Part of a panel at Star FLOW, speaking on how sports sponsorships could be the perfect match brands are looking at, Joan Oliver Fontanet, former CEO of FC Barcelona, spoke about how spends around football have grown exponentially over the last 10 years.
"In 2009, 30 per cent of the income came through sponsorships, 40 per cent came from TV rights and the rest through fans. Now, sponsorship contribute practically half of the club's revenue," said Oliver.
He added, "3.57 billion people watched the 2018 FIFA World Cup - that's more than half of the population of the world. In terms of gaming, EA Sports' FIFA was the world's best selling game in the world in 2018. Football support keeps growing in every single country and region worldwide."
He backed his point by listing the top 10 sports teams in terms of followers on social media. The list consisted of nine football clubs, headed by Real Madrid. The exception on the list was the Indian cricket team, at number eight.
Sticking with India, he spoke about how football consumption in India had increased too with the country being the fourth largest country engaged in football chatter on Facebook during the last World Cup.
The ex-CEO of FC Barcelona, then spoke about how he was tasked with making it a brand. He explained, "To make correct decisions in the business world, you have to know your DNA. It's also very important to be emotional. That's what brings people together and generates passion."
He was then joined on the dais by Nikhil Arora, managing director, GoDaddy India, Arvind Iyengar, CEO, Sportz Interactive, Tuhin Mishra, MD and co-founder, Baseline Ventures, in a session moderated by Anil Singh, managing director, Procam International.
Mishra’s Baseline Ventures, co-owns the Pro Volleyball League. He spoke about his experience of roping in sponsors for the tournament.
“Sixty per cent of Pro Volleyball League were sponsors who hadn’t invested in sport before. We were flooded with questions about the tournament. We realised we had to think differently and approached brands accordingly. RuPay was one brand that had this understanding and came on board as title sponsor.”
Sportz Interactive’s Iyengar explained how the landscape of sports consumption has changed. He said, “It’s unbelievable now that in the early 90s, BCCI paid Doordarshan to broadcast a game on television. See how that’s changed now. We’re seeing Facebook and Amazon enter the sports broadcasting space.”
GoDaddy recently announced a partnership with the ICC for the upcoming World Cup and Arora claimed that the company has historically looked to partner with sports events. “What we are learning is that the consumers resonate with purpose based branding. Sports gives us both ATL and BTL connect.”
Mishra and Iyengar then spoke about the trend of sponsorship deals for sporting tournaments sealed only a few days before tournaments begin, which means that brands end up under leveraging the deals and not getting the right value.
“McDonald’s, a global sponsor of the FIFA Fantasy Game, starts integrating it a year before. We see Happy Meals etc, with the Fantasy integration. In India, we saw Castrol come up with the ‘Castrol Index’ in the lead up to the 2011 World Cup, which also saw it gain great traction," surmised Iyengar.