This is an entry-level conversion tactic. If we had to guess, about 1-in-5 American soccer fans fell in love with the game because of an encounter with FIFA. Like it’s real-life imitator, FIFA is a free-flowing game of blue balls, heartache, and rambunctious celebrations. It takes a hot second for a newbie to figure out how goals are scored (Pro tip: If you hit L1 before a pass, the passer will make a forward run), but the learning curve isn’t steep.
You know how Madden liked to boast how its gamers are smarter fans? Same. FIFA gamers, whether they liked soccer or not before picking up the sticks, can’t turn the game off without checking the EPL or La Liga table after. A virtual obsession folds into a way of life. Never mind that the soccer hater in your life will become engrossed in the game’s inner-trappings. Collecting FIFA Ultimate Team’s digital cards and packs sounds nerdy, but for any person who grew up with Pokémon or Magic: The Gathering in their lives, this soccer game’s addictive equivalent is everything. That obsession is just going to happen, because nothing is better than opening a pack of cards and then playing with the players on those cards in a video game. The first season of Yu-Gi-Oh! proved that.
It’s the evolution from gamer to supporter that’s truly special. The way an isolated FIFA fan will flow into becoming a hardcore Real Madrid/Arsenal/Chelsea/Bayern Munich fan is natural, and relatively painless. It’s quite beautiful really, like a Metapod leveling up to a Butterfree. As a former “soccer is boring, I like baseball” type of sports fan, I can attest to FIFA’s transformative IRL powers. I’m not alone either. The likes of Snoop Dogg, A$AP Rocky, Drake, and J. Cole are well-known FIFA junkies, often playing endlessly to kill time while touring on the road. Since their early FIFA days, both Drake and J. Cole have visited stadiums such as Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge and Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium. All those rappers will tell you that you can’t play FIFA and walk away not thinking about soccer more and more.
This is, without a doubt, the first method to attempt when converting someone.