We went to the O2 Arena this weekend to see if Leicester could continue the winning streak.
That is, Leicester City football winning the Barclays Premier league, the women’s football team wining every game to make the top of the Midlands Division One, Mark Selby becoming the Snooker World Champion and possibly the Leicester Riders basketball team could add to that as they played the Sheffield Sharks in the Molten BBL play off finals. Leicester Tigers Rugby Club are also in the play offs to take the Aviva Premiership title. So it’s a pretty good time for sport in the city.
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So let’s talk about that winning streak with Leicester City winning the Barclays Premier league, the women’s football team wining every game to make the top of the Midlands Division One, Mark Selby becoming the Snooker World Champion and Leicester Riders basketball team with the chance of winning the Molten BBL play off finals. Leicester Tigers Rugby Club are also in the play offs to take the Aviva Premiership title.
It’s a pretty good time for sport in the city. They captured attention across the world when they defied the odds to take the Premier League title. But what now?
From their commercial point of view, the story transcends the sport and all sport in fact. It made the headlines globally and was seemingly on a 24/7 feed with a BBC News channel journalist permanently positioned outside the stadium the day after the Tottenham v Chelsea game, which gave them the title.
That makes the property much more appealing to sponsors. They now attract a global audience, they have won the attention and affection of non-football fans, and appreciation from those already into the game.
The number of fans and their global outreach means that global sponsors will see the club as a more effective marketing channel. It also allows Leicester to target specific territories with regional partnerships, which enables them to have multiple sponsors per category. The boom in social media followers – with Instagram gaining 100,000 in just the 24 hours after the title win – is a good enticement and so Leicester needs to work hard to keep them all, after the buzz has died down.
So, who else wins? The TV broadcasters do, with a new wave of people watching the sport to see the Leicester story out and, despite the Tottenham v Chelsea game not being the best example you’d want to set out for your sport, with 12 bookings, it showed attacking football that will encourage a new group of fans to the game, and most likely to supporting Leicester.
Other clubs will benefit too, from a general uplift in people watching the Premier League. Even I (a die hard rugby and F1 fan) find myself wanting to watch more Premier League and mostly Leicester, of course.
Merchandise and tickets will be in demand and we have already seen fans queuing from 3:30am on Friday morning to get their 2016/17 kit.
The Champions league will bring an economy boost to the city and the positive effect we’ve seen already, with the new pride and excitement, will make Leicester a more attractive city to live in and visit.
The players are more valuable in terms of individual endorsements. Straight away there was talk of a movie being made and, long in to their retirement from the game, their value in ambassador and speaking roles, as a public figure will remain.
So the only risk we can foresee is that Leicester adopts the model of the bigger clubs, which we really hope they don’t do. Doing things differently was what won them the title. We implore them to stay different.
If ticket, hospitality and merchandise prices, all of a sudden rocket then they will alienate those who supported them before these heady days of success. Yes, they should allow for international companies to come on board, but not at the cost of alienating local companies wanting to support their local club and the fans of course too.
One of the biggest opportunities lies with King Power, the main sponsor who have just received a huge return on their investment through brand awareness and brand understanding. They received £15.3m worth of digital exposure according to SnapRapid data, considerably more than the £1m reportedly paid for the shirt sponsorship.
What they need to do now is to plot their strategy for global outreach, to use this success as a mechanism to expand, now that it is known in many more markets. They also need to ensure their activation and integration plans make the most of the opportunity presented to them.
They have a huge uplift in exposure now and, not only that, but a really positive story attached to it. There is currently minimal coverage of Leicester on their website, with only a special promotion on Leicester City branded membership cards. These cards, associated with their duty free retail business, could be repurposed and targeted to the fan base. Their sports news section makes no mention of the Leicester win and the last sports news item was added on the 16 March.
So, there is a lot of room to engage with the newly increased Leicester City fanbase, but also to utilise those assets to tell their brand story beyond that market.