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The Social Premier League Part 2: The Social Side of Sponsorship

The Social Premier League Part 2: The Social Side of Sponsorship

It’s no secret that sponsors are a big part of the reason that the Premier League and Premier League clubs are so successful. With games being beamed into homes, bars and café’s around the world, being associated with football clubs and players gives sponsors incredible global reach and they are willing to pay for it.

But with kit, shirt and stadium sponsorships costing brands millions (sometimes hundreds of millions) of pounds are they getting the most out of them? One way to measure this is using social listening.

Tracking and analysing social data around football can be useful in many different ways from understanding the brand presence of certain football clubs or players around the world and getting to grips with a social media crisis, to measuring the effectiveness of social marketing campaigns. But for sponsors in particular, social listening can also be a great way of seeing just how much ROI is being generated by a multi-million pound sponsorship.

With the world’s largest football convention, Soccerex now underway in Manchester we decided to use the Talkwalker social listening platform to look at the social media activity of the sponsors of the top 5 clubs in the Premier League.

Chevrolet – Leading the Way

Without doubt the most impressive sponsor is Manchester United’s Chevrolet who have actually set up a dedicated Twitter feed towards their football sponsorship activities.

The Chevrolet FC Twitter feed has posted 50 tweets in the last month (July 29 – Aug 27) which have generated a lot of engagement amongst their audience:

chevrolet sponsorship activation

(The Chevrolet FC Twitter feed has seen significant activity between July 29 – Aug 27, peaking on Aug 5)

Their top tweet generated over 3500 retweets and several others were similarly high performing:

chevrolet fc top tweets

(Chevrolet FC’s top 3 tweets over the last month all generated a lot of social buzz)

Chevrolet are also very proactive on Facebook where they make good use of the lack of character limits by posting more in-depth stories and videos on a variety of football related topics, not just Manchester United:

chevrolet facebook

(Chevrolet make the most of Facebook with the above video post receiving over 1 million views and 25k+ likes)

Perhaps it is to be expected given the hundreds of millions of dollars Chevrolet are spending to sponsor Manchester United, but nevertheless the results are impressive. Especially compared to some of the other Premier League shirt sponsors who are also paying a lot (if not quite as much) to sponsor their teams.

Etihad – Using Facebook to Good Effect

Etihad, sponsors of Manchester City come second with their Facebook activity working well in relation to Manchester City generating a close to 10,000 engagements:

manchester city facebook posts

(Etihad top 3 Facebook posts mentioning their sponsorship of Manchester City have managed to engage their audience)

On Twitter too, Etihad interacted with their audience adding a nice personal touch to their sponsorship activation efforts by mentioning Manchester City in their replies:

etihad twitter replies

(Etihad are reinforcing their sponsorship on Twitter by interacting with Manchester City fans)

However, whilst this activity has managed to elicit a response from their audience, there is still very little on their social channels linked to their sponsorship when compared to Chevrolet’s efforts with Manchester United and little directly linked to matches.

Yokohama Tire – Active But Need More Reach

Chelsea’s new sponsors Yokohama Tire have taken over from long time backers Samsung and have made efforts to promote their link with the west London club but have thus far struggled to make a big impact on the social media world. As of August 27th, they had posted 10 Chelsea related tweets on their official Twitter feed and one post on Facebook. But Yokohama Tire’s efforts have to a degree, fallen on deaf ears with the top tweets only managing to generate around 20 retweets:

yokohama tire tweets

(Yokohama Tire’s top 3 Chelsea related tweets show that they are making efforts to latch onto social buzz but need a bigger audience)

Yokohama Tire’s main issue seems to be with one of reach, with their main Twitter feed have 1/10th the followers of Etihad and their Facebook page having around 130,000 fans compared to Chevrolet’s 1 million+ . This is likely as Yokohama Tire is much less of household name in comparison to the other Premier League top sponsors. It will be interesting to see how their sponsorship of Chelsea affects their general brand presence on social and beyond over the coming months.

Standard Chartered – Should Do Better

Standard Chartered have been Liverpool’s main sponsors since 2013 and have a strong presence in Asia. However, in terms of building interest around their sponsorship of Liverpool they have been pretty inactive. On August 26 they launched their #thisgirlsgoal campaign which did manage to make some social noise around the Liverpool women’s team:

standard chartered campaign

(Standard Chartered’s launch of their #thisgirlsgoal campaign managed to deliver some buzz and engagement around their sponsorship of Liverpool)

However, aside from this campaign, Standard Chartered haven’t been proactive in driving interest around the start of the Premier League season or Liverpool’s three matches so far, despite the Reds having played against Premier League contenders Arsenal.

Emirates – …

And speaking of Arsenal, the London’s club shirt sponsor Emirates (who also hold naming rights for Arsenal’s stadium) have been the least active of the top sponsors examined here. In fact we don’t even have any statistics or graphics to present as they haven’t tweeted or posted anything on Facebook referencing their sponsorship of Arsenal since the season began! All in all, the less said about Emirates’ social activation of their Arsenal sponsorship the better.

All in all, aside from Chevrolet the four other sponsors discussed could certainly do a lot more to engage audiences on social whether it be through tweeting around matches, building their audience or in Emirates case, just doing anything at all. This isn’t to say that these sponsors aren’t active on social – all of them post regularly – however they don’t seem to be taking advantage of the massive amount of social attention that Premier League football receives every week.

Perhaps these sponsors don’t really want to intrude too much on the fan experience but Chevrolet are showing how you can do it in an engaging and not overly commercialised way.

Social listening can help clubs of all sizes and their sponsors to discover best practices for getting the most out of their sponsorship and define the metrics they need to track to see if their efforts are working.