Football clubs need to refocus their marketing strategies back on to their core fans, who are those that support the club as their favourite team, in order to protect their long-term prospects. Many of the major football clubs have been concentrating on chasing lucrative sponsorship deals over recent years within the Premier League rather than focusing on retaining their own dedicated fans. An executive for Manchester United has commented that a club’s long-term focus on sponsorship deals is a risk and can affect a club’s overall marketing strategy.
This suggestion comes at a time that Manchester United has commented that an element of their previous success has been due to them relying on their ‘core fans’ for an insight into how to remain successful through continued ticket sales and strong customer retention. Michael Bolingbroke, Chief Operating Officer at Manchester United Football Club has said that: “Our core fans are not a key revenue driver for a leisure brand like us, but the insight they provide into the club’s values and the atmosphere they generate at Old Trafford are invaluable for driving growth.”
Manchester United has been named the richest club in the word by Forbes Magazine, and has a core fan base of around 333 million worldwide followers. These figures reflect the international success of the club as core fans have been deemed to be far more valuable to the long-term success of a club than big-name sponsorship deals. Many clubs are now leaning towards separate marketing strategies for both their core and corporate fans in a bid to target these groups in the most effective way and to not alienate their dedicated core fans.
This change around football sports sponsorship and marketing strategy comes as alcohol industry bodies have commented that alcohol sponsorship has played a key role in the progression of UK grassroots sports in defence to suggestions that this form of sponsorship is a means of communicating responsible drinking messages to consumers rather than advertising binge drinking at sporting events.
Brand Recruitment works with a variety of big name brands and recruits for Marketing jobs across the Eastern region.