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Football Is Much More Than Just A Game

Tue 25th Aug 2015 | Safety & Security

Football has long remained one of the most popular sports that is viewed and played across the world, with millions of people of all ages and genders immersing themselves in the drama, excitement and tension that epitomises the beautiful game.

It is considered much more than just a game by the most ardent of supporters, and as the sport continues to evolve from a business perspective off the pitch, the amount of money that is involved in football has reached astronomical levels.

Fans are often transfixed by their favourite team and its players who become role models, particularly for the younger generation who aspire to follow in their footsteps, but it is easy to overlook the bigger picture and see that there is an entire industry that powers football in operating as a commercial sport.

There are many factors that come together off the pitch in creating a global brand that is not only able to operate efficiently and promote itself worldwide, but also generate the levels of finance that enable football clubs to grow and prosper in the new era of business.

Betting

Football remains one of the most popular sports which punters place bets on in the hope of predicting the right outcome and winning variable amounts of money. Although football clubs and players are strictly prohibited from conducting any form of gambling on football matches, fans are more than happy to place accumulators, both teams to score and first goalscorer bets on, whilst also dipping into the live in-play market via their computer, mobile or tablet device.

There are now more markets than ever before thanks to the inclusion of online bookmakers and betting apps that have opened up new possibilities for punters to predict the outcome before, and even during, a live event.

Sites such as Betsafe also manage to find a functional balance between providing hugely popular casino-based games alongside their sports betting market, thus perfectly illustrating just how popular gambling is across the United Kingdom.

Certain clubs, such as Middlesbrough and Blackburn, have been sponsored by online casino companies in recent years and have included their logo on the home and away shirt, but although clubs do not benefit financially from fans placing bets on them, football will always remain an integral part of the betting industry.

It also raises questions over sports marketing ethics as football clubs should not be seen promoting gambling in a positive manner, which ultimately make the deals with these companies extremely rare. 

 

Merchandising and marketing

Merchandising is an invaluable way for clubs to connect with their fans and enable them to proudly wear their favourite team’s colours in public or at football matches by purchasing replica shirts, t-shirts, scarfs and flags.

Club shops can also includes ties, mugs and cufflinks that all bear the club’s logo on as a way of developing a healthy relationship with their fans, but also generate a good source of income alongside the sale of season tickets which can make a big difference towards how much money a manager is able to spend in the transfer market.

Utilising marketing strategies also goes some way to enabling a football club to prosper and grow from a financial perspective, with sponsorship deals standing out as the best strategy in developing interdependent relationships that benefit both parties; football clubs benefit financially from the revenue generated through kit, stadium and general sponsorship, while businesses can receive considerable increases in profits through their brand logo appearing on shirts, billboards and official titles to create brand recognition and awareness.

 

TV contracts

Some would claim that the recent deal between the Premier League and Sky Sports is further proof that football has lost touch with reality and is now predominately a sport where business is much more important than the actual game itself.

However, the £5 billion deal is yet another sign of how football is surrounding by an entire industry that comes together to produce a global phenomenon that is watched across the world. Television broadcasting companies continuously fight it out to gain rights to show live football matches to not only provide their subscribers with the best possible service, but also enhance their appeal to prospective customers so that they choose them over rival services.

Sky Sports continue to lead the way in the broadcasting industry, as illustrated through their latest record-breaking deal, but BT Sports are rising to prominence through winning the bidding war with Sky Sports to gain rights to air live Champions League matches in 2015/2016. The amounts of money that are being put forward for television contracts are likely to rise even higher as broadcasting companies will pay huge sums of money to gain rights to the major European leagues and tournaments.  

Posted by: Aaron Gourley 

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