I want to start this blog by showing you the above picture. This is from Juventus’ Facebook page. One can’t help but notice the logos of all social media platforms. I have been a Juventus fan since 2003. The first match I saw was their 2003 UEFA Champions League Final against AC Milan. Although Juventus lost that game, I fell in love with the Old Lady. I have been following them since. Back then there was no Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat or YouTube.
As one can imagine, it was not possible for a football club to keep their fans worldwide engaged. To experience the club, one had to visit the stadium to watch one of the games. With the advent of social media, things have changed drastically. Mediums like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube allow football clubs to engage with their fans on a daily basis. Managing presence on social media has now become extremely important to all football clubs. Particularly, for big clubs like Real Madrid, Manchester United, Juventus, Bayern Munich and the sorts who have fans all across the globe social media provides them a medium through which they can reach out to all their fans.
I have been following some of these clubs’ activities on social media and Juventus is by far one of the most active clubs on social media. Their social media campaigns running up to the Champions League Final in Cardiff in 2017 was phenomenal..
The 2017 Champions League Campaign:
#ItsTime was the campaign prior to the QF 1st Leg against FC Barcelona.
#ItsTimeToReload prior to the 2nd leg against FC Barcelona.
#ItsTimeForMore prior to the SF against AS Monaco from France.
The LE6END Campaign – Juventus is the first Italian team to win 6 consecutive Serie A titles.
These are excellent ways for a football club to interact with their fans around the world. Fans from various countries shared their pride of being a Bianconeri through this campaign.
Bayern Munich, the most successful club in Germany ran a Thomats Challenge which showcased a series of challenges between their two star players Thomas Muller and Mats Hummels. Such campaigns makes the fans feel more connected with the club and its players. It is the next best thing after watching a match live at the stadium.
Just like how social media allows football clubs to engage with its fans, it also allows the sponsors of the football club become more visible.
Spanish giants Real Madrid has more than 100 million likes on Facebook. To give you an estimate of how massive that number is, Spain’s population as of 2016 was just under 47 million while that of Madrid was under 3.5 million. Such is the kind of eyeballs that sponsors of this club will garner. Something that the clubs know and hence command an exorbitant amount from kit sponsors. Spanish club FC Barcelona has agreed a £100m per year deal with Nike while Manchester United has a £75m deal with adidas.
Football has become more and more commercial over the last two decades with sponsorship fees and player wages soaring to new heights. The Juventus logo re-branding signifies how important brand communication has become for a football club. The Italian club wants to do to the letter “J” what McDonalds did for letter “M”. All this is done to attract more fans, make new ones which will lead to increased merchandise and ticket sales and ultimately increased revenue for the club.
Some sponsors also secure the naming rights of stadiums. Starting on 1 July 2017, the Juventus Stadium will be known as the Allianz Stadium of Turin for six seasons until 30 June 2023, joining the Allianz Family of Stadiums first created in 2005 which features Munich’s Allianz Arena, Sydney’s Allianz Stadium, Allianz Park in London, Nice’s Allianz Riviera, Allianz Parque in Sao Paulo and Allianz Stadion in Vienna. Signal Iduna Park, the home of German club Borussia Dortmund is another such example.
As Bob Dylan’s famous song goes, ‘the times they are a changin’, football is also evolving. In an age football when has become more than just a game, social media has become the go to medium to keep the fans engaged.