Premier League fixture announcement is a wake up call for brands and publishers

It may feel like the men’s football season has just ended with the Nations League final in Portugal, but then in the blink of an eye the new one has arrived.

Although it is still 57 days until the Premier League kicks off, the fixture announcement is one of those momentous days in the footballing calendar: when fans look out for derby days, and who their first opponents will be on the opening day of the season. That first competitive fixture of the new season will be at the front of every fan’s mind from now until August 9th when Liverpool face Championship-winners Norwich in the opening game.

And today’s announcement officially ends the 2018/19 campaign, which we can now safely call ‘last season’.

What a season that was.

We saw four English teams reach the finals of the two European competitions. We saw two sides battle it out in an unprecedented title race where, in almost any other season, the side who finished second wouldn’t just have been crowned champions but would have finished with a record points total. We also saw thrills and spills in the top four race, the ups and downs of Manchester United’s turbulent season and the saga around Tottenham Hotspur’s move into a grand new stadium.

And next season is set to be just as compelling.

For many fans, however, there is still a long wait for their favourite players to return from action after a much-needed break. With no World Cup or European Championships to plan for this summer, and with only the incessant gossip of the transfer window on the horizon, publishers have a clear run at planning for the start of the season. It’s one of the few years in which they get to do so, and it’s imperative they make the most of it.

Perhaps more importantly, the next 57 days also give publishers and brands the opportunity to partner up and engage with fans early, to fill the summer months with something better than rumour and innuendo, and to take centre stage in doing so.

The fixture announcement should be seen as something of a starter’s pistol for all of us in the media and brand world – just as it is for fans. This is the day we find out when all the big fixtures are released: the North London derby, the Merseyside derby, when Manchester City face Liverpool in what’s set to be a title showdown.

This is a chance to plan content and marketing strategies around each and every one of those as if they were major set-piece events as we at Snack have done with clients like Game. Instead of scrambling around later in the year for a good plan at the last minute, the opportunity is there for brands to ensure the most traction later in the season by working with publishers now to get the ball rolling on a season-long partnership – including across multiple digital platforms to increase reach.

To start thinking and planning now, with still almost two months to go, also affords us all the chance to trial branded content across the summer months and to test things ahead of a bigger activation for a bigger game once the season is underway. It allows publishers to experiment with content, and the insights could prove very useful in six months’ time.

Now is the time when plans are being put in place ahead of the start of the season, but we brands and publishers alike should take the rare opportunity of a fairly quiet few months before the Premier League’s big kick-off to get a head start on content – because one season turns into another before you know it!

Niall Coen is founder and CEO of Snack Media, digital fan engagement experts who specialise in connecting fans and sports brands. For more information on how you can get in front of 26m engaged sports fans, visit www.snack-media.com or email Adam@snack-media.com or call 020 7272 7582.

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