The Kings League: A football game-changer that is here to stay
The dream of playing in a professional football league is its great value and the idea that roots the concept of the Kings League. The championship has landed in its first edition with several sponsors, advertising campaigns and also controversies in between. With a final that hung the sold-out sign at the Camp Nou Stadium a few days ago, the Kings League has competed on an equal footing with the broadcast of European professional football leagues, including the Spanish league.
With peaks of over a million viewers, the phenomenon of the Kings League deserves to be analyzed in perspective. Let’s review the clues to its success.
Sport vs. entertainment
The dispute has been present during the 3 months of competition, and it seems that it will continue alive between the detractors of the Kings League and its non-football features, and the supporters who have welcomed a new format that has shaken up some dogmas of traditional sports.
In favor of those who support this new sports entertainment content is the stance of professional footballers that have embraced the competition. Some ex-pro soccer players have supported the Kings League in various ways: by offering themselves to play in the tournament, or by giving visibility to the tournament.
The change of the status quo: audience & channels
One of the key factors for the success of the Kings League is undoubtedly the channel through which the competition airs every Sunday: Twitch. The social media platform dethrones television among young generations, in an accessible and free streaming format. This fact is very relevant if we bear in mind that the Kings League’s organization has scheduled their matches against one of the most traditional sports broadcasting days, on a Sunday.
Its condensed and dynamic sports programming has led the Kings League to reach peaks of almost one million viewers at some moments of the competition, with an average audience of half a million on Sundays. The event goes beyond the length of the actual matches, with daily content on social media and streaming. For instance the Kings League outnumbers all the major European leagues on Tik Tok. The tournament definitely keeps the audience connected to everything that happens around it.
The gamification factor
The concept of ‘secret weapons’ was the first surprise brought by the Kings League since its creation in the context of a gamification strategy. The weapons that teams have had at their disposal consisted of envelopes, similar to the ones used in the videogame FIFA Ultimate Team, or a board game. Tricks or bonuses for the teams, such as relegating a player or the chance to score a goal with double value during a time period, are actions that have helped the Kings League’s show succeed.
In addition, star signings during the season have been a great incentive to keep the audience engaged. Moreover, famous streamers acting as club presidents (Ibai Llanos, TheGrefg, DjMariio) have brought a large number of gaming fans into the Kings League as spectators.
One of the keys that has driven the Kings League success has been the possibility it has offered to fans of taking part in some of the teams’ decisions, such as club signings or rules during the competition. Sponsors, such as Cupra, have even joined this trend by deciding their next activations through surveys aimed at supporters. The fact of giving voice to the fans has generated interaction, placing them at the center of the competition.
The icing on the cake to bring fans even closer to the format of the tournament has been the Final Four event hosted at the Camp Nou, where more than 80,000 spectators witnessed the victory of the team ‘El Barrio’ on a historic Sunday.
Double screen effect
The Kings League has taken into account the possibility that its viewers may be playing a videogame on another screen, checking their social networks, or even watching a traditional soccer match, while consuming its content. This way of analyzing the supporters’ behaviors has also been a factor to consider when planning the organization and the broadcast of the competition. With highlights and key moments during the matches, the tournament catches the attention of a viewer who follows multiple content on different screens.
The championship could attract (or not) thousands of viewers from traditional football or major sports broadcasts, but it acknowledges the type of audience it faces on a game day: a legion of youngsters thirsty for interactive, multi-channel and short-form content.
The arrival of the Queens League
Thanks to the Kings League success, the promoters have already announced the launch of a female championship with similar characteristics to the household name: the Queens League. The teams will be led by top women influencers like Paula Gonu or tha argentinian journalist Morena Beltrán. With the rise of women’s football in recent years and the positive response of the audience to formats starred by women the Kings League saw a new opportunity for growth.
Times have changed, and the way we consume entertainment and sports has shifted to other patterns, particularly among young generations. It will be necessary to stay tuned to discover the new features the second edition brings to avoid falling into monotony and becoming obsolete.
Image resource: Kings League