article 1

I don’t want to talk about the England FA situation in today’s blog, but focus on the positives in football, and highlight the beautiful game as a global entertainment spectacle for the world over.

Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to listen in on the former Barcelona CMO (Esteve Calzada) talk about how they re-engineered the Barcelona brand after four trophy-less seasons in the early 2000’s. The focus on players, style and tactics together with a rehaul of their off-pitch commercial and marketing strategy were the very foundations that have resulted in Barcelona being one of the most succesful sports franchises both on and off the pitch in the past decade.

Another global brand that had its own challenges in the same era was EA SPORTS and the FIFA franchise. For the millions of consumers playing FIFA17 this weekend, little did they know that back in 2002, FIFA was the challenger brand to Konami’s PES. Years of community research, employing world class developers, a ton of marketing research and a sheer determimation to take a dominant position in the football gaming space has been one of the greatest brand achievements in video game history. I only hope Matt Bilbey, who has expertly masterminded this $B franchise for nearly two decades, will write a book to share his experiences of the highs and lows in sports marketing.

The FIFA game has become so globally relevant that kids today think of FIFA as the video game and not the world governing body of football. Furthermore, I would go so far as to say that from our Brandtix social monitoring this past week, the fervour and excitement is second only to “Transfer Deadine Day”.

FIFA and EA SPORTS have firmly cemented their place in the football calendar, and together with EA’s competitive gaming division, I wonder what will be generating more eyeballs and engagement in the season’s to come: El Classico or a FIFA Final live on Twitch?

One of EA’s biggest advantages is that they have created incredible organic social chatter across the entire spectrum of footballers and their teams. From the Brandtix Sports Index, 18 of the Top 20 most valuable players are being tagged and discussed, (and have been all week), as FIFA 17 consumers praise, criticise and discuss their heroes’ on-pitch stats and performances.

The worlds are colliding like never before. Data, analytics and numbers are dissected and discussed by millions of football fans daily, and we have EA SPORTS and the FIFA team to thank for bringing more smiles and entertainment to the recession-proof world that is football.

This Week’s Top 10 Most Discussed Players alongside FIFA17: (source: Brandtix)

Wayne Rooney; 2. Marcus Rashford; 3. Cristiano Ronaldo; 4. Paul Pogba; 5. Marco Reus; 6. Harry Kane; 7. Alex Iwobi; 8. Gareth Bale; 9. Theo Walcott; 10. Zlatan Ibrahimovic