We want to share a couple of questions of the interviews conducted by Cruyff Institute to their professors David Golblatt and Richard Giulianotti about the current situation of the football business, its history and their fans. Take a look at their opinion, from a sociological point of view, about: Fan Engaement, fan violence, investments in football, historic trends and not so historic trends, and much more topics we will talk about at #WFS17!
Liverpool FC Chief Executive Rick Parry looks on during the draw of the quarter-finals of the soccer Champions League at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon March 20, 2009. The quarter-finals will be played April 7 and 8 and the return legs on April.14 and 15, the semi-finals will be played April 28 and 29, the second legs to be staged May 5 and 6, the final is to be played May 29, 2009 at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse (SWITZERLAND SPORT SOCCER)
1. How has football changed since you were CEO of the Premier League?
I left in 1997 so we were just starting to see the impact of the Bosman judgment. In England that impact has been enormous with over 70% of the Premier League players coming from overseas. Let’s see what Brexit does! And then around 1998 we had the changes in the format of the UEFA Champions League. This has changed the landscape of European competition and every top club wants to compete regularly in the Champions League.
2. You have also been CEO of Liverpool. What is the most difficult to manage in a football team?
Managing a club is certainly more complex, and I would say more difficult, than managing a league. For a club like Liverpool with such a history of success, the fundamental aim is to win trophies. In the highly competitive environment we have in England, that is not easy.
3. More and more investors, especially from China, are buying football teams in Europe. What do you think about of this trend? Are football teams a profitable investment?
More than half the Premier League clubs are in foreign ownership. We certainly never envisaged this when we first discussed the formation of the new league back in 1990. I think the owners have different motivations. For some it is about glory, for some it is about promoting their country and for others it is a financial investment. I suspect China is a little different as there is clearly a desire right from the top to establish the country as a major football power. With its population – which is very important – and economic strength, who would bet against that happening?
4. Why Premier League is the richest league in Europe?
There are two reasons for the success of the Premier League. We were able to start with a blank piece of paper so we put in place governance structures that are fit for the twenty first century and embrace the principles of transparency, accountability, independence and consistency. Too many in sport see good governance as a hindrance; for the Premier League it was the bedrock of its success. And we were very fortunate that the formation of the league coincided with the birth of Sky TV. Pudng our faith in Pay TV in the early 1990’s took some courage but it was clearly the right decision. The Premier League and Sky have grown in partnership – Sam Chisholm, former CEO of Sky, described it as the “greatest corporate romance of all time”.
5. How can change or improve the league with the new television contract?
Most of the money inevitably finds its way to the players. As it should! The key is to make sure it is not all focused on the short term and that the next generation of players is nurtured. And it is very important to keep the stadiums full. The atmosphere and the noise is part of the spectacle. So the quality of the stadiums, and the price of tickets, are very important factors.
6. Nonetheless, Manchester United has shown that having more money is not synonymous of trophies?
It is not for me to comment on Manchester United but their success of the life of the Premier League has been extraordinary and something we all envy. Nothing is forever and whilst money is essential, it is even more important to use it wisely. Having the right people in the key positons is essential.
7. Are you one of those who defend the national leagues or would you like to see and European Super League in the future?
I am a very strong believer in the national leagues. The pyramid system, the right to dream of future success, is essential and it separates football from some other sports.
8. President Spanish League, Javier Tebas, says that without funds in football, banned by UEFA and FIFA, Premier League will have all the great players. What is your opinion?
The Spanish clubs continue to outperform the English in European competition. Between 2005 and 2009 the English clubs regularly reached the finals and semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League but despite the big increases in recent TV deals, their performance has worsened. Perhaps because the Premier League is so demanding and so competitive. And to date, the Premier League has not attracted the world’s very best players.
9. You have been appointed as a member of the Financial Fair Play Committee of UEFA few days ago. How Fair Play has improved the economy of the clubs?
It is certainly making clubs more responsible and more sustainable.
10. What will be your role in the Committee?
I will have to see! I have only just joined it. But I hope I can bring a perspective from having run a major league and a major club.
11. Technology has made the world smaller. Football leagues not only compete with each other, for example by sponsorships, they also compete with NBA, NFL and other sports. What is the main value and the main poten&al of football over other sports?
Football has a universality that the others don’t have and never will. It is popular on every continent. I’ve already touched on the importance of the pyramid and the growing popularity of the women’s game is very important.
12. What is your opinion about events like World Football Summit?
It is more important than ever to go on leaning and to share knowledge. Events that bring people together, particularly on an international basis, have a great role to play.
13. Are this events a good plalorm to get know how and to do networking? Why?
These events are a great plalorm both to listen and to meet people. Gathering people in one place means you can have conversations in a couple of days that might otherwise take months to organise. And people come willing to share.
5th October 2016
When Manchester United last won the Premier League in May 2013, the club’s Twitter page was being followed by just over 1 million people. In September 2016, this number stood at 9.9 million while the club’s pages on Facebook and Instagram were attracting 71m and 13.5m followers respectively at the same time. In recent years the explosion of social media has changed the way many fans engage with sports, extending the fan experience beyond the actual matchday and, significantly, creating new business opportunities for football clubs.
Whilst major leagues’ broadcasting deals are negotiated collectively and matchday revenues are still strongly linked both to a team’s short-term sporting performance and the state of their stadia, nowadays commercial revenues are strongly impacted by a club’s global reach. In this article, KPMG’s Football Benchmark team analyses the correlation between the most popular clubs’ social media followers (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) and their commercial revenues.
Since September 2014, the combined social media followers of the Top 10 most popular clubs across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter has jumped by 70%, demonstrating the important role of social media platforms connecting sports entities with their global audiences. A key contributor to this growth has been Instagram, where the combined level of attention on these clubs increased from less than 16m in September 2014 to 132m last month. This massive rise has certainly caught the eye of football clubs who are taking ever greater steps to reach fans in all geographies, as demonstrated by the facts that Manchester City operate Twitter accounts in more than ten different languages and Real Madrid’s Arabic Twitter page alone is followed by 5.7m people.
The most followed clubs, Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid, have also registered the highest growth in absolute terms over the last two seasons, with both clubs increasing their total follower base by more than 65m each. Meanwhile, Paris Saint-Germain FC (134%), FC Bayern München (108%) and Juventus FC (108%), bolstered by domestic titles and participation in the latter stages of the UEFA Champions League, have recorded the highest percentage increases. However, social media is clearly a common factor for major interest-generating clubs, all of which have seen a minimum increase of 44% in such followers since 2014.
Importantly, this industry trend has often been accompanied by an increase in commercial revenues. In fact, despite slightly different sporting outcomes, FC Bayern München, Juventus FC and Paris Saint-Germain are the only clubs under review that reported a drop in commercial revenues between the 2013/14 and 2014/15 season. A purely successful example at individual club level is FC Barcelona, which, in the 2014/15 season, replicated its on-pitch success (Champions League title) off the pitch, recording a 34% increase in commercial revenues (EUR 207m to EUR 278m) and 31% growth in social media followers (105m to 138m).
Whilst major clubs undoubtedly profit from gaining global followers by generating higher commercial revenues than domestic rivals with more of a local fan base, the income differences between the most followed teams requires further investigation. An analysis of commercial income per follower demonstrates that, in addition to the follower base of a club in digital space, this revenue source might also be impacted by other factors. In fact, with the exception of FC Barcelona, Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC, and despite the general increase in commercial revenue, the clubs’ per follower value saw a net decrease from 2013/14 to 2014/15, suggesting that higher commercial gains do not automatically follow social media base gains.
Additional factors may include, amongst others, the duration of commercial agreements, the capability to negotiate advantageous sponsorship deals, the location of the club, the demographics of their followers or even follower duplication across different platforms. For example, across the analysed sample, Manchester City’s, Paris Saint-Germain’s and FC Bayern München’s commercial revenues per follower stand out above the rest, as these clubs’ commercial operations are supported either by favourable sponsorship deals (MCFC, PSG) or the commercial strength of their domestic market (FCBM).
Moreover, it is especially interesting to note how clubs lower in the ranking, both in terms of followers and commercial revenues, such as Juventus FC and Liverpool FC, recorded a considerably higher commercial revenue per follower than those at the top, in particular FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. However, rather than stressing differences between the business operations of these clubs, this contrast seems to highlight that the monetization of social media followers by a football club has a long way to develop yet.
Whilst further analysis should consider the clubs’ following in other platforms, such as country-specific social media, this conclusion highlights once again the difference between the economic strength of football clubs and the level of fan engagement that they are able to generate. As clubs focus their efforts on driving fans from social media to their own platforms, those able to harness the potential of their global brand in the digital space are likely to develop a competitive advantage in the coming seasons. However, the question remains – can these football clubs succeed in monetizing this ever expanding social media following and achieving a higher per follower value?
World Football Summit is the first large-scale international event in football industry which will take place in Madrid on October 27 – 29 October. Spain is the biggest potential in the world as king of sport.
We have worked with 2Btube to summarize the history of Spanish Football and show how we got until here.
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