Allaboutballerz Newsletter

Hi Allaboutballerz Followers,

It’s been a very busy start of the season for me personally, with long hours training in the Gym & getting fit for my first game of the season.

I have been playing and nothing else feels like game time! You can do gym session after gym session but nothing gets you ready for the intensive games that I am lucky enough to play in.

The Intensive Power of the Premier League and Football League is bigger than ever and the standard of footballer has increased year after year. I think this is why my website allaboutballerz.com got huge interest from abroad again this month, interest from Ballerz, Agents, Coaches, Managers. With all the different social media platforms I use the allaboutballerz.com websites information really gets out to a massive audience Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Keek, Youtube, Tumblr, WordPress, so hitting different countries with our information has become much easier.

With the influx of Foreign players in the Premier League the competition for places has push the British-born players down the leagues. This has happen year after year but in my mind improved the British footballers because its made British Footballers have to improve their games. It’s rises the bar of what you need to become – a top flight footballer. Making Ballerz work harder to become legends, giving us the best standard of players within all leagues from the first step of the Professional game from Skrill Conference North/South up to the premiership.

Updates to the website
There has been lots happening behind the scenes on the website. allaboutballerz.com has increased the price of the upload from £3.60 to £6 . We have made this change because after discussions with lots of different people in the football industry, it was highlighted the amount of work we do for the price of the clips uploaded to the website. The value the Ballerz gets when uploading his football clips was very good for a lot higher price than the one agreed. We set it at £ 5 plus vat of a £1 and will review this every season to be competitive with the advertising market.

To make changes to the website it really costs a lot of money so changes like this all come into the prices of different things on the website e.g: Advertising costs, Upload fees,
Website hosting & maintenance.

TRIAL DAYS
At allaboutballerz.com we have linkup with Prodirect Soccer Academy  to help run Trial days at the End of October.

We will be giving footballers aged 15,16 & 17 years old a chance to join us for 2 Days of training and games. After the Two days we will be picking a squad to take them to another game against a Top Representative side at a later date. The footballers will be watched by top coaches and club representatives from around the area, whilst hopefully catching the eyes of scouts.

I will be showcasing all the players football clips from the trial days on my website so helping before and after the event. It is very important that we help the footballers after the event as much as possible and showcasing the clips to the football industry will give them a massive exposure. But with the history of the website these clips will get seen again and again so it’s a huge benefit to the footballers.

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Dynamic Ticket Pricing in football – hype or happening?

There have been a lot of discussions about dynamic ticket pricing in sport, especially football.

The concept is still open to conjecture, especially here in the UK. There are some high profile examples of clubs that are already embracing it, such as Cardiff City and Derby County, others who are considering it, including one of our clubs, Leeds United. However, for many, the jury is still out. Next month we’ll be debating the issue with some prominent industry commentators including the Football League and a number of football clubs, as part of a bigger discussion around future-proofing fan loyalty. This has prompted me to put forward some of our deliberations on the topic to date.

There’s a fundamental premise around the pricing of football matches that needs to be examined from the outset. For potential season ticket holders, it’s probably fair to say that they look at the price of matches based on the ‘average’ cost of each match – for the sake of keeping it to some simple maths, say there are 10 games and the season ticket costs £100, the season ticket holder sees each game costing an average of £10. However, football clubs take a very different view to the cost of each match. Each game is priced based on different criteria, such as the timings of the match, home or away, who is the opposing team etc. This means that when it comes to calculating the price of tickets, some matches are valued at perhaps only £5, whereas others increase to £20 or more.

With this in mind, when calculating the dynamic element to the pricing structure of each ticket for one-off matches, it starts to become much more challenging. The more popular matches will naturally be more in demand and hence command higher prices. It’s a relatively simple proposition – unless the savvy fan buys early to take advantage of early bird offers, they could end up paying significantly more money for their ticket. However, for the less popular games (or stadiums) which don’t regularly sell-out and where ‘dynamic’ pricing (in other industries like retail) would usually result in last minute offers to drive attendance, there are complications due to the dynamics of the season ticket holder.

The season-ticket holder is the most loyal fan and responsible for guaranteed revenue streams for football clubs. If match ticket prices go below the perceived seasonal average, this could – and most likely would – impact the loyalty of season-ticket holders who start to question the value proposition, and their commitment to the club, through their season-ticket purchase. To retain their support, some clubs using dynamic pricing have guaranteed season holders that individual tickets will never sell below the face value of their ticket, coming back to the above point about the perceived ‘ticket value’ for each match. The challenge is that surely this eliminates the balancing aspect to dynamic pricing, the last minute real-time discounts to sell those final tickets, because of this guarantee to season ticket holders….

The fundamental question has to come back to the rationale behind introducing dynamic pricing, whether it is to benefit club revenues or enhance the fan experience.  Those clubs that regularly sell-out already command a premium price for their tickets – will they realistically increase that, or want to alienate fans (potentially) with higher prices? For those struggling to pack-out their stadium, wouldn’t straight-forward early bird offers work as effectively. Perhaps with the right ticketing promotions and packages, appealing to friends and family, this would be more attractive to a wider audience and hence drive engagement with a new range of ‘fans’. The question remains as to whether this requires dynamic ticket pricing strategies? Is it more about understanding what fans, their friends and family really want and delivering relevant and personalised offers? The mantra of encouraging fans to ‘Buy tickets early, save money’ can be achieved by offers without dynamic pricing.

At this stage, is dynamic pricing simply one of the latest trends to be used to try and capture the attention of fans – and the potentially bigger audience that clubs are trying to reach and engage with – to drive participation and attract new loyal fans?

I’ve yet to be convinced by the commercial or supporter benefits of the dynamic ticket pricing model in the business of football. Yes, innovate and incentivise attendance around early bird ticket offers, promotions and packages, as well as loyalty schemes, based on detailed customer data so that these fan engagement strategies are relevant and appealing.  Every clubs wants a stadium heaving with engaged and loyal supporters encouraging their team to produce a winning performance.  However, I’m always seeking new ideas to enhance the customer experience and I’m open to opinions and evidence that dynamic pricing may be a smart route for clubs with the right profile.  That’s why our TALENT Sport ticketing commerce platform already has the built-in capabilities to manage elements of dynamic pricing. We’ve also investigated partner opportunities to integrate full dynamic pricing systems within TALENT Sport, so it can be introduced as a plug and play model for clubs interested in experimenting with this option.

I’m therefore looking forward to a lively debate next month at our event, which we’re holding at St George’s Park, the FA’s National Football Centre in Burton-On-Trent on the 16th October. If you’re involved in dynamic pricing and fan engagement at a football club, perhaps a commercial director or ticketing manager, do get in touch as we still have some spaces left. I shall certainly be reporting back on any interesting outcomes from our roundtable debate so even if you can’t make the event, I’d love to hear any views on the subject of dynamic pricing and its impact on fan engagement in football.

 

Mark Dewell, MD

Advanced Ticketing

For all news and stories see our Advanced Ticketing news site or follow us on Twitter: @Adv_TALENTSport

 

The real value of sponsorship for sport brands

With the football transfer window finally closed and a few major moves being finalised, it is probably time to take a look at which clubs have landed the best signings for the season ahead.

I’m not talking about players – that would be too obvious – I’m talking about sport brands and their Premier League sponsorship strategies.

This summer has seen a few changes in teams switching kit suppliers, sorry, “technical sportswear partners”, as we can see from this table:

Club 2012-13 2013-14
Arsenal Nike Nike (switching to Puma next season)
Aston Villa Macron Macron
Cardiff Puma Puma
Crystal Palace Avec Avec
Chelsea adidas adidas
Everton Nike Nike
Fulham Kappa adidas
Hull City adidas adidas
Liverpool Warrior Warrior
Man City Umbro Nike
Man Utd Nike Nike
Newcastle Puma Puma
Norwich Errea Errea
Southampton Umbro adidas
Stoke City adidas adidas
Sunderland adidas adidas
Swansea adidas adidas
Tottenham Under Armour Under Armour
West Brom adidas adidas
West Ham Macron adidas

Most of the top teams are mid-contract with their suppliers so there is little change at that end of the table, with the main exception being Man City’s Umbro deal switching over to Nike after the US brand sold Umbro in late 2012.

Umbro is the big loser, with no representation at all in the Premier League this season, as Southampton switches to adidas, as well as losing their long-term England contract this year.

You would be forgiven for thinking Umbro has disappeared from view completely, but they are still going up in Manchester – albeit with a much smaller presence in the licensed kit market than ever before.

In addition to Southampton, adidas has snapped up West Ham and Fulham, giving the German brand a strong line up in this season’s Premier League, with nine out of 20 teams, compared to Nike’s four, Puma’s two and Under Armour, Warrior, Macron, Errea and Avec all with one team each.

At first glance it looks like adidas is the clear winner, but if we rank each team based on finishing position in the 2012/13 Premier League (giving the winner 20 points, second place 19 and so on, with the three promoted clubs getting 3, 2 and 1 points), it looks like this:

Club 2013-14 Supplier 2012/13 Ranking
Man Utd Nike 20
Man City Nike 19
Chelsea adidas 18
Arsenal Nike 17
Tottenham Under Armour 16
Everton Nike 15
Liverpool Warrior 14
West Brom adidas 13
Swansea adidas 12
West Ham adidas 11
Norwich Errea 10
Fulham adidas 9
Stoke City adidas 8
Southampton adidas 7
Aston Villa Macron 6
Newcastle Puma 5
Sunderland adidas 4
Cardiff Puma 3
Hull City adidas 2
Crystal Palace Avec 1

This gives us a more accurate picture of the real presence of each brand on the pitch this season, with the brand league table looking like this:

adidas 84
Nike 71
Under Armour 16
Warrior 14
Errea 10
Puma 8
Macron 6
Avec 1

Of course, this is based on last season’s performance and does not take into account the fan base, commercial value, TV exposure, history; future potential etc…of each team, but it is interesting nevertheless.

Nike generally adopts a “winners only” approach to its sports marketing, hence the focus on quality not quantity (not sure where the Everton deal came from…).

Adidas, meanwhile, has gone with a strategy of snapping up a lot of mid-lower table clubs, to supplement their long term deal with Chelsea.  This is perhaps due to other top clubs being in long term deals, although adidas did let Liverpool go to Warrior and have also allowed Puma to take over at Arsenal from next season.

Both these deals were record-breaking deals, apparently “blowing adidas out of the water”.  It seems pretty obvious that adidas has decided to concentrate on Chelsea and top that up with lesser teams when they come up for grabs.

Despite the demise of Umbro, Nike and adidas don’t have it all their own way.  Warrior and Under Armour are big brands with deep pockets as well as Puma now splashing the cash in a bid to get back to the top table.

This competition means we will continue to see big increases in the value of these top contracts, with the rest getting left behind (in a reflection of football economics generally).  Having let go of Arsenal, it’ll be interesting to see if Nike renews with Man Utd when that deal comes up in 2015, especially if United have a fallow couple of years while David Moyes finds his feet.

The real question in all of this is why do brands spend the big bucks to secure these deals now-a-days and do they actually make a lot of profit in their own right? The answer is; probably not.

With the level of investment now required to secure one of the top teams some of them will only break-even, or even make a loss but the real benefit lies in global brand positioning and being associated with winning teams, which clearly had a massive value for those brands with the international footprint and marketing muscle to fully exploit them.

By Eddie May, Co-Founder of Threepipe

The changing face of community ownership in Scottish Football

At the weekend prominent Ayrshire Businesswoman and Kilmarnock fan Marie Macklin gifted more than 45,500 of her shares in the club to the Killie Trust supporters group.

That the BBC reported on this fact and that most of the newspapers featured the story, says so much about the changing face of Community Ownership in Scottish Football clubs. I am sure that if this had happened just three of four years ago then it would have struggled to get a mention even in the local papers.

Macklin, whose property company has previously expressed interest in owning the Scottish Premiership club, has kept hold of 1,000 shares but most importantly she hopes that, by giving her shares to the Killie Trust, it will enhance the cause of community ownership.

Of course as an advocate of Community Ownership I congratulate Marie Macklin on her magnanimous gesture, which I know will be appreciated by the Killie Trust. At Motherwell, the owner John Boyle has taken the level of generosity to new heights, through donating his shares to the Well Society, which will on reaching a financial target (to give them sustainability) see his shares gifted to the fans. His view being , who is better placed to keep the club at the heart of the community, than the very community that it serves. Now if we only had a few more owners like that?

In both Sweden and Germany we have seen the benefits of community ownership where through the football associations the 50 plus 1 rule means that businesses must work with the local community and cannot own the community asset that represents the town or city. It is too much to expect such radical steps to happen here in Scotland; but as the new ownership structures do emerge, so too will we get ordinary supporters going to Hampden Park to represent their clubs.

In Scotland, thanks to the efforts of many fans and likeminded business people we are reaching a tipping point where Community Ownership is ready to be embraced throughout the Divisions. Initially we only had traction with the likes of Clyde, Stirling Albion, East Stirling, in the lower leagues and with clubs such as Clachnacuddin, Gretna 2008 and Clydebank in the non league circles.

Now however, we have high profile cases at Heart of Midlothian and Dunfermline Athletic showing that businesses and supporters can work together to build a sustainable future for our clubs. What has become apparent is that that football is not a conventional investment and apart from a few interesting exceptions people can’t make money out of football in Scotland. So on the one hand there are no white knights willing to take on the burdens of club ownership and yet despite that dynamic we have seen a considerable amount of business people combine with supporters at the time of need to ensure these community assets (clubs) flourish.

Of course a business person can still get something out of it, through proper engagement with this audience which is so much easier to do when you are working together rather than sitting isolated in the Boardroom. As we have seen with Dunfermline Athletic and Hearts the supporters are happy to work with the business acumen of the investors and indeed if they help by providing funding to buy the club or the stadiums then supporters are comfortable with these business fans getting rewarded with a reasonable return on their investment. It has been surprising to many that business in Scotland has adapted to the concept of democracy in football and that as part of these process supporters are suddenly allowed a say in running their club. At the crux of that debate is who actually owns the club? Having the shares might mean something emotionally to the individual or give him some small comfort of having a financial investment; but the reality is that share certificates mean very little as the heart and soul of the club is embedded in the vibrancy of the collective energy of its supporters, not in paper certificates.

As we enter this new landscape it is perhaps no surprise that the Politicians have seen the changing dynamic and discussions have already started to see how we protect our community football clubs: through either the right to buy or the protection of club assets such as the Grounds. I welcome these discussions; but would ask that all the political parties start to think about how these communities owned clubs can be protected and indeed incentivised financially and maybe then we will be in a position to help stop the boom and bust cycle that has seen 154 administrations across football in the UK since 2000.

Paul Goodwin is Head of Supporters Direct in Scotland and author of Saving Scottish Football.

To find out more about Supporters Direct Scotland, visit: http://www.supporters-direct.org/homepage/what-we-do/scotland

How do Premier League clubs fare on YouTube?

 YOUTUBE AND THE PREMIER LEAGUE

In light of the Football League’s new partnership with YouTube, we thought we’d take a closer look at how clubs in the English Premier League fare on the global-video platform.

Often when social media league tables are banded about, the focus is on Facebook and Twitter. This is probably because of their primary function to communicate daily with their followers, but video is growing in importance in all industries – not just sport.

YouTube is after all, the world’s second biggest search engine. And video has much higher engagement than the written word. So, what did we find out?

 Chelsea top the YouTube league

Chelsea are far and away the most prolific users of YouTube, with the most subscribers and the most number of videos uploaded. Manchester City have the most number of views, and are also very active on the platform.  Content for both of these channels is varied. The content that gains the most engagement tends to be funny outtakes and behind-the-scenes footage. However, higher-quality content such as player diaries and exclusive interviews also pull in the viewers.

 Top 3 are a league apart

Almost predictably for the Premier League, those at the top of the league are a country-mile ahead of their competitors. Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool boast subscribers in the hundred’s of thousands, whilst Tottenham Hotspur bridges the gap between the ‘big-boys’ and the clubs with more modest followings.

 No Tube for Arsenal and Manchester United

As it stands, two of the biggest global clubs in the Premier League have no official YouTube channel. Arsenal and Manchester United are joined by Stoke City and Sunderland in the NoTube section of our visual.

Our suspicion is that Manchester United may be looking at how they best use the channel before launching an official page. The others may be taking the same approach, but they are certainly late to the party.

 Size isn’t everything

Despite this, Crystal Palace must feel very proud of their fantastic engagement stats – only 52 videos, but amassing over 6,000,000 views. It appears that their cheerleaders, the Crystal Palace Crystals, are in no small way responsible for this amazing stat. Their take on Carly Rae Jepson’s song ‘Call me baby’, Gangnam Style dancing and Haarlem Shake account for over 3,000,000 views alone.

 Best is yet to come

So all in all a mixed bag. With the increasing importance of video and new platforms such as Vine, we believe that the best is yet to come from the Premier League on YouTube.  Two of the biggest clubs are yet to enter the fray, and there’s still a lot of learning being done by those with smaller followings to understand what connects best with their fanbase.

Aston Villa have recently tied-up with online video specialists Base79 to manage and optimise their YouTube channel. This is likely to be the first of a number of partnerships over the coming months as YouTube becomes a greater focus for clubs.

Premier League Clubs on YouTube.

Premier League Clubs on YouTube.

Aaron Syed Jaffery (@aaronjaffery) is Managing Partner of NineteenEightyFour (nineteeneightyfour.co), a digital consultancy for brands in sport and entertainment.