SPONSORSHIP MODELS OLD & NEW
This week, we saw both ends of the football sponsorship spectrum. Heineken chose to extended their 23 year relationship with UEFA by with their sponsorship of the UEFA Champions League for a further three years until 2021. The contract also includes the Uefa Super Cup from 2018 until 2020.
Although the Dutch beer brand have moved with the times, taking an increased focus on creating “engaging fan experiences that go beyond the 90 minutes of the match”, it is clear that they view this traditional model of tournament sponsorship as key to their efforts to grow global market share.
Also this week, we saw an example of the less traditional, but increasingly popular sponsorship model, aligning football and music. German Champions Bayern Munich announced an exclusive collaboration with Apple Music, the first partnership between the brand and a professional football club. The agreement will build on the existing tie with Apple-owned Beats by Dre, who will also continue as Bayern’s official sound partner. As part of the deal, Bayern will provide exclusive content such as match day playlists and videos that will be exclusively available on Apple Music. This move from Apple comes as competitors seek to expand their presence in the game with Deezer recently joining forces with both Barcelona and Manchester United, and Spotify partnerning with Borussia Monchengladbach.
The natural affinity between music and football means the marriage of the two, in sponsorship terms at least, has potential to be extremely successful. With clubs looking for more innovative and authentic ways to engage fans, this type of collaboration based on unique content allows rights holders to benefit from connecting players with supporters – a traditional principle but activated in a modern way!
MIDDLESBROUGH AND SPURS DIP INTO VR
Middlesbrough and Tottenham Hotspur are the latest clubs to join the virtual reality revolution as the respective Premier League clubs announced different uses of the technology this week. With Spurs in the process of building their new stadium, the club gave the chance for their players to see what the new ground will look like through VR headsets. Hugo Lloris and Christian Eriksen were among the players getting a view of all areas of the stadium including the lucrative Tunnel Club. The Tunnel Club is where Spurs fans will be able to watch the players walk out onto the pitch through one-way glass. These virtual reality tours of the stadium are already available for fans, so getting the players involved is a clever way of promoting experience and raising interest in the new development for fans and players alike.
Middlesbrough’s step into VR has seen them creating a new app which is available to purchase on the iOS App Store and on Google Play. The ‘Boro VR 360 Experience’ allows supporters to get the full player experience on a match day, including the changing rooms, joining the team in the tunnel and walking out onto the pitch with the first team.
Virtual reality's footprint in football is expanding rapidly as more clubs are looking to connect with fans using the latest technology. This idea by Middlesbrough is simple but effective and could be installed into the sport up and down the country to give fans a more immersive match day experience and a sense of what it is like to be a player at your club. VR is becoming more and more accessible and with clubs in the top flight of English football creating experiences like this, it shows that virtual reality is here to stay and it will be interesting to see how the technology is used next.
TWITTER AND SKY SPORTS PARTNER TO LIVE STREAM TRANSFER DEADLINE DAY
With the January transfer window in Europe closing this week, Twitter and Sky Sports teamed up to provide a live stream of the day’s action via the social platform for the first time. This was also Twitter’s first live streaming partnership with a European based broadcaster. The live steam took place between 12-1pm and 5-6pm (GMT) from the Sky Sports News HQ channel, allowing fans the chance to view the day’s transfers on the social media platform rather than their TV screens.
This partnership is a big step for broadcasting; even though the live stream was only available for two hours of the day, these media giants collaborating together for what is now, thanks to Sky Sports, one of the most dramatised days in the football calendar, could be an indication of the way live broadcasting is heading. With social media now being a standard part of people’s daily lives, it’s more ‘on the go’ style of receiving updates has had huge impact on the way fans consume football news with fans looking to mobile devices to get instant articles, rumours and updates on what is happening at their club. Social media has played an increasingly important part of Sky Sports' news offering over a number of years and its decision to stream its iconic yellow and black brand via Twitter seems a logical extension, however, it is still social supporting the main broadcast product. With consumer habits and technology changing at equal pace – as witnessed by declining Premier League TV audiences – how long before it is social driving the production and not the other way around?
FA TO INVEST £1.5MILLION INTO GRASSROOTS FOOTBALL
The Football Association are set to invest £1.5m into the Grow the Game scheme, a programme designed to increase participation at the lowest level. Delivered by the Football Foundation, Grow the Game awards grants to football clubs that wish to create new teams, with applications being encouraged in target areas such as women and girls, youngsters aged U14 and over and disabled teams.
During last year’s edition of the Global Convention, the topic of grassroots was discussed by the FA's Director of Participation and Development, Kelly Simmons MBE. Kelly shed light on the progress of the developing of the grassroots game, in particular the National Game Strategy and the £260m that was being invested over a 4 year period. With the money looking at improving the state of the grassroots game, the FA planned to tackle four main target areas – facilities, coaching, participation and developing the football workforce. The new £1.5m investment is just a scratch of the £260m being pumped into the four year grassroots plan, but will hopefully provide young people will more opportunities to get into the beautiful game.
WELSH FA ANNOUNCE EURO 2016 DOCUMENTARY FILM
The Welsh FA have announced that the remarkable achievements of their national team at the UEFA European Championships 2016, is being made into a documentary film. Titled ‘Don’t Take Me Home’, the film will be released in Wales on the 1st of March (which is also St David’s Day) this year, and across select locations in the UK on the 3rd of March. National Amusements, one of the Welsh FA partners of the documentary have released a statement about Don't Take Me Home which said: “There's an ancient Welsh saying, “Yma o Hyd” which translates as, “we're still here” – a defiantly apt statement from the smallest country in the history of the game getting to a major tournaments semi finals. 'Don't Take Me Home' tells the story of that journey, how Wales shocked the footballing world to its very foundations, beating tournament favourites Belgium to the reach the semi-finals – focusing on the players, managers and supporters.”
The film will no doubt stir memories of what was a golden summer for welsh football, tapping into a vein of fervent passion and pride that was cleverly harnessed throughout the build up and at the tournament itself by the “Together Stronger” campaign. Created by Designroom Sport in conjunction with the Welsh FA, the campaign gained real cut through the clever use of social media and evocative imagery, becoming a motto for players and marketing men alike. It is fitting then that this alliance of marketing and football continues as the Welsh FA uses the film to inspire next generation of Welsh football fans!
In other news
Tottenham have been at the centre of a marketing blunder on the London Underground this week, after passersby noticed an embarrassing spelling mistake on a poster for their new stadium...twice! Anyone spot it?
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