Premier League champs in the global gamePREMIER LEAGUE CHAMPIONS IN THE GLOBAL GAME
July 14th, 2017. \\ Politics.

English Premier League clubs lead the way when it comes to taking part in pre-season tours abroad aimed at expanding their international fan-base.

More than half of the Premier League’s 20 teams including Chelsea, Manchester United and Swansea City will play overseas games during the close season, compared with only five teams from the German Bundesliga, four from the Italian Serie A and La Liga Santander (Spain) and even fewer from Ligue 1 (France).

This is one of the findings of ‘Planet Football’, a new report which looks at how clubs and leagues can boost their international footprint in a highly competitive, global market.

The most popular overseas destinations for European clubs are North America and China, while markets such as Africa, South America, Indonesia and Australia are currently less successful at attracting teams. However, the potential fan base and revenues from all overseas markets are becoming increasingly relevant as clubs make winning in the global league a top priority. The Planet Football report, compiled by leading communications and public relations firm BursonMarsteller in partnership with Match IQ and The WPP Sports Practice, highlights that football and other sports still have plenty of scope to expand their reach into new territories. International fan engagement is increasingly important for clubs and leagues in the battle to win over the next generation of fans. As a result overseas revenues could soon exceed domestic profits for more teams – and not just those at the very top of the football pyramid.

Today’s technology means the game’s audience is no longer limited to countries or even continents. The growth of a global middle class, urban migration and increasing mobility are also factors in the internationalisation of the sport, as rights owners and brands look to expand far beyond their traditional base.

Also the role of elite players becomes increasingly important to build relations with the next generations of fans. But many clubs have struggled to adapt to this new reality and found it difficult to meet the demands of a changing fan base. “Significant international expansion requires new forms of engagement, new products, new markets, and often new employees or partners,” says William Gaillard, former Director of Communications for UEFA and senior sport adviser at Burson-Marsteller.

“Finding the right balance between the traditional and the new is no easy task for any organisation – and certainly not for sport stakeholders rooted in their local communities. A tension will always be there when it comes to determining why, when, where and how international expansion should best take place to ensure success in the decades ahead.”

But how do clubs ensure the right balance when it comes to their home and international audience? “It is clear from our report that every top-tier football club, indeed every sports organisation, needs to seek change if it is ambitious,” adds Gaillard. “The process of international expansion is an unstoppable force and the status quo is not an option. Embracing the new realities and engaging with the new opportunities is a strategic imperative for all decision-makers in the industry.”

English Premier League clubs lead the way when it comes to taking part in pre-season tours abroad aimed at expanding their international fan-base. More than half of the Premier League’s 20 teams including Chelsea, Manchester United and Swansea City will play overseas games during the close season, compared with only five teams from the German Bundesliga, four from the Italian Serie A and La Liga Santander (Spain) and even fewer from Ligue 1 (France). This is one of the findings of ‘Planet Football’, a new report which looks at how clubs and leagues can boost their international footprint in a highly competitive, global market. The most popular overseas destinations for European clubs are North America and China, while markets such as Africa, South America, Indonesia and Australia are currently less successful at attracting teams. However, the potential fan base and revenues from all overseas markets are becoming increasingly relevant as clubs make winning in the global league a top priority. The Planet Football report, compiled by leading communications and public relations firm BursonMarsteller in partnership with Match IQ and The WPP Sports Practice, highlights that football and other sports still have plenty of scope to expand their reach into new territories. International fan engagement is increasingly important for clubs and leagues in the battle to win over the next generation of fans. As a result overseas revenues could soon exceed domestic profits for more teams – and not just those at the very top of the football pyramid. Today’s technology means the game’s audience is no longer limited to countries or even continents. The growth of a global middle class, urban migration and increasing mobility are also factors in the internationalisation of the sport, as rights owners and brands look to expand far beyond their traditional base. Also the role of elite players becomes increasingly important to build relations with the next generations of fans. But many clubs have struggled to adapt to this new reality and found it difficult to meet the demands of a changing fan base. “Significant international expansion requires new forms of engagement, new products, new markets, and often new employees or partners,” says William Gaillard, former Director of Communications for UEFA and senior sport adviser at Burson-Marsteller. “Finding the right balance between the traditional and the new is no easy task for any organisation – and certainly not for sport stakeholders rooted in their local communities. A tension will always be there when it comes to determining why, when, where and how international expansion should best take place to ensure success in the decades ahead.” But how do clubs ensure the right balance when it comes to their home and international audience? “It is clear from our report that every top-tier football club, indeed every sports organisation, needs to seek change if it is ambitious,” adds Gaillard. “The process of international expansion is an unstoppable force and the status quo is not an option. Embracing the new realities and engaging with the new opportunities is a strategic imperative for all decision-makers in the industry.”

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Martin Banks is a highly experienced accredited journalist with many years experience of working with the EU institutions. He is an occasional contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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