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What: The Brooklyn Nets will try a crossover promotion with Juventus FC to tap into fans of the Serie A club on December 7.
Why it matters: Though soccer and basketball are the two most popular global sports, clubs rarely interact. If successful, the Nets-Juventus trial can be a model for U.S. and Latin American franchises.

Credit: Sven Mandel

There is no doubt that soccer (football) and hoops go one and two in terms of global popularity. From the professional level to the grassroots, from India and China to South America and the U.S., it is hard to not have a conversation about massive engagement in sport without touching on the ball you use your hands for, and the one that you don’t.

That being said, the uniting of the brands that dominate the sport on a global level, doesn’t happen much. The two sports, even with the select massive clubs of Europe having both soccer and basketball in their model, don’t do a great deal of crossover promoting. You even have ownership groups, like Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment, that own NBA (Sixers @sixers), NHL (Devils @NJDevils) and Premier League (Crystal Palace @CPFC) clubs, but it is rare to see CP pop up in the narrative of NBA and NHL or vice versa. Occasionally, maybe, but not that often. Maybe with organizations like Fenway Sports Group (@fenwaysports), marrying the massive brands of the Red Sox (@RedSoxand Liverpool (@LFCthere will be some synergy from time to time, but the businesses and the brands, are a bit siloed.

…[T]he cross-pollination where it makes sense between basketball and soccer seems like a simple and effective next step.

Now that doesn’t mean that some clubs haven’t tried to sports crossover promotion to some degree of success. The best example may be the Bundesliga’s FC Schalke 04 (@s04 ), who have done a great cross promotion job in markets like St. Louis and Pittsburgh to tie their brand not just with soccer clubs in the market, but with hockey, baseball, and even NFL teams.

So why not more crossover co-promotions with NBA and elite soccer clubs? One is in the offing apparently, as on December 7 the Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNetswill go all Juventus (@juventusfcenin Barclays Center for their game with the Toronto Raptors.

Join us at PORTADA LOS ANGELES on March 15, 2019 at the Loews Beach Hotel Santa Monica, where we will dive deep into sports and soccer marketing’s preeminent topics. Felix Palau, VP Marketing, Heineken will discuss “How to measure ROI and transfer best practices between sports marketing platforms”. Other speaking engagements include Tiago Pinto, Global Marketing Director, Gatorade who will provide answers to the question: “Will Corporate America jump on the soccer opportunity?”Attendees will also be able to benefit from Portada’s meet-up service of three-eight-minute meetings with top brand executives!

Flamengo Basketball (FIBA)

Before the game begins, a watch party will be held for Juventus’ match against rivals Inter Milan (@Inter), with the match shown on all the screens. It also will tie nicely as the two teams share colors, or lack of color, with black and white, giving Brooklyn a chance to co-promote without straying too far from their accustomed arena motif. Juventus will have ambassador and former France international soccer star David Trezeguet will be in attendance, as will the club’s mascot, Jay.

Throw in the fact that Juventus has a large and loyal following in Brooklyn, a hotbed of Italian soccer interest overall, and it becomes a smart crossover opportunity that can probably extend the window for arena business, get some international buzz, and show a simple but effective way a Serie A (@SerieAleader can continue to evolve its brand in the States.

With a growing number of elite clubs putting down stakes in the U. S., – Bayern, AS Roma, City Football Club, Barcelona, Club America, PSG, Ajax, not to mention clubs with American owners (Liverpool, Fullham, etc.) and leagues like La Liga, Liga MX and the Bundesliga, growing their interests, the cross-pollination where it makes sense between basketball and soccer seems like a simple and effective next step, with some probable exposure of the NBA clubs (where allowed) abroad as well.

Also, let’s not forget brand synergy as well. If you are brand that has invested in global sport, finding ways to engage with consumers with clubs that have your common toe also makes great sense. Are there always going to be some issues with disconnection, maybe where core fans of one club have no interest in the other? Maybe. But the Nets’ Juventus one is a cost-effective way to marry clubs, garner attention and keep global sport moving along. Score points for both.

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A summary of the most exciting news in soccer marketing. If you’re trying to keep up, consider this your one-stop shop.

  • SPFLScottish Professional Football League (SPFL) signed a new agreement with marketing agency Infront. The deal comes after SPFL terminated its agreement with MP & Silva after the agency failed to make a series of payments to the league. The new partnership with Infront covers the international media rights for Scotland’s top four domestic soccer leagues, as well as the Irn Bru Cup and Betfred Cup knockout competitions.

 

  • BeIN Sports and MediaPro have come together to cover Italian Serie A rights in Spain. Financial details of the deal have not been disclosed, but it will see Mediapro showing one Serie A match per week via digital-terrestrial broadcaster Gol, while BeIN Sports broadcasts two live matches from the Italian league per week through its over-the-top service BeIN Connect.

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  • English soccer team Chelsea has entered a long-term partnership with US-based online retailer Fanatics, which will operate the club’s online store to improve the digital shopping experience. In addition, Chelsea will be able to use Fanatics’ network of domestic and international distribution centers. “Chelsea supporters all over the world will benefit from the digital-first focus of the relationship, enjoying a fantastic service across a broad range of club products,” stated Chris Townsend, Chelsea’s commercial director.

Read more: Can Ronaldo the Owner Globally Lift La Liga Too?

  • Warner Bros.AS Roma has agreed on a collaboration with Warner Bros. for the 2018/19 season. The deal will see the team participating in a number of projects, initiatives, and events. The first collaboration is a promotional video ahead of next month’s release of Venom, starring Tom Hardy. The video includes the participation of Kostas Manolas, Justin Kluivert, Antonio Mirante and captain Daniele De Rossi, and ends with a cameo from club legend Francesco Totti.

 

  • Telefonica has ended its partnerships with FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, as well as Spain’s national team. The termination responds to a change in strategy from Telefonica, which recently secured the Spanish broadcast rights for the Uefa Champions League and Europa League, as well as Spanish soccer’s top tier, La Liga.

A summary of the most exciting news in soccer marketing. If you’re trying to keep up, consider this your one-stop shop.

  • Heineken USCOPA90 and Heineken USA started a film collaboration with The Players’ Tribune. The  two-part original film series takes NY Knicks’ Tim Hardaway Jr on “a day-long journey exploring fan culture and match-day experiences at the Real Madrid vs AS Roma ICC game in New York.” Throughout the season, HEINEKEN USA is sponsoring COPA90’s flagship show, Walk Talk Football, hosted by Pearce. This sponsorship also includes the MLS season preview and episodes across Heineken Rivalry Week.

 

  • Univision exec Boris Gartner has been named CEO of LaLiga North America, a joint venture of the league and the sports marketing group Relevant. Gartner will be in charge of finding new media outlets for coverage of LaLiga games and to promote league’s players.

Also, read Beyond Friendly; La Liga Takes a Bold Next Step for the Business of American Soccer

  • MLS and Twitter unveiled a new Tweet Cam, as part of MLS Heineken Rivalry Week. The Twitter powered camera is part of a social campaign and allowed fans the ability to get a glimpse of the action from the northeast corner of the arena.

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  • The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) has given its approval for Serie A teams to have a sleeve sponsor on their jerseys. The move means that in addition to a front-of-shirt and back-of-shirt sponsor, Italian clubs will be permitted to sell a space of 100cm2 on the left sleeve of their shirts, although it has not yet been confirmed when the new inventory will open up to brands.

What: FC Bayern is looking to the U.S. and potentially Latin America for growing its brand.
Why it matters: The interest FCB has cultivated in the U.S. is one that has Latino legs, and is certainly something to watch as the Americas head towards World Cup and a renewed and expanded interest in all things soccer.

When European soccer clubs look across the Atlantic they see one of the two most engaged and fastest growing business markets for soccer expanding every day. The United States, as well as China, continues to be an expansion areas not for professional play (it is hard to see the Bundesliga (@Bundesliga_EN) or Serie A (@SerieA_TIM) putting up franchises in Chicago or New York or Beijing right now) but for media, marketing, and perhaps most importantly, for cultivation of fans and a vibrant future talent pool.

While Major League Soccer (@MLS) continues to expand its professional footprint and USA Soccer resets its course with a new head and new board members, the elite clubs of the world continue to press ahead, with the help of engaged media companies like Fox and NBC, and soon Turner and the always-trying-to-expand BeIN SPORTS and others.

One of the clubs that certainly has set the bar is FC Bayern Munich (@FCBayern). A few years ago the club was one of the first to set up shop in the U.S., opening an office in New York not just for sales, but for expansion and engagement at all levels, especially in the digital space. The club did have an upcoming U.S. tour to market and eager brands that were familiar to the U.S. consumer like Audi, T Mobile, Allianz and Adidas, but that was not enough. Under the leadership of Rudolf Vidal, FCB built an amazing grassroots following, engaging fans in all 50 States, and they formed over 100 supporter clubs and have grown their U.S. specific following on a social platform like Twitter to over 130,000 engaged followers. They constantly stay in contact with their clubs through social, and have set a very high bar for engagement as other elite clubs look to expand their casual fan base in the United States.

According to Benno Ruwe, Head of Partnerships for FC Bayern Munich US, the next expansion of the brand and its partners could be south.

That social following has been a boom not just for the Bayern brand, but for its partners as well, who have been able to take the elite club and create a whole host of experiences for consumers who are now able to follow the club and its Bundesliga opponents throughout the season on FOX Sports as well as with the engaged social communities that Bayern has created in the United States. Also don’t forget all of this has happened without Bayern having a marketable rising American star regularly in its lineup, something that some of its rivals have had.

So as FCB continues its solid American work, what’s next? According to Benno Ruwe, Head of Partnerships for FC Bayern Munich US, the next expansion of the brand and its partners could be south. “We have enjoyed great success building here in the States in a marketplace that is still growing, and we are going to look to other areas in the near future to replicate that success, and Central and South America seem to be a place we will look,” he said recently during a leadership program at Columbia University. The engagement into Central and South America makes great sense for Bayern, as they have key members of their first team in Rafinha (Brazil), James Rodriguez (Colombia) and Arturo Vidal (Chile), giving them star power into markets that did not exist in the United States.

Arturo Vidal (Wikimedia Commons/Rufus46)

All those markets are obviously soccer strongholds so the “education process” will not be as vast, but cutting through the loyalties of local clubs could present a bigger challenge. The biggest opportunity according to Ruwe, will be with the seamless integration of Bayern’s elite brand partners into the mix.

“Our partners are very interested in activating in markets throughout Latin America, including Mexico, and we are very interested in that area as a key part of growth for our sport and for the FC Bayern Munich brand,” he added. “We also see a great opportunity to engage with new partners who have an affinity for both elite soccer and the Latino audience, and we believe we have a great chance to again expand our footprint beyond the traditional.”

While Ruwe was careful to point out that no formal plan for expansion deep into the Latino market has been announced, it is clear that the opportunity, and the basic model, FCB has cultivated in the U.S. is one that has Latino legs, and is certainly something to watch as the Americas head towards World Cup and a renewed and expanded interest in all things about “The Beautiful Game.”