how teams in England, and other big ones across Europe, will react. There was a time when, in England, when a fan headed to the bar or restaurant after watching the game would be asked how the game was, who had scored and how the team had played? The people in the stadium were the only ones who had this privileged information. Now this is no longer the case. Those who are left behind and are interested may not know too much about the ebb and flow of the game, the tactical ins and outs. Someone watching in Singapore knows more about what is happening than someone inside Old Trafford or Anfield.
Southeast Asia is the region that has the longest connection to English football and it is where the passion burns brightest. In normal times, people in England can watch perhaps four or five live games every round. In most Southeast Asian nations you can watch all ten. There, in the cafes of Kuala Lumpur, the bars of Singapore and the restaurants of Hanoi, people gather to watch on big screen televisions but things can change.
What will happen in the future in Asia?
Moving away from passive fans
Smartphones mean that fans can engage with their teams at all times and can constantly consume content. Smartphones have a big effect. Even in poor countries, the percentage of mobile devices is high.
They can analyse, swap opinions and criticise the coaches in real time. It wasn’t that long ago that the only place to do this was at the stadium itself but now, millions of fans, who are located thousands of miles away can have their say just as clearly and loudly as the vast majority of supporters.
Studies in the United States show that the use of smartphones and other mobile devices change the way they engage with teams and players on many levels.
The increased access means that fans can consume content in real time, swap videos and clips.
For decades, fans have been supposed to just sit in the stadium or at home and watch their team. Cheering and chanting is fine, even calling the local radio station to complain and vent is OK. The situation is changing now. The era of the passive fan is over.
Clips not games
Then there is a change in how people watch sports. A survey in 2018 found that in England people have a concentration span of just 14 minutes. At the moment, many in Asia still watch english games on terrestrial television with analysis provided by pundits coming from England but more and more, games are consumed on social media.