Posts Tagged 'Soccer'

The Marketing Value of Cristiano Ronaldo

Florentino Perez, the chairman of Real Madrid (soccer) is going deep in his pockets to challenge FC Barcelona next year – as well in the Spanish League as in the Champions League. Today Real announced the transfer of Cristiano Ronaldo (currently the best soccer player in the world) from Manchester United for the little sum of 94 Million EURO, an all time high.

Last week Real also bought Ricardo Kaka from AC Milan for the sum of 68 Million EURO. To give you an idea about the enormousness of the amounts, these 2 transfers equal the full working budget of all Belgian First Divison teams for a season.

And you also should know that Real has an outstanding overall debt of nearly 300 Million EURO.

Believe it or not, economists specialized in sports confirm that these players pay themselves by the worldwide merchandising, portrait rights, exclusive sponsor deals, season tickets, hopefully better results etc. David Beckham is a perfect example, probably the best. As a consequence we may say that the value of the transfer is reflecting the marketing value of the player.

Soccer is big business.

Cristiano Ronaldo

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FC Barcelona: Respect and Leadership

FC Barcelona wins the UEFA Champions League

FC Barcelona wins the UEFA Champions League

Yesterday evening FC Barcelona has won the UEFA Champions League. And the “RESPECT” tagline of UEFA was omni-present. Respect for every aspect of the game and its followers.  The message is/was clear and in return I show my respect for the way the best team in the world has beaten Manchester United. Just brilliant, they play the best soccer at this moment.

But what has this to do with Sports Marketing? Well, at the same time I show tons of respect for the shirt advertising of Barca. It is the only top team in the world who doesn’t get paid for shirt advertising. They deliberately haven chosen to put “UNICEF” on their shirts for free. As a matter of fact they pay Unicef each year 1,5 million EURO. That is respect and leadership. While other top teams get 10+ million EUR for shirt sponsoring.

From a brand perspective, make sure you connect your brand with a winning team. You can’t underestimate the impact on perception and image. And this goes both ways. I wouldn’t like to be the manager of a team with a bank as shirt sponsor. Will “AIG” still be the shirt sponsor of Man U. next year?

UEFA Champions League Final: Football Money League

This evening Manchester United and FC Barcelona are playing the UEFA Champions League Final in Rome (Italy); a multi-million dollar game. The winner gets 7 million euros extra.  A perfect opportunity to have the first post about sports marketing.

Soccer has become big business over the years. While clubs in the past were run rather amateuristic and mostly by a small group of friends, today any top team is at least a medium sized business on its own, led by a board of directors and a management team.

According to the Footbal Money League (a report by Deloitte) the top 20 clubs in Europe all have a season revenue of over 100 million euros. Top of the League 2007-2008 is Real Madrid with almost 400 million revenue, followed by Manchester United and FC Barcelona; exactly the 2 clubs of this evening.

By investigating the online presence of both clubs, I was honestly positively surprised, and especially about Man. U. They have a great online presence with many web 2.0 features (excellent overall website, streaming of games and interviews, newsletter, blogs, forums, mobile integration, many subscription based services, loyalty programmes etc). The club is also on Twitter. You clearly see that their online presence is a real marketing and revenue producing well-oiled engine. There is something for everyone.

Barcelona is not bad either, though Man U. is doing better. A beautiful win-win concept of Barca is the fact that season ticket holders can sell their ticket to the club for the games they won’t attend. They get a fixed fee for that based on the ranking of the opponent. In return the club is allowed to resell that ticket to someone else for a higher price. In this way both the club (by getting more for the seat) and the season ticket holder (by selling his ticket for a game he is not attending) earn extra money.

Another commercial advantage Man U has is their stadium Old Trafford. It is a modern multi-functional complex with many possibilities including events and entertainments opportunities. Although Nou Camp (The Barca stadium) can cold more spectators, the stadium is 50+ years old and is less of a modern multi-functional complex.

And I would like to end with a quote from Rinus Michels (a famous Dutch manager) “Soccer is War”, in this case “Soccer is War for Money” is more accurate.