During the FA Cup Quarter Final Activation Event at Wigan Athletic FC, Wigan, UK on the 14th March 2018. Photo: Paul Currie for FA

 This weekend sees Wigan Athletic continue their cup run, when they meet Southampton in a highly anticipated Emirates FA Cup Quarter Final clash. Following the League One club’s shock defeat of Manchester City in the Fifth Round, The FA has commissioned research looking into the increased interest in the club and local community.

Analysis of social media discussion, reveals the famous Fifth Round victory sparked world-wide interest in the Latics’ progression in the competition:

  • Mentions of ‘Wigan Athletic FA Cup’ surged by 645%
  • Mentions relating to Wigan and the competition increased worldwide with notable spikes in Iraq (900% increase), Lebanon (772% increase) and Indonesia (388% increase)
  • Support for the club and competition was received as far afield as Antarctica and the Republic of the Union of Myanmar

Insights from The FA also found that Will Grigg, who has scored seven goals in seven Emirates FA Cup matches including his winning goal against Manchester City was the focus of much fanfare:

  • A 10,191% increase in mentions of his name on social media
  • Gala’s ‘Freed from Desire’, the hit song that inspired the popular ‘Will Grigg’s on Fire’ chant saw a remarkable 600% surge [data sourced by Spotify]
  • Views on YouTube of the official ‘Will Grigg’s On Fire’ video saw a 1940% increase [data sourced by YouTube]

While the club prepares for their knock-out clash, the local community is also relishing the positive impact created ahead of the Quarter Finals. Bakery The Rolling Pin has created a local delicacy, the ‘Will Grigg’ FA Cup pie, hot and fiery in flavour and filled with chicken, chorizo and onion with the iconic Emirates FA Cup trophy on its crust.

As well as the huge increase in interest and awareness, the club has earned almost £745,395 from seven games in this year’s competition. They could make an additional £360,000 in revenue from The FA’s prize money if they win Sunday’s tie, and are guaranteed £283,000 in broadcast and commercial fees regardless of the result on the pitch.


Percentage increases were found using world-leading social intelligence tool Brandwatch, by comparing the social discussion for the 17 days before and after the fifth-round tie. Geolocation data was then used to detect where the social discussions were taking place.

Research conducted by streaming service Spotify showed Gala’s “Freed from Desire” peaked in Wigan on 23 February and saw a 600% increase in streams compared to the same day the previous week (16th Feb).

Percentage increase of YouTube views was found by comparing views of the ‘Will Grigg On Fire Official Song’ video on the day of the Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round match (Feb 19th), with the day before.