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FOOTBALL IS DEAD.
LONG LIVE FOOTBALL!
by Pierre Sensey - @PSens
© Havas Sports & Entertainment
Football isn’t just a sport, it’s an industry.
Football clubs are entertainment brands
and matches, brand experiences. This
evolution of football’s essence comes with
consequences that could jeopardize the
development of the most popular sport in
the world… unless it proves that it can be
While tickets and jersey prices rise and
players strike to avoid taxes, the core supporters abandon their stadiums, leaving
empty seats to be filled by spectators. This
new kind of fan won’t support their team
with all their heart: they pay for entertainment and if they don’t get it, they might
not come back. Meanwhile disappointed
supporters might find, or even found, another club, as Manchester United’s fans did
when they created FC United of Manchester, which has successfully climbed three
leagues in three years.
As in every global industry with major
financial stakes, abuse and scandals are
mushrooming. Issues like expropriation,
huge infrastructure expenses in host
countries and bribery suspicions, have a
dangerous potential to destroy the emotion and magic attached to major sporting
All the above combined has a dangerous
impact on football’s image and teams’
relationships with fans. In France, a recent
survey shows that 82%* of the population
has a negative opinion of their National
football team while other sports, like basketball and rugby, seem to have gained
influence and coverage.
If football wants to keep its place and status, it will have to win back fan confidence.
* Survey conducted by Le Parisien / Aujourd’hui en France - October, 2013
Institutions, clubs and competitions will
have to showcase the positive and meaningful role they can play for supporters
Some have already started working in this
direction. The French League created a
program to connect supporters looking
for a job with sponsoring companies.
Brazilian clubs Victoria and Recife have
respectively encouraged blood and organ
donations by engaging their fans - dropping the red from the team jerseys and
creating an organ donation card for fans.
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