Copyright 2008 - All rights reserved (except where indicated).
Issued: Apr. 2nd, 2008.
DMLR*Newsletter — GOLD Edition n.39
Early in the 90s I was present at the conference, organized by the company I was working for, where main lecturers were Arrigo Sacchi and Julio Velasco, both coaches of Italian national teams on popular sports like football and volleyball. Those years the successful sportsmen were asked to bring their own experience into the business world in order to exchange ideas and theory. A common line between those two coaches, I recognize now, was that they have actually gone from the bench to the managing rules at primary Italian football clubs. And now what do you expect to know about that beatiful game? Read on...
On that meeting the two coaches took part in explaining the origin of their success and commonly spoke with pleasure about the importance of the motivational push to get great results. At second place, they emphasized the organization as the prime element of succeeding in a collective game. If I was unaware of some football stories, I would have had to hear from big winners who spread a new gospel about the culture of success or, in better words, the ethics of work... Indeed the importance of the coach as the manager who organizes human resources at the maximum and leverages by the personal motivation of great players united under the same team, was already been proven at least 30 years before, when a multi-ethnic trainer had led the 'Grande Inter' to triumph over Italy and Europe and further. And turning up himself as deus ex machina.
I just prefer believing the sport, and football above all, is always a "competitive mistery" where too many factors are usually conditioning the final result --see also pt.IV hereafter!
Conversely, as of today I have noted a trend that is aiming to build more precise knowledge on the facts that surround the football as simple game, a trend best defining the major clubs buying deals, enormous investments, heavy marketing strategies, increasing competition among the so called European football powerhouses. Their international standing is redirecting the use of business practice into the world of football in a way both innovative and exciting. And if a sport manager wants to motivate his staff, he would be better off with consultants and experts teaching what's important on and off the pitch and in and out the workplace (¹).
Also the numbering has been digressing from the traditional 1 to11 on jersey into financial data and ratios. For example, the numbers listed on the following table represent the Top 15 ranking of Europe's most valuable football clubs --brand value in millions EUR (²). (Note: clubs showed by Web address without www.)
This brand evaluation model combines current and future income flow and expert opinion. In fact the brand value already incorporates the revenue coming from sponsors and TV contracts, tickets, merchandising, and so on. The ranking is a guide for companies interested conducting football-related advertising that helps them evaluate the mid/long term marketing potential of every club (³).
- 1,063 (realmadridfc.es)
- 948 (fcbarcelona.com)
- 922 (manutd.com)
- 828 (chelseafc.com)
- 824 (acmilan.com)
- 727 (fcbayern.de)
- 715 (inter.it)
- 712 (arsenal.co.uk)
- 709 (juventus.com)
- 645 (liverpoolfc.co.uk)
- 453 (olweb.fr)
- 441 (asroma.it)
- 436 (schalke04.de)
- 368 (ajax.nl)
- 332 (rangers.co.uk)
These 15 clubs have usually been pioneers to the website as an important medium to arise their brand popularity and fans loyalty. Most of them are using a country domain but some clubs have got both this domain and another commercial, typically .com; three out of fifteen web domains are shortening the official name of the club.
Moreover the sporting press starts knowing thoroughly profit and loss statement built on aggregate national leagues or opening a window on single club's balance.
The considerations used to announce the football industry are changing like never before and towards new business financial terms as follows
-- marketing intangible assets
-- intellectual property rights
-- associated goodwill.
Even top players are becoming 40-50 million EUR-firms thanks to their status of brand. Consider these indicative terms drawn from a report available over the Net
-- most commercially valuable footballer
-- best known face in football
-- most attractive marketing prospect.
And the user, where is he going to do? A bygone report finds out how the fans are basically linked to a specific team, first coming the imitation of parents and friends (32%), second the priority of their home team (22%), third the presence of the favorite player in one squad (21%).
As the new millennium goes on, even the fan groups have evolved and started showing their concerns about the measures that will be required to service both the football club debts and its interest payments. Sooner or later will they decide if subscribe the season ticket according to the best financial analysis on commercial coverage, transfer fees and total revenue among the biggest rivals...?
¹ 'Business and the Beautiful Game' by Theo Theobald and Cary Cooper.
² Source: BBDO GmbH Consulting, www.bbdo.de, as of Sep. 2007.
³ For a different approach to valuing the football club brands see also www.deloitte.com or www.brandfinance.com.
At auction site eBay football items sell like hot cakes within the Sports Mem, Cards and Fan Shop category [sports-cards.ebay.com] that on March 29th was offering 23 balls, 91 jerseys, 62 photos and 70 other autographated articles...
Some bids? A ball with the original autographs by a whole English team can go up to 175 US dollars. A signed Brazil 1970 World Cup no.10 jersey reaches 300 US dollars...
Since eBay is an US-centered company, probably the best items are concerning football players who went to America at the end of their career. Or it could at least have been the first impression when one was browsing the list of objects on bidding. But the international circulation of fan material allows you to consider the opportunity of buying some unforgettable or unpredictable pieces of the football history, many a time representing the clubs listed above at point I...
The search function enables the fan to fill in the name of a player or club and instantly find the items that are on the auction space. The auction has usually a short deadline, so put your bid in early. When there's a tie the fan who put the offer in first gets the wanted article.
As for the micropayment that covers such small transactions, eBay uses the PayPal system. Buyer and seller are allowed to transfer money to one another from prepaid accounts managed through PayPal payment network.
Note: at eBay you will hardly find a photo of the fan in person like... this one sporting his home FC shirt. One for the album!
III. W INTER.
During the 60s, a 8-year-old boy walking up the school, could often read 'W INTER' written by chalk on the council houses along the way. Then it came the political turmoil and any sport enjoyment was confused with an adult engagement, so that the same boy would have even read 'Libano nerazzurro' (sic!).
After another decade the grown-up fan seemed to retire into hiding places, being waiting for the return of the Great Squad: but also a working-class team had won out --and taking no part in betting!
As TV ruled in the 90s the black&blue passion was mostly expressed by comedians and musicians, but the real risk was to resign to following a dirty game again...
Meanwhile the Internet site brought to the general attention a new-old brand with millions of fans from Italy to China, years before another Italian football scandal went to the breakpoint and...
Would you follow me into the Inter FC Century?
PS. Black&blue text available in Italian only (obviously).
IV. Social Sport.
Football social club? This concept derives from the importance this sport have been assuming around the world in taking care of ordinary people, first as potential professional players then as active apprentices of every age. Not to mention the millions of young and adult consumers that every year go to the stadiums, buy football magazines, watch pay tv, subscribe mobile phone services offered by the football industry!
All this process involves players and viewers, managers and coaches into the same social sport, and starts very far from here in the space and time...
well, you have always to rely on the short story of Sangavineddu vs Ostinuras, a football match occurred long time ago in Sardinia, and told to us by Gianni Brera on the book titled 'Il Più Bel Gioco del Mondo' and published by BUR (www.bur.eu).
- If you like to study in depth the close relationship between football and social matters, as ethnics or popular culture or food habits,
- if you really suspect that good players need good teachers because any game is initiating the life,
- if you can't believe the modern football is just another misdemeanour caused by the marketing genius,
- if you have listened to someone maintaining that football is the most beautiful game in the world,
There is just an unbelievable series of mysterious factors to consider behind the success or defeat on a football game, Brera the journalist and writer said... (www.brera.net).
V. Direct Marketing.
The DIRECT MARKETING glossary is available on DMLR in a 3-document edition (PDF) you can browse here or easily download onto your desktop.
It consists of 19 pages as a whole, 311 paragraphs/terms, 236 Kb, 7450 words, 44772 types!
Select and print the three parts of the glossary in English from PDF::Menu.
Sure the Internet has been changing the traditional snail-mail based direct marketing. And yet the Internet marketing is a consequence of the old direct marketing somehow. Many terms you'll find inside the DM glossary are suiting for the e-mail marketing too...
More than a year ago I have launched DMLR Club, powered by Amazon.com, and linked to www.dmlr.org. Recently 'Marketing Genius', a book written by Peter Fisk entered the marketing books list presented at
The author let me know via e-mail about the website related to his book, www.MarketingGeniusLive.com
Word of Mouth Marketing: does it really exist?
Find answer on DMLR*News Gold no.31.
Dondi --word processing, HTML and the ropes.