June 16, 2015

Club competitions season finalized with Champions League Final in Berlin and it was nice to realize on site the intensive usage of players image rights (both personal and club related) all over the city as part of sponsorship activation of a handset of high profile brands. Champions League sponsors Nissan where all over Berlin with outdoor ads featuring ambassador Andres Iniesta, who was of course one of the players in the final. Adidas megastore in Tauentzienstrasse would breath Champions League all over, and so despite not having any teams in a Nike-solo final. But sponsorship of the tournament and individual deals with top players in both sides in the final -such as MessiSuarez and Llorente– allowed German brand to property activate most popular club tournament in the planet.

FC Barcelona official watch Maurice Lacroix took also advantage of Catalans presence in the final to decorate flagship store in Friedrichstrasse with posters featuring Messi, Neymar, Pique...

April 23, 2015

Japanese automotive giant has embarked in what is probably its most expensive sponsorship project ever. Replacing long standing sponsor Ford requires a major effort, both in terms of activation investment and creativity, to try to rapidly associate with UEFA Champions League, the most successful club international competition in the globe. Assuming a fees investment of around €50m per season, at least the same amount would be needed in activation for Nissan to become the “Champions League car” in consumers’ minds, following 21 years of continued wise activation by Ford.

But besides the actual activation money (primarily spent in advertising money globally), Nissan has understood well that engaging content is instrumental to properly take advantage of this high profile sponsorship project. And that’s why it has signed up to 4 players as ambassadors for their Champions League activation: Andres Iniesta (FC Barcelona), Yaya Touré (Manchester City), Thiago Silva (PS...

March 8, 2015

Spending around 6mio€ per season sponsoring the most awarded player in the world and realizing that consumers associate him with your main competitor is not precisely good news for a sports marketer. This is what happened to Adidas executives when realized that association of German brand with its Argentinian star is just 58.8%, well below an astonishing 73,5% association between Messi and FC Barcelona sponsors (and former player sponsor) Nike.

Even more worryingly, archrival Cristiano Ronaldo gets 69.6% association with Nike (his most important sponsor) and then 58.8% with Adidas. I would say this is what you should expect considering that your personal most lucrative sponsorship should always get the highest association, followed by the one with the brand that sponsors your team (Adidas in Ronaldo’s case).

This data, extracted from a recently published report by Lagardere (coming from 600 consumer interviews in Spain) confirms the importance of invest...

January 21, 2015

When the great Messi appeared in a Ballon D’Or gala with a fancy Dolce & Gabana suit I am sure I was not the only one to think it was not like him, no matter how cool and expensive the garment would be. Just like when I realized that 2014 Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo was promoting Toyota cars in Thailand and thought, with all respect for the Japanese automotive brand, that linking with a more luxury brand would probably fit him more.

Welcome to the first Prime Time Sport Players Marketing newsletter of 2015, where as usual you will find plenty of player endorsements activity, both in terms of new deals and in exploitation by brands of existing wants.

This time, I propose you to become commercial agents for one day and take you thru the criteria to be used to select the best endorsement opportunities for your players, of course should you represent a strong enough one that can afford to be picky with selection.

The above mentioned examples are just few of many situat...

November 21, 2014

Portugal and Argentina face each other tonight at Old Trafford. In principle just a friendly game; in reality, the match is yet another episode of the long standing rivalry between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. A rivalry that does not have a stable winner in terms of success on the pitch overtime -although Messi would probably be ahead- nor in terms of commercial success -probably the other way around for Ronaldo-.

But when it comes to social media, Cristiano Ronaldo is the undisputable “Ballon d’Or”. With a whopping 160mio followers figure, Real Madrid star clearly leads the way with 53% more engagement than Messi (104 mio). In a global top 10 of football players, Neymar would be number 3 with around 80mio followers, rapidly closing the gap with his teammate at FC Barcelona. Players in decline such as Kaka and Ronaldinho would complete the top 5, with Rooney, Iniesta, Özil, James Rodriguez and Gareth Bale following to the top 10. All in all...

October 25, 2014

The World Cup is now gone and saw, once again, multiple advertising campaigns featuring a wide number of players of many different nationalities. Be it a sponsorship of a national team or campaigns with players on their own in their individual capacity (hence not displaying any team imagery), we have seen winners and losers also off the pitch.

Our first newsletter of the season -and first after the World Cup- allows us to realize that there is “life” outside the big tournaments in terms of using players as media and communication platforms. Since then, we have seen high profile brands activating year-long existing deals –such as Replay, EA Sports, Adidas, Nike and Lucozade-, but also new agreements for usual suspects such as Andrés Iniesta, Raheem Sterling, Pelé or even the more and more popular manager of Real Madrid, Carlo Ancelotti.

Using players (or managers or legends) outside the big tournaments may come with more limited global impact, but offers major benefits such as:

  1. Reducti...

September 5, 2014

When José Mourinho arrived in Spain to manage Real Madrid in 2010 no one was used to a manager keen on capitalizing media headlines and paper covers, in a strategy that would result not just in him creating his own “brand” but also in pressure taken away from players. But when I moved to London at the end of 2013 I realized that this was common practice in England, where managers capture media attention well ahead of players individually, who are not conceding press conferences and interviews as often as managers do.

As a result, managers are nowadays becoming increasingly popular, have started to be less reluctant to social media and ultimately became keen on becoming ambassadors for brands and on cashing-in money associated to it. In fact, never before football has seen a collection of managers on duty with such an enormous global popularity and therefore with a real possibility to compete for endorsements with most successful players off the pitch.

We have recently seen José Mourinho...

July 30, 2014

Dr Dre is definitely on fire. Apart from just selling his Beats business to Apple for a whopping 3bio USD figure, the company completed one of the most successful campaigns ever built 100% on the usage of celebrities, including some of the biggest names in the football game.

Far from deciding to become FIFA sponsor (which would have cost Beats not less than 60mioUSD a year), and thanks to its amazing capacity to attract top football players with little cash investment, the premium headphones brand put together its “Game before the game” campaign. The aim was very clear: to opportunistically link the brand to World Cup event and drive sales and awareness.

So it successfully recruited the likes of Neymar, Van Persie, Fabregas, Chicharito Hernández, Sturridge, Suárez, Sagna, Ferdinand, Götze, Schweinsteiger, Matuidi and Henry, not to mention big names from other sports such as Lebron James and Serena Williams. Then shot a commercial that has had already as much as 23,5mio views on Youtube a...

July 3, 2014

Biting an opponent for the third time and being banned from playing football for 4 months is certainly not celebration time for any player. Situation becomes worse if right after a brand new sponsor decides to discontinue the relationship on the basis of “unsporting behavior”. Under these circumstances, Luis Suárez and his advisors could just stay quiet, apologize and just wait for the ban to pass-on as quickly as possible.

That is definitely not what I would do if I were the agent of Uruguayan ace. Actually I would turn the situation into an opportunity, rather than just treating it as a threat. So here is the good news and also some ideas in terms of new brands recruiting for the player.

Luis Suárez twitter account has won a whopping 300,000 new followers to 3,3mio in just 12 days since the famous episode with Chiellini on June 23rd, and has received as much as 3,4mio mentions since then. The fans have immediately reacted not just backing the Liverpool striker but also massively wearin...

June 3, 2014

The World Cup kick-off is down the corner and the number of players missing it continues to grow every day. Injuries, unexpected manager decisions and teams failing to qualify for Brazil resulted in one of the longest list of high profile players missing the tournament everyone dreams to be part of.

Ibrahimovic, Ribery, Víctor Valdés, Falcao, Bale, Donovan, Mario Gómez, Theo Walcott, Arbeloa, Thiago Alcántara and other top footballers will regretfully enjoy extra vacation time this summer, and next to them a long list of brand managers have had to redo their marketing and activation plans featuring players that ultimately will miss Brazil World Cup. So list of brands missing out includes the likes of Volvo (Zlatan Ibrahimovic), Direct TV (Falcao), Hugo Boss (Mario Gómez), 5hour Energy (Thiago Alcántara), Mars (Theo Walcott), Yahoo (Álvaro Arbeloa) and Pattex (Víctor Valdés), not to mention Nike, Adidas and Puma that supply the boots of the majority of the players.

This opens up...

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