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"If you want some accessible but informative insight into football then I suggest you couldn't do better than the Political Economy of Football website, which is not only intelligible but comes with the added bonus of being written by Addicks fan Wyn Grant."
Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

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Villa's Chinese charm offensive

Earlier this year I was on a panel with someone in the marketing department at Aston Villa whose job was to promote the club in China.   Given the way in which the club have been dragged down under the ownership of Randy Lerner, he had a bit of an uphill struggle.

City sign first esport player

Manchester City has signed their first esports player to compete in the world of gaming.  Kieran Brown, an 18-year old gamer who has more than 12,000 followers on YouTube will represent the club at Fifa esports tournaments.  

Gamers sit in row in front of computers where they play against each other, often watched by thousands of spectators.   It has progressed from small get togethers of geeks to football stadium sized events.

Should clubs accept sponsorship from betting companies?

It's far from unusual for football clubs to accept sponsorship from betting companies.  Four Premier League clubs do.  However, the news that Betdaq are to replace the University of Greenwich on Charlton's shirts has sparked some controversy.

Shirt sponsors deny cannabis link

Torquay United's new shirt sponsors have emphatically denied that their company name has any link with cannabis.   420 Skatestore is a skatestore clothing company.   In the United States 420 is a slang term associated with cannabis.  Gulls supporters have jokingly speculated on social media whether the team will appear with a cannabis leaf on their shirts.

National League sets ambitious targets

The National Leage has set itself some ambitous targets in a new four year strategy entitled 'Growing our Game' covering the period 2016 to 2020.

It wants to increase annual attendances from 1.5m to 1.7m.  It wants live broadcast matches to go up from 25 to 40 per seaon and to increase commercial revenues by 50 per cent.   The target for social media following is an increase from 750,000 to 1 million.

Barcelona are number one for sponsorship deals

Barcelona remain the world's number one club for sponsorship deals.   The club signed a new 10-year kit deal with Nike last month which is expected to bring in €150m-€155m each year, compared with the current €60m.   When it starts in 2018, it will be football's most lucrative kit deal ever, far outstripping Manchester United's £75m a year deal with Adidas.

United remain top brand

Manchester United remain the top brand in world football with an estimated value of over $1 billion for the second successive year.   Leicester City saw the biggest increase of 132 per cent, going from 42nd to 16th place with a value of £166m.

Arsenal saw a 22 per cent increase in brand value, going from seventh to sixth place with a value calculated at £593m.  They overtook Chelsea who saw a two per cent fall in their brand value to £530m.

Cost of kit and sponsorship deals rises rapidly

The cost of football kit and sponsorship deals has been rising rapidly.   Manchester United set the tone when it switched from Nike to Adidas kits in 2015, in a deal worth around £75m a year.  Barcelona did even better.   By extending its Nike kit deal last month, the club more than doubled its annual revenue from kit to €150m a year.

Wolves sponsorship deal criticised

A sponsorship deal concluded by Wolverhampton Wanderers with US-based pay day lender Money Shop has attracted widespread criticism.  It featured on the West Midlands edition of Sunday Politics with one panelist describing Money Shop as akin to 'modern day loan sharks.'

United launch co-branded tractor

The range of geographical and sector specific sponsorships collected by Manchester United is always impressive, but I never expected them to have a co-branded tractor.   However, that is what they have launched with Japanese firm Yanmar with whom they already have a sponsorship relationship.

From Yanmar's point of view it is a way of increasing awareness of the firm outside Japan by associating themselves with a global brand.