Without live matches, without fans in their stadium and not even the prospect of returning to the pitch, Brazilian clubs need to reinvent themselves in this period of social isolation in order not to sink into debt and be able to create ways to earn income. One way that can save or soften finances is investment in sports marketing and the trick of knowing how to take advantage of the moment to value your brand and that of your business partners.
The tendency is for games to be re-played without an audience. The box office, an important source of income, will not exist. With that, the broadcast on TV and the virtual relationship with the fans will be even more important. O Estadão listened to sports marketing experts to explain how clubs can take advantage of this moment.
The consultancy Two Circles made a study in which it predicts that the amount spent on sports around the world will fall about 37% this season, due to the new coronavirus. Last year, US $ 46.1 billion (R $ 258.2 billion) was spent and this year, the value should be around US $ 28.9 billion (R $ 161.8 billion) worldwide . And there are those who bet that the reduction will be more serious. The study also found that 53% of major sporting events this year will be canceled or postponed to 2021.
To try to recover the money that is leaving the sport, investing in different forms of communication is essential for clubs. “Supporters are at home watching the internet, Facebook, Lives and Whatsapp. These groups should be activated by the clubs. Why not use athletes to make lives and personalized activations? Build a story of involvement with your fans? The moment is to build a new sponsorship model that involves fan engagement, “said Fernando Fleury, CEO of Armatore (sports marketing agency) and PhD in marketing.
The challenge for clubs is to put aside, or decrease, physical marketing and invest in the virtual. “The world is changing and with this pandemic, it will change even more. The fan remains behind the club, converting shares for the clubs and the sponsor continues to want to appear,” recalls Gustavo Herbetta, founder and CCO of Lmid (sports marketing agency) and commercial director of the São Paulo Football Federation. He was also marketing superintendent for Corinthians between 2015 and 2017.
Financially, TV is still very important for clubs, due to the amounts paid for broadcasting rights, but as far as visibility is concerned, the trend is for the internet to take center stage soon. “Before, digital was a complement. Today, digital is a reality”, summarizes Herbetta. “Some clubs have invested in shares in the networks. This is an interesting way to keep their brand and that of their sponsors visible,” added Fleury.
Some clubs have taken actions that call attention to creativity. Bahia sold tickets, symbolically, for the game against Fluminense, for the 1988 Brazilian semifinal – the game would be broadcast on SporTV. The ticket price was R $ 5 and the money would be destined to the Dignity to Idols Program, which helps former club athletes. Ceará created DNA Vozão, a project in which the fan answers questions, in a quiz format, and participates in several actions that allow fans to participate in sweepstakes that give various gifts.
A New World
Player trading and sponsorship values will fall due to the pandemic. It is the almost unanimous bet of marketing experts and even managers. Values will fall, but this can be seen as positive in a more global view.
“The big brands that do not frequent Brazilian football can arrive, since it will be devalued here. The value of sponsorship in Brazil is already low and should decrease even more”, bets Fleury, who despite the optimistic look, remembers that the world crisis can impact the numbers, but eventually, things will get better.
Without money in your pocket, there is a risk that the fan will reduce the expenses with his team at heart. “Partner-supporter and ticket to the game is superfluous, which is not among the fan’s needs, so a lot of people must cancel partner-supporter and stop going to the stadium for a while and this should impact the clubs, which will need to reinvent themselves. Marketing becomes fundamental to mitigate this “, added Fleury.
Herbetta prefers to wait and see how the economy will react after the pandemic is over. “Society will change and we will go through several stages. The fact is that everything, from now on, will need to be thought of in digital. When football comes back, it will be without an audience, and TV and the internet will become fundamental for the brand to be As things are getting back to normal, we will have a clearer picture of the situation.“
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