By Jack Cousin
Two youtubers, Kevin Chapman and Benn Carr are pioneering the game of Football Manager on on the social media platform. Both players make videos on their respective careers in the game which is a concept that has grown in the last year.
Kevin Chapman started uploading Football Manager content in 2015. He said of his early days as a creator: “I don’t actually remember how many views I was getting early on. Maybe a couple of hundred each video? I didn’t have to start from zero like most people do because I’d been hosting a gaming podcast for the previous 4-5 years so had a decent size audience that came across to YouTube with me.”
Over the next two years Chapman continued to upload Football Manager content regularly. He eventually decided in 2017 to leave his job as a teacher to focus on Youtube full-time despite at the time earning just £300 a month from the platform.
About this time last year Chapman was sitting on approximately 10,000 subscribers to his channel Lollujo. That channel has grown impressively and today has over 27,000.
Youtube has had a romance with gaming content since its creation in 2005. Creators like Olajide Olatunji (KSIOlajidebt) and Daniel Middleton (DanTDM) have been hugely successful by playing FIFA and Minecraft respectively and have gone on to bigger and better things.
FIFA and Mincraft though are visually compelling and therefore exciting to watch. Over the past year or so there has been a growth in interest and volume of gaming content of a rather different kind.
Football Manager is a complex game with busy screens and lots of information making it naturally a much less visually compelling game. However, this hasn’t put people off tuning in to solely Football Manager based creators.
Chapman said: “There seems to be a view in the FM community that there’s an upper limit on where a Football Manager channel can get to, but I’m not sure I agree with that. All the fastest growing creators have only been on the platform 2-3 years, we’re all still growing, and our rates of growth are increasing all the time. I think within 2 years we’re see a small group of FM creators breaking through the 100,000-subscriber mark, and I hope I’ll be in that group.”
Chapman’s channel grew impressively during the launch of the 2018 version of the game. Using Twitter, Chapman asked two non-league teams, Alfreton Town and Nuneaton Town, why he should choose them to manage on the game and the response was huge.
— Nuneaton Borough F.C. (@NuneatonBoroFC) October 18, 2017
Boss backs Chapman for FM18 hotseat:
— Alfreton Town FC (at 🏠) (@AlfretonTownFC) October 18, 2017
On the interaction with the clubs Chapman said: “It was insane, but lots of fun. I certainly didn’t expect to have two real life football clubs fighting over me to manage them in game. It’s very cool to see that it seems to have taken off as a concept since then too, with loads more football clubs and creators finding ways to work together. It’s got to be a good thing for everyone involved.”
The Football Manager youtuber with the most subscribers, over 55,000, is Dr Benjy. Ben Carr started playing Football Manager games on Youtube in August 2014. He had already built up a following of about 1000 people due to previous Twitch streaming.
Ben’s videos are unlike anyone else’s in the community. A lot of his videos feature creative introductions with characters he has developed over time. Ben said: “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. People hadn’t seen Football Manager done in that way before, and I always knew I’d have to work it in slowly, so people could get behind it. I do think it helps me to stand out in a big way, that and the style in which I edit the gameplay, not many people are as ‘sharp’ when it comes to cutting up what they’re saying, dead air is something I massive try and avoid as that’s the time in which people can switch off.”
Ben has seen his channel growth massively in the last year or so with approximately 20,000 more subscribers. Like Kevin, he doesn’t see why creators like themselves can’t break the 100,000 subscribers’ barrier.
He said: “When I started people said 25,000 was impossible for FM, then 40, then 50,000 so as I mentioned before 100,000 is the target now and then who knows. There’s 7 billion people in the world, if I can get them all playing Football Manager then I’m on to a winner! Seriously though, they sell over a million copies a year, so right now I’m tapping into about five per cent of that, I think with the help of the game it can certainly increase to 10/15 per cent.”
With the games’ developers, Sports Interactive, now involved and acknowledging Youtubers, much like EA have done with FIFA Creators, Football Manager has never been more popular. A relatively mundane game has been brought to life and is excelling on a platform, that a few years ago, people wouldn’t have thought possible.