The Premier League is often touted as the best league in the world, but it hasn’t always been the best in the world at social media. Over the past few years, however, football fans have been taking to social media platforms to view line-ups, injury reports, minute-by-minute breakdowns, player interviews, analysis, and to have conversations with like-minded people. The Premier League has responded with a new social mindset.
This ties in with some other interesting media-related news from the Premier League over the last few months. Firstly, it will be without a sponsor from next season. At the moment it’s officially the Barclays Premier League, but from August 2016 it will simply be known as the Premier League. This is surprising given that the Barclays deal was worth a reported £120m over the last 3 years, but the Premier League wants to take learnings from other successful sports leagues around the world such as the NFL and present a “clean brand” to a global audience.
Also, a recent article on The Drum took a look at Southampton FC’s marketing strategy and detailed how it wants to engage with its fans like a brand and not like a football club. The club told of how they “were the first club to use Snapchat” and how it opened up the American market for them, and how they were the “first football club to use Vine and have used geo-filters” for a kit launch. This shows how it’s not only the league itself that’s moving towards more non-traditional forms of media to connect with fans, but the clubs too.
Here are a handful of ways that the Premier League and Premier League clubs have been embracing social media this season:
Rich Media Line Ups
Line-ups now don’t have to be in written form, and some clubs have taken to video line-ups including the one above where players walk towards the camera and say their names. This kind of content is a great way for fans to get to know players and to see them as more than just a name on a team sheet. It’s also easily shareable and easy for clubs’ marketing teams to produce every week.
Twitter is a great way for clubs to publish minute-by-minute match reports that fans can interact with. The above tweet reports on Kun Agüero’s fifth goal against Newcastle and clearly conveys the club’s personality – its purpose isn’t just to inform, but to also entertain.
The Live Match Centre
The Premier League has its own Live Match Centre sponsored by Carlsberg that is live on match days and acts as a stream of real-time content. It pulls together information from a variety of sources – facts, commentaries, interviews and fan tweets but to name a few – and reads much like a constantly updating Facebook news feed. It’s a way for the Premier League to interact with fans and gather together interesting and relevant content in one place.
New Perspectives on Press Conferences
Some clubs have been utilising comparatively new social media services such as Periscope to give fans a different angle on news and announcements. A good example is Manchester City’s use of Periscope to broadcast a press conference. It often lets people on the outside take a look behind the curtain at clubs and get a different perspective to what is broadcast in the mainstream media.
Podcasts have become a hugely popular medium over the last few years, and clubs are unsurprisingly trying to get a slice of the pie. The Arsenal Weekly podcast is a good example of this and is promoted through Arsenal’s social media channels. Podcasts provide fans with audio content that they can’t find anywhere else, and often include sections that talk through fans’ questions that they’ve submitted through social media.
Long-Form YouTube Videos
YouTube is a great place for clubs to share long-form videos with fans and for fans to leave comments and share them. Although rights issues mean that the Premier League doesn’t share game highlights on YouTube, clubs are using the platform more and more to give fans a glimpse of their players that wouldn’t find a suitable home in the mainstream sports media. Content includes player interviews, club sing-a-longs, random fan challenges, and other such entertainment that’s light-hearted and easy to digest.