©2018 by Esteve Calzada. 

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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...

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...

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...

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...

March 1, 2016

Well, its not quite like that, but Piqué’s intense activity on Periscope has resulted in best promotion possible for this revolutionary app, acquired by Twitter for $100m just one year ago.

Indeed, having Barcelona’s center back conducting 3 live broadcasts in just 4 days has dramatically increased Periscope’s popularity, which was hardly known for the majority of football fans. Furthermore, the fact that such broadcasts took place in spaces where media has no access made such content extremely appealing to fans globally… and for free.

Piqué has been strongly criticized by Spanish media for breaking into dressing room private moments, and also probably because it means –once again since proliferation of social media- that players can distribute their content (now including video and also live broadcast) and communicate directly with the fans with no need of having the media in between.

The critics were also suggesting Piqué would be running this Periscope broadcasts in chase of...

October 9, 2015

Just like any other dad worried about his son spending too much time in front of the computer, the console and of course the smartphone, I started to dig more and more into videogames world. As a marketer I was intrigued to understand why he was no longer watching his favorite TV programs (and ads included in them) and what was he actually doing in front of that devices trio all the time. The key learning was that rather than playing himself, he was watching YouTube videos of others playing!

Indeed, my son is just one of millions that keep themselves entertained by watching YouTubers videos on a variety of games, which include the likes of EA Sports’ FIFA, Riot Games’ League of Legends or Valve’s Dota2. In his case, he actually decided to launch his own channel trying to emulate most popular YouTubers, just like a kid would play football in a top football team academy dreaming of making it one day to the first team.

Considering that Prime Time Sport core business is football talent manag...

September 25, 2015

Here we are again with the first players marketing newsletter of the new season, as usual including plenty of activity by brands using football players in their marketing campaigns. And as at Prime Time Sport we love number crunching, another report comes-up just one week after launching most successful Soccerex Transfer Review ever.

This time we have analyzed 3,000 posts by most prolific footballers in the planet to come-up with our very first “Players Social Media Engagement Report”. Opposite to information we are used to see published in the media about players social media accounts, the report focuses on the engagement generated by posts on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, in terms of likes and comments interaction. Furthermore, and for the first time ever, the report analyses the level of effectiveness of posts of commercial nature (normally posts as part of wider endorsement agreements). Here are some of the findings of the report, which you can download here.

Instagram is the ne...

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