The most popular sport in the world is not only the source of recreation, it is also the source of millions of dollars in revenue. Marketing football appropriately has been a significant factor in making the sport a multi-billion dollar industry.
In every locality in the world, the term football arouses familiarity. Even the remotest corners are somewhat aware of the sport. It is one of the most common things on the planet.
Consequently, it is the source of a great deal of revenue. A huge number of profits are made each year through the sport, and the numbers only seem to be going up. With the popularity of the sport still on the rise, it is likely to expand even further in terms of size.
So, how do they do it?
Although football had gained a great deal of popularity towards the latter part of
the last century, it could not be possible without the right marketing. With every passing era, marketing in football has also evolved.
No other sporting event in the world captures the attention of fans and supporters as the FIFA World Cup. The event single-handedly attracts viewership from all over the globe. This means advertising opportunity for companies, hospitality for restaurants and hotels, licences and television rights for media giants and an overall boost to the economy. (Miller, 2010)
However, it is not only the World Cup that provides such an opportunity, domestic leagues across Europe are becoming bigger and bigger each year. This means that the activity taking place during mega tournaments can continue the same throughout the year.
The big European clubs thrive in their marketing strategies and cater to a massive storm of supporters. The sell everything. The fans of the clubs are given access to every aspect of the club and money is made in the process.
Clubs such as Manchester United and Real Madrid enjoy great loyalty across their fan following. These clubs have worked hard on developing an image that is both glamorous and distinct, something that their supporters are proud of.
In the recent years, European clubs have been targeting Asian countries. These clubs enjoy a great following across the continent and they are more than happy to cater to a bigger audience. The clubs are able to sell shirts, tickets, media rights, collector’s items, club merchandise and even shares to the Asian market. (Marketing China, 2016)
The Asian market is a lucrative destination for European clubs because of the density of population in the target companies. Every year, football clubs also arrange tours to countries such as China, Malaysia, Japan and Thailand, amongst others. This results in greater profits.
According to Marketing China, the clubs have a comprehensive approach towards marketing themselves. They have active social media pages with different languages, which are used to create buzz. They have separate sections in their website. They even have presence on Chinese application WeChat in order to cater specifically to their Chinese supporters. (Marketing China, 2016)
Social media has played a huge part in promoting these clubs in recent times. It appears that having a successful grasp social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are sufficient in ensuring that the followers stay in touch with their club.
Facebook and Twitter and have made it easier for football clubs to advertise themselves and become popular. Football clubs have dedicated teams that run these pages and provide the fans with the information that they require. These pages post videos, pictures, updates, news and announcements. These are shared amongst users, giving the clubs more accessibility to a greater array of supporters. (Football Marketing, 2012)
The impact of social media has been immense. So much so, that it has entirely reshaped the way an average football approaches the sport. Creating buzz around a topic has become increasingly easy and pages representing football clubs keep coming up with newsworthy topics, constantly.
Digital strategies of the best European football clubs in China – Marketing China, Year 2016
Case Study: Facebook Marketing in European Football | Football Marketing
Soccer Conquers the World, Year 2010