March 22, 2018

With less than 3 months for Russia World Cup start, there seems to be wide consensus about the lack of excitement generated by the most important national teams tournament. This is also the case for brands that normally engage with players for major global marketing campaigns ahead of big tournaments, as you can see from the list of campaigns that we have put together in a new release of Prime Time Sport’s players marketing newsletter. The number of brand activations with football players is still massive, but few of them are strictly related to the World Cup.

But what are the reasons behind this trend change? We have put together the ten trends that are transforming the usage of player image rights by brands around the world. And here we go…

  1. Media objectives rather than strategic. Players (and their powerful social media channels) are more often used to amplify brand campaigns rather than to seek attributes image transfer.

  2. Smarter investment. Brands are no longer putting togeth...

October 17, 2017

2018 World Cup is around the corner and line-up of participating teams almost complete. We just need to wait for November play-offs to know the last 6 teams of the total 32 in contention. And it is finally confirmed that Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi will be in Russia next summer, even if it had to go all the way to the last match for Portugal and Argentina to qualify.

And it’s time for brands to make-up their minds in terms of which players will best fit their marketing plans around World Cup event. Some of them have already done their homework and secured endorsement contracts with most marketable players, but many others are deciding what to do as we speak.

In this sense, and taking into account most relevant selection criteria –such as cost, availability and appeal to consumers-, I reckon neither Cristiano nor Messi or Neymar will be among players most used for World Cup campaigns marketing activation or ambush. In my opinion, these global superstars have become so expen...

July 15, 2017

A few days ago, when we were negotiating his contract as manager of our latest venture CE Sabadel FCl, Toni Seligrat said to me: "Oh my God how much has this changed, not so long ago managers were negotiating new contracts in a Director’s personal office, full of smoke and in the middle of the night, and often with proposals of under the table payments and other very creative clauses".

In fact, at the end of the first decade of the new century, club managers and owners were still making important decisions without the adequate experience or a team of experienced professionals on their side. And the numbers of the football business couldn’t be any more disappointing. Nearly €1,6bio of annual losses in European clubs, 19 out of 20 LaLiga clubs generating losses, accumulated debts in Europe of more than €7,6bio and recurring player complaints for non-payment. Football had hit rock bottom and conventional investors were conspicuous by their absence.

It was then that the different bodies that...

March 9, 2017

The name Antoine Griezmann is no strange to any football fan today. The French striker has been improving and growing fast in the last couple of seasons, both on and off the pitch. His quality and skills with a ball on his feet made him reach a Champions League final last season with Atlético de Madrid and a UEFA Euro final a few months later with France. His personality, his looks and the values that he projects, have turned him into a very attractive proposition off the pitch too. He is today the total footballer in Europe, adding commercial success to the one he has on the pitch.

Brands understand that Griezmann is a player on the rise and that associating with him is a smart move to engage with football fans. His personal values and friendly looks, have made him sign endorsement deals with the likes of Gillette, H&S, Puma or Beats by Dre. He is arguably the best player in France right now and the most active and successful off the pitch. Not only he signs deals with top br...

November 10, 2016

We are all familiar with the fact that a top division player wearing brandless black boots means that his previous contract has expired and that he is putting himself in the market for a new contract. What is less usual is to see referees doing the same. This is what surprised me when recently watching LaLiga’s Sevilla derbi, with referee Estrada Fernández wearing black boots like Sergio Ramos instead of the traditional Adidas outfit linked to sponsorship deal with Spanish Football Federation.

As a sports marketeer, I have always thought that sponsoring a referee would probably not be a good idea, considering the controversial way they can be featured in the media. In fact, fans blame the referees big time when they take the wrong decision (or even the right decision if going against their interests), while I have a tough time seeing them being hailed by the fans when their decisions go their way.

However, the likes of EA Sports, Diadora, Mastercard or Konami do not have the same opinion...

September 21, 2016

While almost everyone in football industry was talking about transfer window whopping spending, Paul Pogba was relaxed posting a video on his Instagram account that reached 1 million views and 300,000 likes in just 8 hours. The video had nothing special other than most expensive player in football history singing with team mates at France national team hotel. One week earlier, Cristiano Ronaldo had posted a Nike video ad on his Instagram that is already on 2 million views and 700,000 likes (high engagement levels even if being advertising). These are just a couple of examples of audience and engagement numbers that are simply unaffordable for ad blocks in many of most successful TV programs, and definitely at a much lower cost than when brands invest to feature in such videos.

Indeed the irruption of video at most popular social media is changing the content consumption landscape, and inevitably the way brands activate their sponsorship programs and player endorsemen...

July 17, 2016

The unexpected UK exit from the EU puts at the borderline the most powerful football league in the world for the first time and translates into an excellent opportunity for LaLiga

On June 23rd a "match" not organised by the Premier League was held in Great Britain and its consequences could be a huge blow for the admired English clubs tournament. By voting in favour of "Brexit", British fans did a disservice to its favourite competition, probably in the best time of its history. At a sporting level, the revolution on the benches will mean big changes in the most important teams in the tournament. The arrivals of Guardiola, Mourinho and Conte to Manchester City, United and Chelsea respectively, with the first full season of Klopp at Liverpool and the signing of Ronald Koeman by Everton, will translate into new sports projects at top Premier League clubs.

And all this at a time of top economic prosperity, with the entry into force of the new TV contracts, which will bring English sides a t...

June 15, 2016

Euro 2016 kicks-off tomorrow in France as one of the least attractive tournaments in decades. And so despite the number of top players participating, and the high number of candidates to win the tournament (which includes usual suspects Spain and Germany and the likes of France, Belgium, reborn England, Portugal and omnipresent Italy), which make it one of the most open in history.

However, a number of negative factors off the pitch have created uncertainty over the Euro 2016 potential success, resulting in increased difficulty to recruit tournament sponsors and to sell broadcasting rights (in holding champions country Spain they were only sold some weeks ago). Concerns over terrorism and fans security, scandals surrounding UEFA and FIFA or the coincidence with Copa America Centenario (which for sure will penalize TV audiences in South America) are among the key reasons why Euro does not bring along the traditional excitement of a tournament of this caliber.

As for player endorsemen...

June 4, 2016

FC Barcelona wins the financial duel but Juventus’ management model is already widely admired

On April 9, 2003, when I started as FC Barcelona’s Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer, and coinciding with a Champions League quarter-final match between Juventus and Barcelona at the old Delle Alpi stadium, I asked to meet with Romy Gai, my counterpart in the Italian team. I wanted to learn from his marketing management model which, at the time, was making them earn 50% more than FC Barcelona on sponsorships (a 27% up overall) with an old stadium that hosted only 20,000 tifossi per game back then.

Juventus would win that tie -with Barcelona’s current manager Luis Enrique playing in both games- and eventually reach the final at Old Trafford, yielding to Milan in the penalty shootout. It was the last great performance by the Vecchia Signora in Europe. That Champions League final would lead to the team’s worst period, where it experienced an administrative relegation and the removal of titles...

April 13, 2016

When Johan Cruyff showed-up at Ballon d’Or gala back in 1971 to be presented with his first precious award with a big Puma logo on his jacket, the Dutch superstar proved everyone that he was ahead of time, and not just on the pitch.

The sad news of his death lead to thousands of articles in the media globally hailing his beautiful mind, that revolutionized the way the football game was conceived until he started his career as a manager. But few people wrote about how smart Johan was also on commercial matters. In the early 70’s, Cruyff had already featured in several TV commercials, far ahead any other football player. A generation like mine grew-up with Cruyff’s endorsements such as Bruguer paintings or Jimunderwear, at a time in which one single TV channel would get 100% of the audience and someone like Johan would have an enormous influence in purchase decisions of football fans… and their wives, as even his wife Danny featured in some of the ads.

Fu...

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