Football and Social Action

Yesterday hosted a niche, if not understated, event in YouTube and social action history. Sidemen FC faced off the YouTube Allstars at Southampton’s St. Mary’s Stadium in the biggest charity football match in YouTube’s eleven-year run. There were around 15,000 spectators at the stadium, whilst a further 400,000 watched the YouTube hosted live stream. The video of the match has received over 4 million views in the last 24 hours. In addition, the event can be considered a fundraising success, as according to the match commentary, over £100,000 was raised for Special Effect and the Saints Foundation.

If you are not a fan of either football, or regular viewer of YouTube content, this event may not seem all that important. Nonetheless, the match’s success has notable implications for social action. The target demographic for most of the YouTubers on both teams is young people, with many in the crowd being younger than college age. To attract and engage so many of the younger generation with a charity event is an achievement in itself.

What is most important, though, is the example this event has given to many in the younger generations. The YouTubers playing the match have acted as role models for voluntary action by rolling up their own sleeves and taking on a challenge for a wider cause. By running an exciting spectacle of a fundraiser (the final score was 7-2 to Sidemen FC so it was pretty fun to watch!), the organisers have demonstrated to their audience that social action can be fun.

If we want our young people to be community minded, to consistently ask themselves ‘how can I contribute to the welfare of my community?’, then we need to start teaching them early on the methods and benefits of social action. Young people are an amazing resource of energy, enthusiasm and innovation. What better direction to aim those qualities at than at the betterment of the community and the lives of those in need?  I say a huge well done to anyone who can demonstrate to young people the importance of volunteering and fundraising for charity.

If you’d like to watch the match, which was pretty spectacular, then you can do so here.

Photo credit: YouTube Creators tweet, available here.