The Briefing #056

16th May 2018Posted by: Michael Flynn

Homepage Teaser / Introduction

The DataPOWA view on the most important talking points in the worlds of sports sponsorship and digital.


With a talent and an ego as large as Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s, there was never any question that his move to Major League Soccer would be a low key winding-down of his illustrious career. Nor would it be just another case of an aging European superstar taking a payday without contributing much to his new league. The MLS has been eager to use Zlatan’s charisma and personality to its benefit, with VP of Content Greg Lalas saying: “Because he has such a marketable personality, we asked ourselves, ‘How do we double down on getting that personality into the world in a way that is going to be worthwhile for everyone involved?’”

Zlatan’s incredible two-goal debut in the LA derby showed just what an impact he can have on and off the pitch, with Lalas saying: “For us, when it happened, when he scored that goal, the best indication was that at the moment, right after the goal, one of the people on our social team sent an email to me saying, ‘My TweetDeck just crashed because of the number of retweets that were happening on that goal.’

“That goal was our best performing post on Twitter and Instagram of all time and the numbers around Zlatan are kind of staggering just in general,” said Lalas. “This year for example, if you look at all of the Instagram posts from the league, the top 57 posts either feature or are about Zlatan. The week he debuted with the Galaxy, their Instagram following grew by 21%.”

However long Zlatan stays in the MLS, you can bet he’ll be keeping the social media team busy and the fans and sponsors very happy indeed.

You can read the full article here

Tags: Football, MLS, Zlatan Ibrahimovic



With the world of esports growing rapidly in importance, it’s hardly a surprise that big sports clubs are reportedly considering setting up official teams to capitalize on the extra opportunities to monetise their brands. Manchester City and West Ham have taken their first steps in this area, while even Ruud Gullit has his own esports team.

Last week there were rumours that Real Madrid were going to join the ranks of esports clubs, with posts on Twitter and Weibo claiming to be official announcements that they would form a team in FIFA Online 4, competing in the Chinese FSL league. However, the club put out a statement clarifying that the posts weren’t official at all and it seems they currently have no plans for esports expansion.

But with the likes of Lyon and Paris Saint Germain recently announcing esports team, it can’t be long before we see Madrid taking what seems to be an obvious next step in branding and global fan engagement.

You can read the full article here

Tags: Real Madrid, esports



Maximising the impact your sports sponsorship outlay gets you always requires some imagination and creativity, and Nike has taken its basketball work in China to the next level with The Road to HBL. The HBL is the Nike High School Basketball League, where the stars of the future compete before hoping to graduate to the Chinese Basketball Association or beyond, and Nike’s new immersive 2D animation is aimed at basketball fans who want a taste of the action.

It was created by R/GA Shanghai with Final Frontier and Le Cube and offers a ‘choose your own adventure’ style interactivity that gives players the chance to enjoy more than 700 potential stories, as well as customising their outfits, etc.

Terence Leong, executive creative director at R/GA, said that Nike was aiming to use projects like The Road to HBL to help boost its burgeoning profile in China: “Nike China’s ambition is grow and elevate the presence of the platform. Not every high school kid out there know what it’s like to be in a competition of this level, the need is to create an experience to put kids out there in the shoes of HBL players so they will be inspired to be one.”

You can read the full article and see the animation here



Replica kits are a prime money-spinner for football clubs, sponsors and kit suppliers alike, and we’re at the time of year now when new deals kick in and new shirts are unveiled on social media before club fans get distracted from domestic affairs by the World Cup. But one recent deal has looked different from the others.

Aston Villa have bucked the usual way of doing things by announcing two kit partners instead of one, as they will be working with both Fanatics and Luke 1977, replacing Under Armour, whose five year deal with Villa was ended ‘mutually’ in April after just two years. They had been working with Fanatics on a retail partner basis already, but have extended that into the world of kit partners too.

Chief commercial officer Luke Organ says that this is the way forwards: “Fanatics were very much near the top of the pile, but brought in a lot of other opportunities for us to go forward and commercialise this area of the club I think if clubs do their homework they will see the opportunity that this brings. It enables us to go as far and wide as we care to in the retail market, and it enables us to find a retail partner that’s fully focused on activating and driving return on investment through direct sales mechanisms.”

How it will seemingly work will be that Luke 1977 will manufacture the kit and have their logo on there, while Fanatics will control the supply chain, with both companies involved in the design and marketing. Will this three-way collaboration work for everyone’s interests? No doubt other clubs and brands will be watching.

You can read the full article here




In the last Briefing, we talked about the issues FIFA were having in trying to find major sponsors who wanted to be associated with what could still be a politically troublesome World Cup in Russia. Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted has admitted as much, saying that they see it as more of a brand-building exercise than a sales opportunity, certainly compared to the last World Cup in Brazil.

There will be 12 Adidas-supplied teams at this year’s tournament, and Rorsted told a financial conference that: “We see this as a brand-building event. The direct financing impact is limited and the football has over time relative to the size of the company become a small event from a financial standpoint, but not from a brand standpoint.”

You can read the full article here



Adidas might not be marking off the days until the big kick-off with the same excitement as some of us, but Budweiser has high hopes for the World Cup, according to global CMO of Anheuser-Bush InBev, Miguel Patricio. As the official beer of the tournament, not even the failure of Team USA to reach the finals has dimmed their enthusiasm for it.

They’ve launched a campaign called Light Up The FIFA World Cup, which literally comes with noise-activated red light cups, which will “encapsulate the unparalleled euphoric energy of the world’s biggest sporting event.”


You can read the full article here




If you have got five more minutes – and haven’t had enough Zlatan – take a look at these articles & videos:

The Drum: Zlatan Ibrahimovic is going to the World Cup – but with Visa, not Sweden

Sport Techie: Women’s Tennis Association to Build Athlete Brands Through Opendorse

Sports Pro Media: US Supreme Court votes in favour of legalised sports betting

Sports Pro Media: Twitch adds Stadium’s traditional sports broadcasts to platform