Author Topic: Commercialism In Football  (Read 3768 times)

Offline Kopite1971

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Commercialism In Football
« on: May 22, 2012, 06:54:47 AM »
I've posted this piece from the BBC, which is exclusively about Barcelona, in the Liverpool section, as it may prove to be a valuable debate starter as to what FSG are planning to do with Liverpool.  It shows how Barcelona are trying to tap into it's fanbase around the world and just how much money could be available both in successful years and at times when they have trophy free seasons like the one just ended.

Although it's about Barcelona, it's easy to see how Liverpool and FSG may well have it's own model to tap into this marketplace and may give an insight as to what Liverpool, and indeed football at the top level will be in years to come.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-18065300

Barcelona uses new media to sell its brand to fans
By Bill Wilson Business reporter, BBC News
 
They might have lost to Chelsea in the Champions League and surrendered their La Liga title to Real Madrid, but FC Barcelona remain one of the great football clubs in the world.

With its "more than a club" slogan, it also is a flagship for Catalonia, while at the same time being one of the globe's major sporting brands.

The club estimates it has 349 million fans or followers around the world, including 145 million in the fast-growing Asian market, and some 77 million in the US.

And although its Nou Camp stadium has the biggest capacity in Europe at 99,354, that still means only a small proportion of the worldwide fanbase can actually buy match tickets and get to games.

So the club is looking to use new media not only to inform those other millions, stretching from South East Asia to North America, but to attract overseas supporters to become FCB customers too.

The club is one of the most progressive in using new media and social media to reach those potential consumers.

'Expanding fan numbers'
 
"We have been looking at ways of expanding, and generating revenue," says Pasi Lankinen, Barcelona's business intelligence manager.
 
"We have expanded fan numbers in our country and in Europe.

"Now we are looking at gaining a global, profitable, fanbase."

As part of that, the club's website is now in six languages, and its Twitter feeds are in three.

Twitter and Facebook are a large part of Barcelona's new-media strategy, as are YouTube and the provision of phone apps, as well as looking to other sites such as QQ in China.

 The club recently launched on the latter and already has one million followers.

"New media does not build fans or make more fans, but it does open up a window to them," says Mr Lankinen, who was speaking at a Sport Business Group seminar entitled Sport and New Media.

"There are more opportunities for communicating and interacting.

"It allows fans to interact [among themselves and with FCB], on multiple devices, with access anywhere, any time.

"There is now the possibility of more variety of content, aided by the explosion of mobile."

And he says it all enables Barcelona to use low-cost, multiple-format ways to reach fans "with efficiency and flexibility".

'Eleven brand ambassadors'
 
Looking at the numbers, the club has more than nine million Twitter followers, and 31 million "likes" on Facebook.

Also, it regularly appears at the top of, or near the top, of polls to find the world's most popular club, but Mr Lankinen says that such plaudits mean nothing on their own.
 
"It is not about how many fans we have, it is what to do with them," he says.

"We are looking for value from fans. But it all starts with the sports performance, what happens on the field.

"The 11 guys are our brand marketers, they drive the attention to our club.

"When we do something special, win a title, win a special game, that opens a window of opportunity."

 He says that can then be used in two ways, to promote the club's values to fans or to monetise the Barca brand.

"Communicating values is more long-term, talking about what we are and making more loyal fans, so that when you stop winning then something stays and they don't move to the next team that is winning," says Mr Lankinen.

"But to monetise - that is where the challenge is. The short-term goal is to monetise the emotion felt for the club."

He says that many football clubs and other sports organisations make the mistake of looking to commercial organisations and big brands for a social media and website strategy, as they face different challenges.

Creating consumers
 
For a start, he says, football club social media budgets are nowhere near that of big brands.

"Commercial organisations have big budgets and purchasing clients, who they are trying to make into 'fans' of their products," says Mr Lankinen.

"But we are trying to do the reverse, we are trying to use the emotion of fans to create clients and consumers - and not just viewers - around the world."

As part of that commercial drive the club has "lowered the threshold of consumption" - or financial level at which fans make a purchase - over the past 18 months.

 Whereas before the club might look at getting fans to buy a replica shirt as their first purchase, now the first point of commercial contact can be for a Barca app costing as little as 75 cents.

"That then gives the chance to take fans to the next commercial consumption level," says Mr Lankinen.

He says the road to profitability is in driving their huge social media following towards Barcelona's own website and apps, (or to the websites of their sponsors), and then making a sale there.

"Social networks are the threshold to the world. But if we leverage too much with them we undertake to give some profits in the future.

"We want to move fans to buying our products, whether it is tickets or merchandising, buying both online and offline."

Commercial channels
 
The club, which is a multi-sporting one including a basketball team, has seven different apps, three of which are free.

"Some apps are more focused in terms of monetising, some of them are for other things.

"Certain apps are traffic generators and loyalty builders, and are free.

"In all of this, the end result would be to try and monetise one way or another."

On YouTube, another builder of brand loyalty and potential sales, the club's channel has 291,000 subscribers and total views of 97 million.

The channel, which includes things such as the live streaming of training, includes a link to the club ticket sales and also its online shop.

For Mr Lankinen, Barcelona is just at the beginning of the road in using new media in creating financial value for the club

"We are still working with it," he says.

"There are many challenges ahead and exciting times coming. We are keen to tap all of the opportunities."
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Online LiverBirdKop

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Re: Commercialism In Football
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2012, 07:02:35 AM »
Miles behind them on and off the pitch.

Offline Lucas DuoFlush

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Re: Commercialism In Football
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2012, 07:15:48 AM »
"The 11 guys are our brand marketers" is a horrible sentence.
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Offline Kovai Red

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Re: Commercialism In Football
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2012, 07:15:59 AM »
Thats a good business model actually. Recently, they have also opened an academy in India just like what Liverpool did. And I also believe we and almost all top clubs are following the same model. Because, these days Twitter and Facebook are the two most powerful media where most of the young generations spend time. It is very vital to attract them
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Offline 81a

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Re: Commercialism In Football
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2012, 07:23:08 AM »
I used to like football till I read that.


Offline 81a

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Re: Commercialism In Football
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2012, 07:27:06 AM »
"The 11 guys are our brand marketers" is a horrible sentence.

Oh come on. He's only trying to "monitorise people's emotions"

Offline Kovai Red

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Re: Commercialism In Football
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2012, 07:30:45 AM »
I used to like football till I read that.

But sadly, thats the way forward isn't it? Wages, transfer fees, and everything related to Football is now costly. Maybe that is because of the entry of rich owners who wanted to win at any cost. To be competent with them, even the big clubs with lesser funds started to match them. After that, they have to match the paid fee and agreed wages with the revenue they generate. For that stadium attendence and sellig shirt alone is not important. They have to find other ways to increase their income. If they fail to do so, they will run out of business (see us). There is nothing wrong in it unless they do something like a Malaysian did to the Blue Birds.
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Offline Manila Vanilla

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Re: Commercialism In Football
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2012, 07:34:48 AM »
"We are looking for value from fans".

"But to monetise - that is where the challenge is".

"...we are trying to use the emotion of fans to create clients and consumers"

"That then gives the chance to take fans to the next commercial consumption level"

The thing both clubs had in common was that they both instinctively did the right thing. Winning was a by-product of this.

Paying UNICEF, rather than accepting sponsorship money, made "Mês que un club" more than just a slogan. It's things like that which have made them so universally popular.

They'll have to rearrange the seats to read "Just another franchise"....

Offline 81a

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Re: Commercialism In Football
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2012, 07:51:08 AM »
Even his tittle reaks of bullshit -  Pasi Lankinen, "Barcelona's business intelligence manager".

Spain in it's worst recession in decades and they have the nerve to go public with this shite.
 

Offline cassper

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Re: Commercialism In Football
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2012, 08:00:16 AM »
77mil followers in the US????? Like every 4th US citizen is a follower of Barca? Have they gone completely mad? Even they cant believe that. I would go as far as to say that that's probably a total number of people who have a clue what soccer is.

Offline ziggyy

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Re: Commercialism In Football
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2012, 08:08:46 AM »
Oh please...

Money talks, short and simple. The smarter and better the commercial people are, the better quality of players we can waste our money on.

The players are all brand ambassadors, merchandising and now, consumption via an app. The fan base or factually, the money, is no longer tied to the area or country of the club but the international appeal of it.

Like it or not. Its here to stay.

Offline edeyj

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Re: Commercialism In Football
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2012, 08:12:37 AM »
One day they will disappear up their own arses!

Offline ziggyy

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Re: Commercialism In Football
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2012, 08:15:32 AM »
77mil followers in the US????? Like every 4th US citizen is a follower of Barca? Have they gone completely mad? Even they cant believe that. I would go as far as to say that that's probably a total number of people who have a clue what soccer is.

Even if we take 20% of that figure, assuming a .99 cent app, that'll buy them a brand new player.

Offline kermit^^

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Re: Commercialism In Football
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2012, 08:24:33 AM »
Even his tittle reaks of bullshit -  Pasi Lankinen, "Barcelona's business intelligence manager".

Spain in it's worst recession in decades and they have the nerve to go public with this shite.

Shh, don't let FSG see this or else we'll be expecting a new director role soon.

Offline helmboy_nige

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Re: Commercialism In Football
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2012, 09:01:53 AM »
You guys need to normalise your reaction to all this  ;)

Offline mactifosi

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Re: Commercialism In Football
« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2012, 09:16:33 AM »
Without the team and Messi, I suspect their figures would look slightly different, although they do appear a tad contrived also.

Still it is an avenue which we need to develop.

Offline The 92A

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Re: Commercialism In Football
« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2012, 09:36:56 AM »
Read the proviso in the OP and understand where you coming from, ie it's relevant to Liverpool but the majority of the OP is an article on Barca, so moving it over to Gen Football
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Re: Commercialism In Football
« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2012, 09:42:17 AM »
It's like 'Soylent Green - the prequel'.
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Offline peelyon

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Re: Commercialism In Football
« Reply #18 on: May 22, 2012, 09:52:35 AM »
I understand the view that football is moving away from what is used to be, but the fact is it is moving that way and noone can stop it.  You either have to go with the flow or you wont have a future.  This is where Im hoping FSG will be more clued in than anyone else. 

Offline gordonchas

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Re: Commercialism In Football
« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2012, 10:30:55 AM »
This phrase says it all:  "We are looking for value from fans". 

That's because, traditionally, football clubs have captive markets, with consumers who won't go anywhere else. If football was a real-world business they would be looking to give value to their customers, not take it from them.

But this is not so much about commercialisation as globalisation. I've never properly understood what these so-called fans from around the globe are getting from calling themselves supporters, which should be based on something tangible like locality or family tradition.  So no wonder these Business School types want to milk these "fans" while they can.

FC Barcelona has been more of an institution than a football club for decades, but that hackneyed "mes que un club" slogan stood for something completely different when it was invented in the sixties. Now, Barcelona is wracked by contradictions concerning what it thinks it stands for. It wants to be a global brand, yet supposedly it stands for the Catalan nation? Its recent Presidents support Catalan independence which means, in theory, they support removing themselves from the Spanish league.

As usual, these people want it all ways.

Offline TipTopKop

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Re: Commercialism In Football
« Reply #20 on: May 22, 2012, 11:23:42 AM »
Sink, or swim.

Offline Manila Vanilla

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Re: Commercialism In Football
« Reply #21 on: May 22, 2012, 11:28:47 AM »
I should imagine the business intelligence (sic) manager is getting an almighty bollocking from the PR department.

Marketing people are manipulators and they have to show their bosses what their strategy for manipulation is. But you should never tell your consumers how you're trying to manipulate them - or that you call them "consumers" at all.

This phrase says it all:  "We are looking for value from fans". 
If football was a real-world business they would be looking to give value to their customers, not take it from them.

Beautifully put. They should have said "We are looking to give value to our fans".

Instead of:
"That then gives the chance to take fans to the next commercial consumption level"
Why not:
"We want to introduce cheaper products too, so our fans from less privileged backgrounds can also feel part of the club".

Or:
"...we are trying to use the emotion of fans to create clients and consumers"
Could be something like:
"We want our fans to feel the same emotions outside the stadium as they feel in it".

Both bollocks, of course, but more palatable bollocks.

It's getting to the stage now where a lot of people are being put off as soon as they smell a whiff of marketing technique. It's not difficult as they all jump on the same bandwagon. Viral marketing becomes a sensation - they all do it....

I won't buy anything with an annual contract that quotes me a monthly or daily rate. Or twelve months for the price of ten or pretty much any hackneyed technique I've heard before. I do buy from people who really try to give me the best service possible and I then become their "brand ambassador".

LFC is living on the goodwill it created in the past and on those people who thought Istanbul was going to happen every year and thought they'd like to be associated with a bit of that. Barcelona risk destroying their "brand" if they allow marketing people to make public statements like this.

Offline lfc_col

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Re: Commercialism In Football
« Reply #22 on: May 22, 2012, 11:57:52 AM »
This phrase says it all:  "We are looking for value from fans". 

aka we will fleece them for every penny comes to mind
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Re: Commercialism In Football
« Reply #23 on: May 22, 2012, 11:58:02 AM »
lol at the bile directed towards them. Carry on living in the dark ages lads.
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Re: Commercialism In Football
« Reply #25 on: May 22, 2012, 12:07:53 PM »
lol at the bile directed towards them. Carry on living in the dark ages lads.
i hate shit like this. Just because people dont like it doesn't mean they are living in the dark ages.

I think almost certainly every person in here who doesn't like this shit accepts it as part of modern football and the way clubs need to go to compete unless something drastically changes.

Anyways off to club a baby mammoth now

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Re: Commercialism In Football
« Reply #26 on: May 22, 2012, 12:09:38 PM »
lol at the bile directed towards them. Carry on living in the dark ages lads.

We all understand the point you're making, but there is little to rejoice about is there - you wouldn't expect the average Egyptian slave to have marvelled at the next set of architects blueprints.
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Offline muyuu

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Re: Commercialism In Football
« Reply #27 on: May 22, 2012, 12:14:28 PM »
Marketers speak like this. I deal with them regularly, for them these words are not vomit-inducing. This is what happens when a marketer/salesman communicates "professionally" with other. My own brother used to be a normal person, then he studied marketing and now he's fine with shit like this.

But they do produce results, so you deal with it.
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Offline gordonchas

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Re: Commercialism In Football
« Reply #28 on: May 22, 2012, 12:39:44 PM »
lol at the bile directed towards them. Carry on living in the dark ages lads.

Marketers speak like this. I deal with them regularly, for them these words are not vomit-inducing. This is what happens when a marketer/salesman communicates "professionally" with other. My own brother used to be a normal person, then he studied marketing and now he's fine with shit like this.

But they do produce results, so you deal with it.

Not that the two comments above are linked, but here's another quote from the article at the top:

"Communicating values is more long-term, talking about what we are and making more loyal fans"

What exactly are FC Barcelona's "values" these days?  Does anyone know, because I doubt very much this professional marketing executive has any idea either?

To go back to my earlier point, they expressly ask for global fans/consumers. Now, how does that square with their policy towards socios which is highly exclusive?

I think we have all accepted the corporate nature of top-level football, but this is rank hypocrisy and I don't believe that FCB has any values now, which is not to say that it had so many before.

Offline muyuu

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Re: Commercialism In Football
« Reply #29 on: May 22, 2012, 01:49:01 PM »
Not that the two comments above are linked, but here's another quote from the article at the top:

"Communicating values is more long-term, talking about what we are and making more loyal fans"

What exactly are FC Barcelona's "values" these days?  Does anyone know, because I doubt very much this professional marketing executive has any idea either?

To go back to my earlier point, they expressly ask for global fans/consumers. Now, how does that square with their policy towards socios which is highly exclusive?

I think we have all accepted the corporate nature of top-level football, but this is rank hypocrisy and I don't believe that FCB has any values now, which is not to say that it had so many before.


Some people in Barça I'm sure they do have values. It's an old club with a long history and many people live and breath Barça, believe in the academy and the kids and all that grassroots football is about.

But for marketers values is yet another bullet point to sell, and a very important one. Something that can create an emotional response and drive sales.

The club has to reconcile commercial success with their own ethos to improve revenue, because money in necessary for success. Doesn't mean the club doesn't really have an ethos or values.

Until relatively recently Barcelona didn't wear any sponsorship brands in their kit. They decided to change that. One day Bilbao may decide to sign non-Basques.  Barcelona makes no compromise any more regarding commercial success and LFC is no different.
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Offline gordonchas

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Re: Commercialism In Football
« Reply #30 on: May 22, 2012, 02:43:24 PM »
Some people in Barça I'm sure they do have values.

I'm sure they do. The club, as an entity, does not.

I'd like someone to attempt to tell us what FCB's allegeed values actually are in 2012, though, and how they are any different from any other football club. I don't just mean commercially, either.


Offline muyuu

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Re: Commercialism In Football
« Reply #31 on: May 22, 2012, 03:00:42 PM »
I'm sure they do. The club, as an entity, does not.

I'd like someone to attempt to tell us what FCB's allegeed values actually are in 2012, though, and how they are any different from any other football club. I don't just mean commercially, either.

Agreed, if you're not part of that tradition, you'd be just drinking the kool-aid. Same can be said for LFC. But you do understand that a marketer won't say that, right? for obvious reasons.
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