Premier League clubs to find new ways of increasing their sponsorship incomes on digital media

As the Premier League returned to the TV screens of football fans around the world last weekend, it also returned to their smartphone screens, too.

For plenty of fans, following social media on a second screen is now a norm, and in such a connected world most people are now only a click away from knowing exactly what’s going on at their club.

Most of that takes place on social media. From team news and lineup gifs to behind-the-scenes content and interviews, clubs are creating more content than ever before to keep their fans up to date.

It’s well within clubs’ interests to give fans more and more content, of course. For one thing, it’s popular. But it also allows clubs to control what their fans see, keeping a positive light shining on their club and their brand.

But it’s also worth it for the other brands themselves who sponsor and partner up with professional football clubs. Consumer insights company Nielsen have highlighted the importance of digital – and specifically social media – content when it comes to brand partnership with clubs.

Anywhere between 5 and 20% of value generated by clubs for their sponsors comes from the social media exposure which comes from the club’s posts. One of Nielsen’s suggestions, then, is that branded content produced by clubs could be ramped up, “Nielsen Sports believes a football club has over 50 content series that it could associate with a partner,” they say, but at the moment, there certainly aren’t many clubs who are monetising their own content to anything like that degree.

Another area where clubs could grow in the near future is on Instagram, where engagement rates for club posts are higher than those on Facebook. There are more fans on Facebook than there are on Instagram, of course, and so even a lower rate of engagement will still bring more net engagement, but if clubs could scale that up on Instagram, they could stand to be even better value for their sponsors.

Over the last few years, we have seen a concerted effort on behalf of football clubs to create content for their fans, almost becoming publishers in their own right, posting interviews with their players and coaches, videoing their players behind the scenes and even dabbling in Facebook Live analysis of their own matches, rivalling the sort of content broadcasters and websites produce.

If that sort of content is working for the biggest publishers, it will presumably work even better for clubs simply on the basis that the access clubs have will be even greater than what they give to publishers, and their audience is ready-made and already engaged.

As a result, that’s good news for brands and sponsors, too – so expect more clubs to link their content with their partners to give them even more exposure. Clubs have only just started to scratch the surface of the commercial opportunities digital media can offer them, it seems.

About author

Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 480 posts

Chris is a sports journalist and editor of Digital Sport - follow him on Twitter @CJMcMullan_

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