Fans and Brands Welcome Back Premier League – Rebecca Hopkins

August 15, 2014

With summer drawing to a close, after only 58 football-free days, thanks to this year’s World Cup, the Premier League returns this weekend. With the last domestic football fix being May’s FA Cup, it’s not just the fans that have smiles on their faces.

The Premier League remains one of the most lucrative marketing opportunities for companies because of its scope, duration and the attention it garners. It’s no wonder that brands and broadcasters are looking forward to Saturday’s curtain raiser too.

The big two holding broadcasting rights, BT Sport and Sky, have upped their marketing activity as the new season approaches; the former launched a Countdown-inspired campaign, in partnership with Channel 4. The majority of BT Sport’s marketing for this season has focused on pivotal moments from the last one and the new direction forms part of the company’s multimillion-pound strategy to take on Sky. With its brand value having risen 67% over the last year and with its consumer division having posted the first annual revenue growth for a decade, the signs are looking good.

Simultaneously, Sky has promoted its consumer offer in its bid to fight back. The broadcast veteran, fresh from launching its new Sky Sports 5 channel, is hoping to attract more subscribers by allowing free access to non-customers on August 16th, the day the season kicks off.

Away from TV screens, real-time marketing has emerged as the technique of choice for brands looking to achieve cut-through. With emphasis on forward planning, the move continues the current trend seen across sport of leveraging key moments.

Liverpool FC partner, Subway, is wishing to change attitudes towards its health and wellbeing positioning with a new communications strategy, creating a catalogue of reactive posts and promotions for use throughout the season.

Longtime Premier League partner, Carlsberg, is shunning promotional activity at the season’s start, believing traction from its World Cup campaign will be enough to see the brand through the league’s opening stages. The beer manufacturer is currently focusing on creating a hub to find fan content that can be spread across its own channels. Carlsberg recently transferred a chunk of its marketing budget from TV to social media, citing a more immediate view of the Premier League is needed to maximise investment.

Puma is another sponsor looking at real-time interaction in its bid to reposition itself from a lifestyle and fitness brand to a sports one. The company views football activation as a key driver and will combine social media, partnerships and PR in its approach, to promote customer engagement around reactive content.

All this marks, in the opinion of our sports agency, a significant and wholesale shift amongst companies to increase the frequency and immediacy of fan touch points. Not that the supporters will worry right now; they’re just happy football is back.

Watch the Sports Marketing Show on iSportconnect TV.

Rebecca Hopkins is Managing Director of ENS Ltd, a London-based sports agency tasked with promoting and protecting brands in sport. They specialise in sports PR, crisis management and online public relations.

Rebecca’s isportconnect-profile-widget

{jcomments on}