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Sky Football Benchmark: International Brand Building of Football Clubs

Sky Football Benchmark: International Brand Building of Football Clubs


Welcome back to Football Benchmark.
And welcome back to Andrea Sartori, KPMG Global Head of Sports. Last
week we analyzed how social media can influence the economic strategies
of football clubs, also in the context of the transfer market. This week,
we would like to understand, also through a social media aspect, the importance of international brand building of
football clubs. In other words, how important
is it for clubs to be recognized worldwide, and what consequences does this
bring? So, using social media, which are probably the main indicator
of a club’s fame, we have selected the world’s
top 7 and the first Italian team, Juventus FC,
in terms of Facebook following. There is another figure, Andrea,
that we can see below the histogram. What does that number
represent? Those figures represent the ranking of the followers from the club’s country
of origin. Thus, Spain is the 11th country amongst
the followers of Real Madrid CF. Exactly. While Italy is the
1st country amongst the followers of Juventus FC. First of all,
I would like to mention that we use Facebook because it’s the
only social media platform that allows – or allowed us, as they have changed their algorithm
this December – to monitor the geographical
distribution of clubs’ followers. Other than the position of
these 8 teams, it is clearly visible how they all have a
very strong follower base outside their country
of origin, testifying the commercial strength of
these teams on an international level. Let’s analyze more in detail
the first Spanish and the first English teams, Real Madrid CF and Manchester United FC respectively,
who are also the richest clubs. Each year they go head to head
to see who is richer. We would like to understand where their followers come from. Well, if we compare Real Madrid CF
and Manchester United FC, there is a clear difference. On one hand,
Manchester United FC demonstrates great popularity in Asia,
more specifically Indonesia, Thailand, India and Vietnam.
I would also like to highlight that China is not represented here as they use different social media platforms,
such as Weibo and WeChat, which we don’t monitor. On the other hand,
if we look at Real Madrid CF, we can see that they have a stronger
presence in South and Central American countries, for example
Mexico. Nonetheless, both clubs are absolutely recognized
worldwide. Now let’s look at the most similar teams in terms of
following, Juventus FC and FC Bayern Munich, who drive the highest social media
following from their countries of origin. More Italians for Juventus FC and more
German followers for FC Bayern Munich. What can we understand from
their similar international brand building strategies?
Well, here we are analyzing two teams that, in a way, can be
considered more national, as they have a stronger follower base
on a national level. Let’s also not forget that Germany is the country
with the highest population in Europe.
And Juventus FC is the only team within the top 8 that has
Italy as first country in terms of number of followers. 10% of
Juventus FC’s followers on Facebook are Italian. Another aspect that
I would like to highlight, as it relates to all these teams,
is the extremely strong presence of the Indonesian market. Even though
some say that clubs tend to buy followers and likes,
which might be true but hard to prove,
let’s not forget that Indonesia has a population of 260 million,
with a high digitalization rate. And, if you go to Jakarta there is a
Neymar, Ronaldo or Dybala jersey on every corner. Their passion
for football is absolutely incredible. Looking at
these figures, can we say that the distribution of FC Bayern’s
followers is more homogeneous? While they have followers from countries like
Brazil, Indonesia, and Algeria, Juventus FC, except Indonesia,
has more followers from African countries, such as Egypt, Algeria
and Morocco. Yes, we can probably imply this.
I would say that clubs become more homogeneous and
globally recognized teams the more they are able to win
on an international level. The clubs that have a more homogeneously distributed
follower base, with more presence in various countries, are the ones that
won the most Champions League titles in the last years,
which is when social media have achieved a strong influence.
As we have mentioned in the previous episode, these are approximately
the last 8-10 years. And here comes the question that everyone is asking.
How do you monetize followers? I can have a lot of followers,
with a strong international recognition, but I also need to generate a revenue
stream from it. Here we can see this chart,
which seems to be complex but it is very simple, showing
commercial revenues with respect to number of followers. The teams above the trend line
generate more from their followers, while
the teams below generate
less than expected.
The x-axis represents the number of followers in millions
of each team. We can say that FC Bayern optimizes to the maximum its followers.
Despite not having the highest follower base,
they generate the most revenue. Yes, this graph represents the
relationship between commercial revenue and social media presence.
For technical purposes, the line that we can see in the
middle is a regression line. Overall, we can derive
that the clubs above the line are the ones able to
obtain higher commercial revenues relative to the size of their
social media following. The teams below the
line are able to monetize less than their potential. While
the ones on the regression line are the clubs that, in a sense,
are in line with their expectations. As you have
previously told us, the most important figure within this chart
is the one of Chelsea FC. Despite being the 4th most followed team on social media, it is only
8th in terms of commercial revenues. Thus, it is the team with the highest
growth potential. Can we derive the same conclusion
for the case of Juventus FC? Yes. When you were asking how teams
can monetize their followers, you were talking about the great
dilemma that every club’s commercial and digital directors
face. If I could give you an exact answer we wouldn’t have
projects anymore. I would also like to analyze
with you the geographical distribution of followers of the other
Italian teams, as we only saw the one of Juventus FC.
We have seen how the followers of FC Bayern Munich, Real Madrid CF, FC Barcelona and FC Manchester United
are structured. But what about the Italian teams?
Are they international or not? From these figures,
the only international clubs are Juventus FC and AS Roma, perhaps due to their
former Egyptian player, Mohamed Salah. Exactly.
A few aspects emerge from this chart. AC Milan has an international
dimension, probably inherited due to the previous
years’ sporting successes. And I am convinced that if social media had started
20 years ago, AC Milan would be in a much higher
position in terms of international brand recognition.
Another important point, as you mentioned previously, is the example of Mohamed Salah,
which shows how a single player can open a new market in terms of
recognition. Let’s not forget that Egypt has a population of nearly
100 million. Thus, it’s not surprising
that a large number of AS Roma’s followers on Facebook, almost
one/third, are from Egypt.
On the other hand, SSC Napoli is much more Italian, perhaps
because it still hasn’t achieved sporting success
that would enable it to enjoy greater international
recognition, increasing its brand popularity worldwide. And probably also the less social
media presence, the higher the percentage of followers
from the club’s country of origin. Exactly, also because Italy
has a pretty large population, around 60 million.
Thank you Andrea Sartori for this analysis. In case
you figure out the formula for follower monetization please tell us.
Okay. Thanks again, and see you next week.

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