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Honour the Fan – Lessons learnt from the European Super League Fall out

Harriet Lewis - 21st April 2021 - 0 comments

Written by Rupert Pratt – Head of Creative & Insights at Snack Media 

No one was expecting the European Super League to capitulate quite as quickly as that….

One thing’s for sure, I don’t think the breakaway clubs anticipated such a widespread backlash from media, politicians, and fans alike. For a negotiating position to be genuine it needs to be executed and in the end the non-US owned EPL clubs (Chelsea and Man City) weren’t quite as committed to the fight.

Putting the fan first

What strikes me the most is the US sports marketing DNA is all about ‘putting the fan first’ and it appears they were slightly blinded by their US perspective on what fans want as much as the complexity and power of European Football politics.

But even Coca-Cola can get it wrong. In their blind consumer testing it appeared people preferred Pepsi, so they created New Coke, which tasted more like Pepsi. But it turned out that people preferred a sip of Pepsi not a whole can.

Just like Coca-Cola with New Coke, what the break away clubs thought fans wanted was incorrect. Yes, they wanted the big games but they also wanted rainy nights in Burnley, the big upsets that mismatches bring and keep fans dreaming.

What can we learn from this? What’s next?

Breakaway on the back foot – One thing’s for sure, the breakaway clubs have undermined their negotiating position short term. But the next cycle of negotiation is close enough yet far enough away for them to recover their position.

Wider stakeholder comms planning – They clearly underestimated the situation and didn’t manage the wider stakeholder communications around it well.

Change is coming – New Coke was a disaster and yet Diet Coke was a massive success and it didn’t stop Coke Zero or Vanilla Coke….

This was project Big Picture 2, get ready for round 3 –  I do expect them to dust themselves off, learn their lessons and be back. There is after all billions and billions of pounds of year-on-year revenue at stake, this isn’t a small play.

The Power of football – Not just the fan sentiment and power. Front-page and back-page news. Politicians and Prime Ministers. Will Football now become a political issue and opportunity? What will the position be from The English Premier League to the breakaway clubs? The Future regulation of Football?

The Euro’s are coming –  With the Euro’s predominantly based in England / UK, now is an opportunity for the sport to regroup.

Honour the Fan! At Snack Media our ethos is to Honour the Fan. Our business reflects the human truth on which it is built and on which it grows: that people’s hunger for sport is authentic, enduring and ever-evolving. Don’t underestimate the power of passionate fans. This is why sports marketing is one of the most effective marketing channels when deployed effectively.

We build huge communities of passionate fans by fuelling and facilitating their insatiable appetite for authentic content, connection and discussion. Get in contact to understand how we can put fan power to use for you. 

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Harriet Lewis

Harriet is a project manager at Snack Media.

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