How the Premier League has emerged as a compelling marketing solution for advertisers.One freezing evening in early 1993, the first season of the Premier League began, England’s first-division clubs resigned from the Football League in order to set up the Premier League. Their creation has become the most globally watched league in sporting history. The Premier League, the football division of England’s top 20 clubs, is widely recognised as the best domestic league in the world for its entertainment quality and competitive nature. And the world can’t get enough of it. Over its past 28 years, the Premier League has established itself as a lucrative and highly effective property for brands across categories like electronics, smartphones, finance, alcohol and is considered only in football terms but also a heavyweight of business that has contributed £3.4bn to UK GDP since 2013/14. This, coupled with the addition of one more Star Sports channel for the Premier Leagues live games broadcast this year, this means that advertisers could potentially reach out to an additional 15 million viewers this year.With the economy showing definite signs of recovery and there is growing trend of revenge shopping post the pandemic, with the Premier League viewer expected to show a higher tendency towards category consumption and purchase intent by their customers. Thereby, making the platform an ideal for brands to engage with. In the 2010-11 season, the Premier League had a cumulative audience of 14.7 billion views found in 212 countries and territories. This exposure gives the Premier League an unprecedented power to negotiate both its centralised television-rights deal and the clubs’ individual sponsorship deals. The Premier League’s television-rights deal overshadows all its European competitors. At the start of the 2013-14 season, it began a new domestic television deal worth £3.018 billion for the next three seasons, a vast £1.25 billion increase over the previous deal.The power and enduring appeal of the Premier League is not in the quality of its football but rather in the excitement it provides and its inherent competitiveness. The media craves good content, not only on broadcasting terms but the exciting of the football matches on show, this includes newspaper speculation about the transfers of plyers but also match previews and post-match analysis from former players and TV pundits. Such as getting an interviews with star footballers and exposure sponsors during matches. With this in mind sponsors are willing to happily pay for the privilege of showcasing their content on soccer jerseys and stadium banners as their part in bankrolling the ever-growing investment into the Premier League. And, Skyports has helped bring glamour to the football product early on, with televised match times shifted to suit the TV audience and a new concept of Monday Night Football, which kicked off with a pre-match show of fireworks and dancing cheerleaders. Furthermore, Sky has always self-promoted the Premier League through its own dedicated Sky Sports News channel that’s made a drama out of the league with constant news, speculation and transfer rumors generating conversation and increased interest in the game. Transfer2’deadline day’ has become an obsession for football fans up-and-down the country (and now internationally), to the point that supporters are left deflated if their club doesn’t bring in a new player at the eleventh-hour.And speaking of younger fans, the Premier League does a better job than almost every other league of engaging with the future of its audience. For example, Manchester Football Club runs a promotion called Kids for £1, in which kids under 16 can buy a ticket for a certain fee for certain matches. Arsenal, a famous London-based team with a large American fan base, has organised a junior-supporters club called Junior Gunners. Membership in this club comes with an app designed by the digital agency that allows young fans to design their own avatars and play Arsenal-themed mobile games. Capturing the loyalty of the younger audience and converting it to future advertising dollars is a critical opportunity for English soccer clubs for one big reason. As a result, English fans consider themselves participants in the show, co-creating it with their cheers and songs. Marketing executives for every Premier League club are aware of this situation and numbers, this goes a long way in explaining why they are so successful at marketing their league. This works for both established, old economy brands as well as new-age, digital-first categories. The league therefore is today demonstrating great impact for various categories of brands, including OTT players, Ed-tech companies, Fin-tech and Fantasy sports brands. From an advertising point of view, the EPL gets a sharp affluent male audience watching the Premier League. Studies have also shown that nearly 57% of the Premier League male audience consumes beer at least once a month, research indicates and beer brands that have previously advertised on a variety of soccer platforms such as the UEFA champions league by Heineken. Soccer clubs in the Premier League are already using technology to offer fans exclusive content during matches. In March 2016, the English Football League announced that clubs in the Championship, League One and League Two would offer free in-stadium Wi-Fi to fans to access official team apps and services. Such as betting, for one. Since almost every fan in the stadium owns a smartphone, and with a whole range of metrics to bet on, the clubs’ owners must have pound signs in their eyes. A lot of people are watching the game on the TV, they’re checking their mobile phone and they’ve got a laptop or tablet in front of them to bet. TV broadcasters will be keen to get involved, just as they are with new platforms such as catch-up viewing and Facebook Live. Once one starts offering extra-rich data, you can expect the others to follow suit. The distinct advantage that the Premier League holds is the fact that it is spread across a nine month period, thereby allowing advertisers to leverage a host of innovations and content solutions to reach their target audience. Shyamalan also points out that long-term associations always deliver high returns as they can drive consumer engagement beyond mere advertising presence in the form of consumer interactions, social media amplifications, audience gratification via contests and many other value additions. Additionally, media agency sources tell us that broadcaster Star Sports is upping the propositions for brands this season, given the growing interest from Indian fans and advertisers alike. It has some tailored offerings for advertisers with a thematic co-branded Premier League promotion film and disruptive ad formats like Picture-in-Picture (PIP) split screen and window during live games when the ball is not in play as well as AR graphics.
QUESTION 1 ( 20 Marks)Critically discuss the possible impact of external benchmarking the English Premier League (EPL) primary business activities. The discussion should include relevant examples from the case study.
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