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Football Club, Media House….or both?

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Football Club, Media House….or both?

Posted on 23/09/2017 by Davey Blofield

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Spanish football giants Real Madrid have realised that, ‘in the modern sporting world, sustained success does not only take place on the field of play.’

As BBC business reporter Bill Wilson puts it,

‘Off the pitch, football clubs are up against other leisure activities and interests for the attention - and finances - of potential new followers around the world.’

Real Madrid are leading the way, working with US tech giant Microsoft to leverage the digital space as a source of revenue for the club.

General Manager of Microsoft’s sports business, Sebastian Lancastremere is optimistic about the potential of the project. He says,

‘In our work with Real Madrid, it is important to realise that we are not just competing on the pitch, we are also competing off the pitch.

As well as being a sporting organisation, Real Madrid is a media organisation - one that is providing not just sporting, but also entertainment, material. It is also a huge social platform.’

It’s really interesting to hear a company with the digital pedigree of Microsoft describe Real Madrid as a ‘media organisation’. This is not as surprising a comment as you might imagine, however. We’re finding that many of our major football clients are becoming far more digitally savvy.

In fact, in recent months they have been adding significant in-house resource to their off-the-field teams. Skills we’ve been asked to recruit for cover the gamut of technical competencies, across areas such as social media, video, content, and media rights.

Simply put, big sports brands are starting to think and act like media houses.

As Wilson points out, 99% of fans simply cannot get to the stadium - any stadium - to watch their favourite teams play on match days. It’s becoming more important than ever to ensure that fans have access to a blow-by-blow breakdown of live events. In real time. It’s what the tech and media pundits are describing as an ‘agile’ approach to media delivery.

The power of digital means that, in many cases, the online experience comes close to beating what fans could get by attending the match. Expert commentary, behind-the-scenes insights, and even training regimes can all be shared with eager fans, keen to get a closer look at the games they love.

The consensus is that tailored content, aligned with club partner services and products, is the way to go.

What we’re particularly fascinated to see is how the Dugout football platform will develop in close alignment with so many top football clubs, in such a competitive media landscape. We’re watching this space with avid interest.

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