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From very little live football on television in years past to the boom of Sky Sports and the evolution of the internet over the last two decades, it is fair to say that there has never been as much football content available as there is today.
There is now a distinction made in some ways between those who consume their football solely via live coverage and online, compared to the regular match-going supporters who spend their hard-earned money following their team.
YouTube is central to this, with the video-sharing platform providing a powerful medium and an expansive reach for content creators to connect with viewers and subscribers.
There is an abundance of football content available on YouTube. From basic videos of fans sharing their passion for the game, to professional productions and live broadcasts of games and leagues here in the UK and all around the world. So here are the…
Best football YouTube channels
The Sky brand is synonymous in the UK for its coverage of the Premier League. Sky is the main broadcast partner of England's flagship football competition and has been for more than 30 years. However, there is a lot more to their coverage given that they also hold the rights for the Football League, EFL Cup, Women's Super League, Scottish Premiership and German football.
In previous years, Sky hosted La Liga as well as MLS but losing those rights has seen Sky's football coverage diversify, with much of it being available online.
Their offerings on YouTube include dedicated Premier League coverage including highlights, mini-documentaries and analysis. Beyond that, there is EFL and SPFL coverage as well as live action from the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2. All of this is offered across different brands, ‘Sky Sports Premier League' and ‘Sky Sports Football'.
The Copa brand has established itself as an authoritative and reliable channel when it comes to football and fan culture in different locations. They do this by capturing a narrative and storytelling with authenticity, respect and passion.
Copa 90 isn't about what is popular or trendy, its basis is telling the stories of what football means to the people who matter most, the supporters. They have covered derbies across the world, their most famous documentary telling the huge story of the Copa Libertadores final between Boca Juniors and River Plate.
Their heart-warming ‘once in a lifetime' series followed the likes of Trabzonspor, Freiburg and Real Betis in their respective quests for domestic silverware, battling amongst the big boys and perennial winners. These are underdog stories, not necessarily with a happy ending in terms of winning but the glory remains in some ways.
The Copa90 channel is highly recommended.
This channel is produced and hosted by Ellis Platten, a Leeds fan from Norfolk who has amassed 334,000 subscribers since he began his venture in 2014. Away Days tells the story of matchday experiences near and far, as well as the search of vintage football shirts and some other quirky football stories.
There is an element of controversy with these types of ‘vloggers' who aren't universally popular at football grounds as they are talking into phones and cameras, obviously filming themselves instead of being there to support the team. There is obviously an audience for this type of content given how popular they are on YouTube and again it plays into that distinction of how people, especially youngsters, want to consume their football in different ways.
Platten has a self-deprecating style, he doesn't take himself and the channel too seriously but he has a grounded approach, often avoiding the sensationalism and over-the-top manner that some YouTubers prefer.
This channel from Sam North has similar elements to Away Days, but in more of a documentary style. North focuses on Scottish Football, where he is based, despite being an Englishman. He has also featured content and stories about the game in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, attempting to shine a light on lesser-known clubs down the football pyramid. He has also ventured abroad to some far-flung places to report on their football landscape, such as Mexico, Singapore and Gibraltar.
Podcasts, fan media and club content on football YouTube
Anyone familiar with YouTube will have at least heard of one type of podcast that is available on the platform.
These range from the likes of Gary Neville's Overlap to Football Daily from BBC Sounds and many others which are professional productions with significant sponsorship money behind them.
These would be considered as mainstream but there is a crossover with some fan media content due to their sheer number of subscribers and revenue involved. Fan media can be rudimentary as well, with the genre developing from football supporters wanting a product that more accurately reflected their perspective, views and what they were talking about.
Fans of different clubs have developed various successful content models which work for their respective fan bases, whilst some go for a sensationalist approach to bring in ‘rage-clicks' and often, fans of opposing clubs come to have a look and a chuckle at what is unfolding.
An often-overlooked source of football content is the official channels of football clubs, from the elite down through the leagues.
Premier League clubs with significant resources can afford to dedicate a lot of personnel and funding to their content which will have bespoke programmes as well as match highlights and different packages based around a matchday. This model will be replicated to a lesser extent for many clubs in different leagues whilst there will be some quirky and innovative content the further down the leagues you go, particularly in England with the likes of Hashtag FC and Bunch of Amateurs.
All of the above shows the variation and depth of football content that is available on YouTube, in addition to the traditional broadcasters on television.
TV no longer has a monopoly on football coverage and rights, like in previous years, with Amazon already bringing streaming services to the Premier League in a situation that is very likely to evolve further soon.