Robbie “AFTV” Lyle.
One man’s fan-led football revolution is disrupting the status quo.
Robbie Lyle started AFTV almost seven years ago. It was a simple idea, he approached ordinary fans as they emptied out of the stadium to get their authentic opinions on his beloved club Arsenal. He has never looked back. In fact, the story of one Google exec’s comment has become apocryphal, “It will never work. Ten thousand subs max” they told him. Well, Robbie Lyle has proved the Premier League has a new powerhouse, with 1.2 million YouTube subscribers and his collective social following garnering 450 million views in the past year, and growing exponentially.
But the true scale of this fan media revolution has yet to be felt by the Big League. It’s coming though, you just have to follow the numbers. To paint the picture most effectively – look at this screenshot from just over a month ago, where a video, with production value of a few hundred quid, is trending above the official game highlights:
It’s not rocket science when you realise that the 90min of game time costs an average of £10M pounds per game and Robbie’s opinion led clips are beating them with an ROI literally 28000 times less. So while the media giants have scrambled to spend billions on the rights packages to control the most valuable sporting genre on the planet, there seems to be a glaring hole in their calculations. The football conversation is where the fan engagement really lies, and that happens before, during and after the whistle blows. Whoever controls the football conversation, has the eyes, ears and hearts of the fans. And this is where Robbie and his band of merry men (and women) on AFTV are the real champions.
Monetising this audience is only starting to happen now, with AFTV’s mandate of always delivering value to the fans creating fewer opportunities to turn views into hard cash. That too is changing. With only a handful of the biggest global brands able to afford even a look-in at the top sponsorship packages; the landscape for branding and sponsorship world is ripe for disruption.
Of course, there is a load of negative media he has weathered, foremost that his channel has capitalised on negative news around the club. Well, a matter of weeks later, Arsenal had won, and Robbie and Troopz waxed lyrical on their club’s new manager. They trended at #3. So, for those of you who think Robbie is a flash in the proverbial football pan – take a listen to his take-down of the “dinosaurs” of Jim White and Simon Jordan. The revolution has started, and this man is taking no prisoners.
A time traveller struggling to stay in the present. Working in cross-platform content, I am passionate about the convergence of TV, gaming and online media to create immersive worlds to entertain, engage, and above all, leave the world in a better place I found it.