Brain scans reveal if soccer fans really believe in their teams

BT Sport streaming service campaign put pundits and influencers to the test in film from Saatchi & Saatchi

Published On
Aug 05, 2022

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As the U.K. gears up for the start of a new Premier League soccer season on Aug.6, sports streaming service BT Sport is hoping to grab fans' attention with a new campaign in which it gives people brain scans in order to find out whether their belief in their teams is genuine.

The campaign aims to find out if fans really think their teams will win this year—or if they're just lying to themselves. In the film, created by Saatchi & Saatchi and directed by A Common Future via Unit 9, BT Sport presenters and influencers including Lynsey Hipgrave, David Alorka and Rory Jennings undergo brain MRIs.

The results are analyzed by scientists to see just how strongly they believe what they're saying, depending on signals to different parts of the brain representing positive or negative emotions. (The results are a mixed bag, shocking some of the more passionate fans.) The film ends with the line: "Believe it? Now see if on BT Sport."

BT Sport also commissioned a survey of Premier League fans that revealed that while some are confident in their predictions, the majority lack the courage of their convictions when it comes to forecasting the coming season. 

“When it comes to the start of the season, football fans will believe anything’s possible," explained William John, creative director. "There’s boasting, bragging and debating on how it will all play out. We wanted to put those beliefs to the test, to see if fans genuinely believe in their teams or if it’s all bluster.”

The campaign is airing on social channels, online and on digital out-of-home and audio. It "is designed to turn the heads of data lovers and tug the heartstrings of team ultras," added Pete Jeavons, director of marketing communications at BT’s consumer division. "It creates a connected campaign, born of our scientific test, from social all the way through to digital out-of-home which is set to fire up debate as we near the big kick-off.”