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SoccerexPro (Print) - ISSN 2056-3604 Issue 6

Issue 6 |

A NEW MAP How Australia’s Asian Cup win could reshape a continent FOOTBALL IN THE NEW BROADCAST ERA



Custom designed Giant LED Screens Mobile foldable LED Screens Outdoor LED media façade Perimeters & Ribbon Boards Compliant with UEFA regulations

Director HD

3D Visualizer

Interactive IPTV

ALL-IN-ONE SOLUTION FOR FOOTBALL VENUES Full Integration of all Media in your Venue The first Single Media Platform – controls all media feeds within the stadium Primary screen control (LED screens, media façades, perimeters & ribbon boards) Secondary screen control - IPTV in VIP lounges & mobile apps with highlights, instant replay, real-time statistics, food ordering – for the ultimate fan experience Independent control of all LED screens and easy synchronization for moments of exclusivity

Anderlecht | Belgium

Krakow | Poland

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Washington D.C. | USA

London | UK

Sochi | Russia

Game presentation | Sports&Statistics | Security





10 THE BIG PICTURE - Fifa: The race is on - Premier League hits jackpot again

14 BEYOND THE TOUCHLINE Former Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King shares his thoughts on the football industry.

16 FOOTBALL IN... NORWAY With the Norwegian league season set to kick off in April, SoccerexPro takes a look at football in one of the world’s northernmost nations.

18 IN DEVELOPMENT The Football League Trust has reached millions of young people across England, through the 72 member clubs of the Football League, since it was set up in 2007. As director of operations Mike Evans reveals, it has become a meaningful source of change in communities throughout the country.

20 CONTINENTAL DRIFT At the end of January, less than a decade after joining the Asian Football Confederation, Australia were celebrating a first Asian Cup win on home soil. It was a victory which said much about football’s place in Australia, and Australia’s place in the world.

26 BIGGER IN JAPAN Japanese football has risen steadily in recent decades but in the J League, commercial progress has come in fits and starts. Now, sustainable growth could be underway.


32 NEW BALL GAME Adidas has built its history and its reputation on changing the game through its equipment, from the screw-in stud to the thermal-bonded football and beyond. For global head of football innovation Antonio Zea, working out what the player of tomorrow wants is about constant evaluation as well as inspiration.

38 21ST CENTURY BREAKDOWN Analytics and improved management structures are creeping into elite football but for Blake Wooster, progress cannot come quickly enough. 21st Club is putting forward a new blueprint for how a football club should be run and challenging received wisdom throughout the game.


Coliseum Sports Media caused a stir in the Kiwi TV market when it snaffled the rights to England’s Premier League from under the noses of Sky in 2013. CSM’s OTT model might change how the game is watched beyond New Zealand.

48 FROM MINOR TO MAJOR Football enjoyed a fine year in the US in 2014. Ahead of a year of expansion in 2015, Major League Soccer has been retooling to meet the demands of its growing legion of supporters.

52 PLAYERS’ LOUNGE Guinea’s Titi Camara is best remembered for spells at Marseille and Liverpool but his has been a colourful and eventful career, both before and after his spell as a player ended. Now 42, he discusses life on and off the field.

55 THE UPDATE - The Score: The rich list - Global news - Signings: football deals and appointments

70 REPLAY The Premier League heads to Sky in 1992

Lynne Cameron/EMPICS Sport

In a fully connected world, short-form content and clip rights have the potential to become an increasingly valuable source of income for sports properties. The Premier League is among those bodies leading the way, carving out new packages for broadcasters and digital publishers, but as News Corp’s global head of rights Simon Greenberg warns, there is still a way to go.


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Eintracht Stadium in Braunschweig completely fitted out with video equipment The video system at the Eintracht Stadium in Braunschweig has been completely modernised using exclusively equipment from Dallmeier. The heart of the installation, the unique Panomera® multifocal sensor technology, provides security for both the home and visiting fan areas. The Eintracht Stadium in Braunschweig can accommodate more than 25,000 spectators. The entire video system in place was to be updated to reflect the state of the art as part of the general stadium modernisation programme. For almost two-and-a-half years, the operating company of the Eintracht Stadium, the Stadthalle Braunschweig, conducted a thorough investigation of the subject and tested the systems offered by several different manufacturers. In the end, the Panomera® multifocal sensor technology from Dallmeier emerged as the leader. And now, the video experts from Regensburg are supplying the entire video system – from cameras to recording to management. Challenge for the cameras In order to ensure security for the visiting and home fan areas, the Panomera® multifocal sensor technology is used. This unique camera technology, patented by Dallmeier, is unlike single sensor cameras in that it uses several lenses, each with a different focal length. "This makes it possible to monitor large expanses and distances from just a single location – in real time and uniform picture resolution, excellent dynamic response and consistent depth of focus", says Roland Meier, Head of Panomera® Multifocal Sensor Systems at Dallmeier and also in charge of the project in Braunschweig.

For as security management soon realised, the Eintracht Stadium in Braunschweig posed a real challenge for cameras. Not only because the running track significantly increases distances to the spectators, but also because the light conditions made it practically impossible for conventional cameras to operate effectively. "There is a space between the stand and the roof, which allows light into the stadium but creates a very difficult situation for many cameras, as we discovered in the course of our test", explains Marcus Meyer, Technical Director of Stadthalle Braunschweig Betriebsgesellschaft mbH. However, with the Panomera® system each sensor defines its own contrast, white balance and exposure. This in turn enables significantly more effective dynamic range and unrivalled picture quality over the entire scene – even with widely varying light conditions within the same image. Besides Panomera®, other high resolution PTZ cameras by Dallmeier have also been installed, particularly to safeguard the areas around the outside of the stadium. Video data is recorded on Dallmeier VideoIP appliances. These recording systems are well known for their unsurpassed quality and reliability. RAID 6 and redundant power supplies guarantee the highest possible level of recording availability. Image material from the system has received an LGC Forensics certification, which means that it can be used as evidence in court. Intuitive management For managing the system, operators can make use of multiple Panomera® Viewing Clients and the SeMSy® management software with joystick. SeMSy® is a high-performance, future-oriented video management system designed with maximum operator convenience in mind. It

offers an extensive suite of functions covering live image display, a wide variety of search functions in the recorded material, control of the PTZ cameras and even simple archiving of sequences of interest. Armin Gallus, a member of the crisis management team with the Braunschweig police, is enthusiastic about the system: "One of the most important features for us is that the entire scene is recorded without interruption. This means that if something does happen, we can look for it in the recordings at any time. And the resolution of the cameras is really impressive, not only live but also in the recordings. That is critical for us, because it means we have evidence which we can use to identify and detain offenders."




ometimes change is only noticed after it happens. It’s an uncanny feeling, like looking at old photographs of people or places you see all the time, only to realise how different they’ve become. Football in 2015 is not the same as it was at the turn of the century, or even the turn of last year. The players run faster, and the numbers get bigger. There are the seismic shocks, like the prospect of a Fifa World Cup in the desert winter, but there are also the developments that build slowly into something remarkable. This is a game, now, in which Australia are champions of Asia. The sport moves on because the world moves on. Last year, many said WKDW*HUPDQ\KDGZRQWKHLUÀUVW:RUOG Cup in 24 years. They hadn’t. It was WKHLUÀUVWHYHUZLQDVDXQLÀHGFRXQWU\ Life had changed dramatically in the years between Andreas Brehme’s penalty against Argentina, for West Germany, in 1990 in Rome, and Mario Götze’s winner against the same opposition in Rio. It takes a moment to remember not to smooth out bumps in time. Football has an unchanging place in the lives of so many people but like

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF David Cushnan EDITOR Eoin Connolly

everything else, it changes relentlessly. Even its most fundamental elements are subject to constant tinkering: new boots, new balls, new shirts. The Football Association rulebook was written in 1863, but it would be nearly 20 years before anyone thought to set the height RI WKHJRDO7KHÀ[HGFURVVEDUFDPH after lines of string and tape, and the goal net would not arrive for ten years after that. The square crossbar and posts were not outlawed until 1987. The goal: standardised only within my lifetime and, even then, updated with new technology. For this edition of SoccerexPro we’ve made some changes of our own, introducing a handful of new regular features to bring the magazine into a new year with renewed vigour. We’ve also built this issue around the innovators, those who seek to change the way the game is played and watched or its role in the world. What we hope will stay the same is that we cover the changing business of football in the same breadth and depth as anyone around. This will be a year of major advances and minor events. There will be new champions and new heroes, there could be new administrators and a new

PHOTOGRAPHIC AGENCIES Action Images Press Association MANAGING DIRECTOR Nick Meacham

ART DIRECTOR Daniel Brown CONTRIBUTORS James Emmett, Michael Long, Mike Kennedy



HEAD OF SALES Spencer Hidge


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president of Fifa, there might be a different approach to video aids and new rules of various kinds. The relationship between the sport and its fans will bear new pressures and new opportunities and go in new directions, for good or ill. Football will be different, whether we notice it or not.

Eoin Connolly Editor

SoccerexPro magazine is a joint venture between Soccerex and SportsPro Media. SportsPro Media Ltd 5 Prescot Street, London E1 8PA, UK Tel: +44 (0) 207 549 3250 Email: Web: (SportsPro Media Ltd is part of the Henley Media Group Ltd

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SoccerexPro (Print) - ISSN 2056-3604 | SoccerexPro (Online) - ISSN 2056-3612 PRINTER: Buxton Press Limited NOTICE: SoccerexPro magazine is published quarterly. Printed in the EU. EDITORIAL COPYRIGHT: The contents of this magazine, both words and statistics, are strictly copyright and the intellectual property of SoccerexPro. Copying or reproduction may only be carried out with written permission of the publishers, which will normally not be withheld on payment of a fee. Article reprints: Most articles published in SoccerexPro magazine are available as reprints by prior arrangement from the publishers. Normal minimum print run for reprints is 400 copies, although larger and smaller runs are possible. Please contact us at:


of sports fans polled would be interested in a .fan email address such as

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Jade Jones, GB Taekwondo, Olympic Champion Women’s 57kg Shot taken at Albert Hall Manchester

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hree challengers have been confirmed in the Fifa presidential race to take on Sepp Blatter (right), the longstanding Swiss incumbent. Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein (left), the 39-year-old president of the Jordan Football Association and a member of the Fifa executive committee since 2011, announced his candidacy early in January. He was followed later in the month by former Portugal, Real Madrid and Barcelona superstar Luis Figo (1), and Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) president Michael van Praag (2). The three men all secured the five nominations required from national associations by Fifa’s cut-off date of 29th January and, along with Blatter, were cleared by the world governing body to run shortly afterwards. The first person to declare for this year’s campaign, Jérôme Champagne (3), was forced to withdraw after attracting only three nominations. Champagne, a former French diplomat and Fifa official, had thrown his hat into the ring last year before even Blatter had confirmed his run. Former France international David Ginola (4) also stood briefly in a campaign backed heavily by bookmaker Paddy Power. He withdrew after making little impact. The 209 Fifa members will vote for the president, who will win a four-year term, on 29th May.


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ngland’s Premier League confirmed its status as the richest domestic competition in world football after signing a new set of UK broadcast deals worth UK£5.136 billion from 2016/17 to 2018/19. The news was announced by Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore (1) in London in February. Sky Sports (2), which has screened live Premier League football since 1992, retained its flagship Sunday afternoon and Monday night slots, as well as securing Saturday lunchtime games and the new package of Friday evening football. It will show 126 fixtures a year, the maximum for any one broadcaster. BT Sport (3), a newcomer when the rights were last tendered three years ago, took the Saturday evening slot and further midweek games. It will air 42 matches in all to complement its new Uefa Champions League coverage. Sky Sports managing director Barney Francis (4) said of the pay-TV giant’s deal: “No other broadcaster comes close.” It is not known whether any other parties were involved in the contest, with Qatar’s BeIN Sports and Discoverybacked Eurosport rumoured to have been interested. The league has since come under pressure to address rising ticket prices and enforce a ‘living wage’ for club staff.




BEYOND THE TOUCHLINE In the ďŹ rst of a new series in SoccerexPro, where senior ďŹ gures from outside the world of football give their views on the game, former Sainsbury’s supermarket chief executive Justin King talks about some of the lessons he learned in a lifetime in retail.

The importance of sport in life

Sport teaches you about self-discipline, it teaches you that you only get out what you put in, it teaches you about playing by the rules, it teaches you about playing in a team, it teaches you that life has at least as many failures in it as successes, and these are really important life learnings. That kind of idea that sport and business were intertwined was always LQP\PLQGVSHFLÀFDOO\LQ6DLQVEXU\¡V with Active Kids, and everything we did WKDWà RZHGIURPWKDW Sport depends on competition and cooperation

I think actually if you look at sport more widely, what tends to characterise it is that invariably within the structure there DUHLQGLYLGXDOVZKRDUHVLJQLĂ&#x20AC;FDQWO\ powerful. You would say that about the 2O\PSLFPRYHPHQWIRUVXUH<RX¡G say that about Fifa â&#x20AC;&#x201C; we all know who [president] Sepp Blatter is and most of us know [Uefa president] Michel Platini. If you bring it back to domestic football, a good number of people would know who [Premier League chief executive] Richard Scudamore is. I think that kind of sports administration, sports promoter thing â&#x20AC;&#x201C; albeit that in each individual sport the model is different â&#x20AC;&#x201C; is much more normal in sport than you might think. And it is clearly anachronistic within a business environment, because what you have in sport is competing commercial interests that ultimately, if they come together well in what in normal business PLJKWEHFDOOHGDQÂśDQWLFRPSHWLWLYH¡ZD\ is in the interests of all of them. I think sport is unusual in that regard. You clearly would not have, in normal commercial environments, competing businesses coming together to agree to do certain things to ensure that they raise 14 |

more money â&#x20AC;&#x201C; that would be seen as against the interests of consumers. But RI FRXUVHLQVSRUWLI \RXGLGQ¡WKDYHWKDW \RXZRXOGQ¡WKDYHVSRUWEHFDXVHLWQHHGV to organise itself collectively, and so there is always going to be that tension. Win trust as well as trophies

If you look at the different relationships that some premier club boards have ZLWKIDQVLW¡VVWULNLQJO\GLIIHUHQWDQGLW LVQ¡WMXVWDVFOHDUFXWDVLI WKHFKDLUPDQ¡V VSHQGLQJDORWRI PRQH\KH¡VORYHGDQG LI KH¡VQRWKH¡VQRW²RULI \RX¡YHZRQ the league or not. You look at clubs like West Bromwich Albion, coincidentally one of my local FOXEVLQWKHWHQXUHRI WKHFXUUHQW chairman, there have been periods when KH¡VFOHDUO\EHHQDORFDOKHURDQGWKHUHKDYH EHHQSHULRGVZKHQKHKDVQ¡WEHHQ%XW WKH\GRQ¡WDFWXDOO\DSSHDUWREHFRQQHFWHG to when the team is winning or losing. It was more a sense, I would suggest, that the fans felt they had a seat at the table of that process, which they absolutely should have because they pay the bills. The lifetime customer

,QWKHVXSHUPDUNHWEXVLQHVVZHGRQ¡W think about the UK£50 or whatever that the customer has spent with us this ZHHNZHWKLQNDERXWWKHIDFWZH¡GOLNH them to spend that every week for the next 40 years. If you do that, you think differently about how you engage them in the here and now. If someone brings back a can of EDNHGEHDQVWKDW¡VGHQWHGZDVLWGHQWHG when they bought it, did they dent it in WKHERRWRI WKHLUFDU",WGRHVQ¡WPDWWHU Because in the context of the lifetime buying of that customer, if they believe it was dented when they bought it, give them their money back and be happy

to give them their money back â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and run to the other side of the store to get WKHPDQRWKHUFDQ,I \RX¡UHWKLQNLQJ DERXWWKHPDVDOLIHWLPHFXVWRPHULW¡V a non-issue. I think sport has an issue about thinking about that longer term and the SUREOHPLVLW¡VGLIĂ&#x20AC;FXOWWRVHH²DQGRIWHQ WKHSHRSOHUHDSLQJWKHEHQHĂ&#x20AC;WIURPWKDW GHFLVLRQKHUHDQGQRZZRQ¡WEH\RXLW¡OO be your successors in perpetuity. Keep them coming

Tickets â&#x20AC;&#x201C; bums on seats â&#x20AC;&#x201C; are only part of the revenue function. Broadly speaking, the bigger the club, the smaller a part of the equation they are, and full stadia makes for better TV, better IRRWEDOO²,FDQ¡WEHOLHYHSOD\HUVHQMR\ playing in front of empty stands â&#x20AC;&#x201C; so there are many facets to why you would want to price to keep your stadium full. What the market will pay today may not be what is in the long-term interest. ,¡PQRWLQYROYHGLQDQ\IRRWEDOOFOXEV or know to the extent to which those conversations are taking place, but I watch football on television like the next man DQG,VHHORWVRI HPSW\VHDWV²DQG,GRQ¡W think empty seats are good for sport. Finish like Lineker

,WKLQNWKDW,WRRNDYLHZDQGWKHUH¡V been a lot of commentary since I left 6DLQVEXU\¡VWKDWWKHWLPHZDVULJKWIRU PHDQGWKHEXVLQHVV,¡GEHHQGRLQJWKH MREIRU\HDUVDQG,¡YHDFWXDOO\VDLG publicly that I subscribe to the Gary Lineker school of retirement â&#x20AC;&#x201C; go when \RX¡YHVWLOOJRWSOHQW\OHIWLQWKHWDQNEXW also give yourself the opportunity to go and do something different. Justin King was talking to SoccerexProâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s James Emmett






NORWAY With the Norwegian league season set to kick off in April, SoccerexPro takes a look at football in one of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s northernmost nations.


orway is a winter sports haven, as might be expected of a country northern enough to breach the Arctic Circle. Yet football is played more widely here than any other sport, and is the most-watched sport on television after the decidedly snowier pursuits of biathlon and cross-country skiing. Football in Norway is generally kept clear of the cold, with the league season running from April to November. The professional game is headed up by the 16-team Tippeligaen â&#x20AC;&#x201C; as the top-tier Eliteserien, or â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Elite Leagueâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, has been RIĂ&#x20AC;FLDOO\FDOOHGIRUVSRQVRUVKLSUHDVRQV VLQFH7KHWRSĂ LJKWZDVNQRZQDV the 1. Divisjon until then, having been established as a single ten-team league in 1963. Before that, the Hovedserien (â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Main Leagueâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;) and the Norgesserien (League of Norway) had brought together the best teams from the countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s regional leagues.

The second tier took on the 1. Divisjon name as the top tier surrendered it, and is also comprised of 16 teams. Below that, the 2. Divisjon and 3. Divisjon are divided into regional groups. Teams throughout the pyramid have contested the Norwegian Football Cup since 1902. Norway also boasts one of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leading womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s professional leagues, the 12-team Toppserien. Elite womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s football is strong in Norway, with the national team having won the Fifa Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s World Cup in 1995 and Olympic gold at Sydney 2000. They have enjoyed even greater success in the Uefa Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s European Championship, winning twice and reaching a further IRXUĂ&#x20AC;QDOVVLQFHWKHLQDXJXUDORIĂ&#x20AC;FLDO tournament in 1984. The menâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s team have proved more inconsistent through the decades, rarely matching even the modest

Broadcast The Tippeligaen is currently broadcast domestically on pay-TV channel TV2, which signed a three-year deal worth a reported US$270 million in late 2011. That contract runs until the end of the 2016 season. The Toppserien is carried on free-to-air network NRK. The Swedish-headquartered Modern Times Group holds the rights to the Uefa Champions League throughout Scandinavia, with games screened in Norway by TV3 Norway and Viasat 4. There has been plenty of competition in recent years for the rights to international football. In 2013 SBS Discovery nabbed coverage of the qualiďŹ ers for Uefa Euro 2016 and the 2018 Fifa World Cup, which are being shown on its TV Norge and Max channels. It also took the rights to four years of Norway friendly matches in May 2014. NRK and TV2, meanwhile, will show Euro 2016 itself. TV2 picked up a distribution deal with Real Madrid TV after the Spanish club signed 16-year-old Martin Ă&#x2DC;degaard (right) in January.

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achievements of neighbours Sweden and Denmark. Ranked 76 in the world at the time SoccerexPro went to SUHVV1RUZD\KDYHQRWTXDOLĂ&#x20AC;HGIRU a major tournament since Uefa Euro 2000. They have played in three Fifa World Cups â&#x20AC;&#x201C; in 1938, 1994 and 1998 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; with their participation in major tournaments coinciding with their most successful periods in the game. Norway won bronze at the 1936 Olympics while their team in the 1990s was coached by Egil Olsen, purveyor of a prosaic but productive direct style of play. The Norwegian Football Association, or Norges Fotballforbund (NFF), was founded in 1902 and became a Fifa member in 1908. Former Sogndal Fotball director Yngve Hallèn was elected president in 2010, while general secretary Kjetil Siem served as the chief executive of South Africaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Premier Soccer League from 2007 to 2010.

Tippeligaen club


Stadium (Capacity)

2014 finish

Key sponsors

Aalesunds FK


Color Line Stadion (10,778)


Umbro, Color Line, Sparebanken, Gmax, Tafjord

FK Bodø/Glimt


Aspmyra Stadion (7,354)


Diadora, SKS, Spare Bank, Bodø Energi, LNS

FK Haugesund


Haugesund Stadion (8,754)


Macron, Sparebanken Vest, Sysco, Haugaland Kraft

Lillestrøm SK


Åråsen Stadion (12,250)


Legea, Åkrene, Romerikes Blad, ØIE

Molde FK


Aker Stadion (11,800)


Nike, Sparebanken Møre, Hent, Bunnvoll, Bunnpris

Mjøndalen IF


Mjøndalen Stadion (4,700)

3rd in 1. Divisjon

Umbro, Validus, Sparebanken Øst

Odds BK


Skagerak Arena (12,500)


Warrior, ABB, SpareBank Telemark, Skagerak Energi, Varden

Rosenborg BK


Lerkendal Stadion (21,166)


Adidas, SpareBank1, Telenor, Scandic, Coop

Sandefjord Fotball


Komplett Arena (6,000)

1. Divisjon champions

Macron, Jotun, SpareBank1, Mat Børsen

Sarpsborg 08 Fotballforening


Sarpsborg Stadion (4,700)


Select, Borregaard, Info Tjenester

Stabæk Fotball


Nadderud Stadion (7,000)


Adidas, SpareBank1, AteaDirect, Budstikka, Barracuda

IK Start


Sør Arena (14,563)


Umbro, Sparebanken Sør, Telenor, Otera, LOS

Strømsgodset IF


Marienlyst Stadion (8,935)


Diadora, DNB, EB, OBAS, Enter

Tromsø IL


Alfheim Stadion (6,859)

2nd in 1. Divisjon

Select, SpareBank1, Bakehuset, Telenor, Nergard

Viking FK


Viking Stadion (16,300)


Diadora, Lyse, SpareBank1, Atea, Maersk

Vålerenga Fotball


Ullevaal Stadion (28,972)


Adidas, DNB, Atea, Huawei, Norsk Tipping


Rosenborg are Norway’s most successful club with 22 league titles in all

Sponsorship The Tippeligaen takes its name from a lengthy sponsorship deal between the NFF and Norsk Tipping, the national lottery brand. This year the 1. Divisjon will also have a title sponsor in OBOS, and will become the OBOS-ligaen. The housing group signed a six-year deal worth an annual US$1.68 million in January. Nike renewed its deal to supply kit to Norway’s national teams last September, signing a contract with the NFF until at least 2021. It sits in the top tier of NFF partners alongside the likes of Norsk Tipping and national team sponsors Bama and Statoil. Gjensidige sponsors the men’s side, with Telenor supporting the women. Other key partners include cup sponsor Thon Hotels, Canon and Coca-Cola, while the NFF has over 20 deals in other categories.

352,165 191,000

registered players unregistered players



IN FOOTBALL WE TRUST The Football League Trust has reached millions of young people across England, through the 72 member clubs of the Football League, since it was set up in 2007. As director of operations Mike Evans tells Eoin Connolly, it has become a meaningful source of change in communities throughout the country.


he story of Nkemjika Eka, a teenager from south-east London, begins in sadly familiar style. A talented young footballer, he was released by the academy at Charlton Athletic and slipped into a life without acceptance or direction. He was drawn into the local gang scene and a life blighted by crime seemed to beckon. It would have been easy from there to foresee a slide towards bitterness or even tragedy, but this is where Ekaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s story ticks upwards. On his way through the Greenwich Youth Offending Service, he was reunited with his former club â&#x20AC;&#x201C; this time in the form of the Charlton Athletic Community Trust. Eka served as a volunteer, undertook a National Citizenship Service (NCS) programme â&#x20AC;&#x201C; which teaches teenagers life skills and helps them understand their responsibilities to others â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and went on to mentor other young gang members. In July of last year he was named â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Outstanding Young Person of the Yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; at The Borough Civic Awards, issued by his local authority. Today, he is training for his coaching badges and studying at the University of Kent for a degree in Sports and Exercise Management.

The Football League Trust helps clubs deliver projects like the National Citizenship Service 18 |

Such a turnaround speaks well of many parties â&#x20AC;&#x201C; not least of Eka himself â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and none of it would have been possible without the funding of The Football League Trust. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Football League Trust was set up in 2007 to distribute funding from the Premier League and PFA â&#x20AC;&#x201C; from the football family, essentially â&#x20AC;&#x201C; to development and community workers in the 72 Football League clubs,â&#x20AC;? explains Mike Evans, the director of operations at the trust. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Since then the youth development side has kind of been spun off and brought back in line with the Premier League as part of the Elite Player Performance Plan academy network, and weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been left very much to concentrate on the community side of whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s happening at our 72 clubs.â&#x20AC;? Over 1.5 million people came into contact with projects backed by the trust in 2014, with football, as Evans puts it, providing â&#x20AC;&#x153;the hook to engage them in education programmes or inclusion programmes that normally they might not entertainâ&#x20AC;?. They have included, as well as Nkemjika Eka, the likes of Joe Williams, who broke free from homelessness and addiction through a National Health Service-backed Livewell community healthcare scheme in Nottingham. He has since played for Englandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s homeless football team and become a voluntary support worker. Another Livewell graduate, Lizzie Hunt of Derby, also overcame addiction to represent England at last yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Homeless World Cup in Chile. She had never played football before. Today, she runs pre-season training for non-league Alvaston United, is preparing to become a boxing coach, has set up a womenonly gym for those on the local Livewell programme, and is planning a future career in the sports industry.

These successes are repeated across the UK although, as Evans explains, it is the clubs themselves that take responsibility for the delivery of each project. The role of The Football League Trust itself, as well as circulating funding, is to provide guidance and a measure of quality control. â&#x20AC;&#x153;With our Premier League and PFA funding of UKÂŁ4 million weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re now a UKÂŁ14-15 million a year turnover operation,â&#x20AC;? Evans reveals, â&#x20AC;&#x153;with 28 members of staff working full-time to support the projects weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re delivering, support the clubs around good governance, charitable law, safeguarding, HR, registration, etc, and make sure all WKHFOXEWUXVWVDUHĂ&#x20AC;WIRUSXUSRVHÂľ There is also a degree of standardisation of the schemes run across the club trusts, with a number of national projects carried by all of them. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sometimes a club might opt out for whatever reason,â&#x20AC;? Evans notes, â&#x20AC;&#x153;but we have projects that all 72 clubs deliver.â&#x20AC;? The relationship between the central trust and the clubs can reap some FUHDWLYHEHQHĂ&#x20AC;WV/RFDOVXFFHVVVWRULHV FDQRIWHQĂ&#x20AC;QGQDWLRQDOUHOHYDQFH â&#x20AC;&#x153;Watford, for example, were running a very successful local project around healthy eating and exercise in schools,â&#x20AC;? recalls Evans, â&#x20AC;&#x153;and we linked up with a national partner, Ferrero, who were funding that project locally in Watford but wanted to take it national. So we worked together with Watford and Ferrero to develop it into a national programme, develop the resources that we could share with the clubs, so that we could take that good local practice and spread it out. â&#x20AC;&#x153;And quite a few of our projects start in that way: the project thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s worked well locally that the club might bring to us, or our regional managers will spot while weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re RXWDQGDERXWDQGZHWU\DQGĂ&#x20AC;QGZD\VWR

Staff and volunteers at the 72 Football League clubs, Championship side Norwich City among them, receive funding and guidance from the trust

IXQGWKDWWU\DQGĂ&#x20AC;QGQDWLRQDOVSRQVRUVVR we can take it up to the national level.â&#x20AC;? Evans himself joined The Football League Trust in 2008 from his role as commercial director at Cloverbrook Ltd, a textiles manufacturer which was at that time a sponsor of Burnley FC. It is a background which gives him a commercial perspective on his current role, from the transferable â&#x20AC;&#x153;commercial skills and contract skills and negotiation skillsâ&#x20AC;? he picked up, to his attitude to working with sponsors. In particular, he pays generous tribute to Ferrero, whose corporate practices have â&#x20AC;&#x153;helped lift us to another level since they became involvedâ&#x20AC;?, and to previous partner Npower. That said, the nature of the work The Football League Trust does creates challenges that do not exist elsewhere in the game. When it comes to working with the commercial sector, sensitivity is paramount. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t help when the title sponsor of the Football League is Sky Bet, for example,â&#x20AC;? admits Evans, â&#x20AC;&#x153;because it sort of limits us â&#x20AC;&#x201C; thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s nothing as a charity working with young people that we can really do to engage them, and that does make it a bit tricky, to be honest. But ZHWU\DQGĂ&#x20AC;QGRUJDQLVDWLRQVWKDWZH have a close match to, and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s interesting because some of the brands that are out there getting a good hammering â&#x20AC;&#x201C; your soft drinks companies, for example â&#x20AC;&#x201C; would look to get involved with us and sponsor us so we have to be very careful about the sort of projects that theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re looking at and how they want to engage with young people before we decide to engage in conversations with them.â&#x20AC;?

Still, the most powerful asset at the trustâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s disposal is probably that network of 72 local clubs, many of WKHPEDVHGLQDUHDVPRVWDIĂ LFWHGE\ mass unemployment, crime, and other major causes of disaffection among young people. For those running the programmes, it allows for a deeper reach than most other bodies could achieve. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Football League will always VHOOWKHEHQHĂ&#x20AC;WVRI WKDWWKHORFDOFOXEV working in the heart of their local communities,â&#x20AC;? says Evans. â&#x20AC;&#x153;By and large, theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not big global brands. We do some overseas work but by and large they are local projects delivered by coaches who have been brought up quite often in the communities that theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re delivering in and thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a real local bond there. That, for us, is a big advantage because the clubs and the communities know each other very well. â&#x20AC;&#x153;In terms of resources itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a challenge, absolutely, because some of those smaller clubs wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t always have the resources to be able to recruit or have all the systems in place that youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d like them to have as an organisation. Sometimes they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have the resources and we KDYHWRĂ&#x20AC;QGFUHDWLYHZD\VRI ZRUNLQJ with them and helping them with that. But to have 72 clubs and have that relationship with such a broad network across the country is a huge advantage, and we work with quite a number of Premier League clubs as well.â&#x20AC;? Among that top tier of clubs, naturally enough, are those promoted from the Football League. Evans speaks admiringly of the work of the Premier League, which puts its

considerable resources into â&#x20AC;&#x153;some fantastic programmesâ&#x20AC;?. The trust also works â&#x20AC;&#x153;very closelyâ&#x20AC;? with the Football Association (FA), which as Evans says approvingly is â&#x20AC;&#x153;constantly trying to drive standards on the football side, grassroots football, getting more women and girls involved in the game, getting more people with disabilities involved in the gameâ&#x20AC;?. Ultimately, though, Evans holds a huge amount of regard for the work done closest to home, and for the progress The Football League Trust has made in the past few years. It has grown, he believes, into one of the most reliable DQGVLJQLĂ&#x20AC;FDQWQDWLRQDOERGLHVLQLWVĂ&#x20AC;HOG â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our biggest-funded project at the moment, NCS, is something weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re extremely proud of,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We engage 8,000 young people on that programme every year. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an impactful programme where we work with those young people for long periods of time. It involves residentials, it involves giving them a real sense of whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s going on in their local community and really trying to get them to make a difference. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m proud of what weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve achieved on that project but also the fact that the government is still working with us on that. We compete with some big multinational organisations for those contracts, and weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re seen as a real key player in that, which keeps us right at the heart of the governmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s agenda for young people. So Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m proud of what weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve delivered and Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m also proud of the fact that we as an organisation are seen as a really serious player on that programme. That gives us a lot of satisfaction.â&#x20AC;? SOCCEREXPRO | 19

CONTINENTAL DRIFT At the end of January, less than a decade after joining the Asian Football Confederation, Australia were celebrating a ďŹ rst Asian Cup win on home soil. As Eoin Connolly learns, it was a victory which said much about footballâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s place in Australia, and Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s place in the world.


t is 2015 and the Australian national football team are champions of Asia. Unlikely, but true. They beat South .RUHDLQWKHĂ&#x20AC;QDOLQIURQWRI  a home crowd in Sydney. It was a 21st century football triumph, the kind that shows how the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s game is drawing its own borders. An Australian club side, Western Sydney Wanderers, are champions of the continent, too, after winning the AFC Champions League in November. A visitor from even a decade past would feel profoundly dislocated. Australia had long been a country DSDUW$JLDQWODQGRI P\VWHULRXVĂ RUD and fauna, set adrift. Its culture has always been infused with a sense of the unusual and in sport, its excellence has been tempered by some esoteric tastes â&#x20AC;&#x201C; not least for a primary football code played with rugby balls on cricket pitches. The â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;round-ball gameâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, as it is sometimes known on Antipodean shores, historically found barren soil here. Australia did not enter the Fifa World Cup until 1966 and did not qualify for WKHĂ&#x20AC;QDOVXQWLOWKHWRXUQDPHQWLQ West Germany, when a team of amateurs had a 0-0 draw with Chile and defeats to East Germany and the hosts to show for their lengthy round trip. 7KHDWWHPSWWRHPXODWHWKDWRXWĂ&#x20AC;W led to one of the most transformative moments in Australian sport, a decision whose effects will be felt for some time to come. In 2006, exasperated by its years of Oceanian isolation, Football Federation Australia (FFA) successfully petitioned for membership of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). That was

20 |

a move some decades in the making but LWZRXOGRQO\EHĂ&#x20AC;YH\HDUVEHIRUHWKH $)&DZDUGHGLWVĂ DJVKLSWRXUQDPHQW the Asian Cup, to its new recruit. Four years on from that, Australia is looking back at three weeks that showed football had found another new home. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Asian Cup was an amazing success,â&#x20AC;? says Football Federation Australia (FFA) chief executive David Gallop, â&#x20AC;&#x153;and indicative of the upwards trajectory Australian football is enjoying ERWKRQDQGRII WKHĂ&#x20AC;HOGÂľ Victory for the host nation always adds a layer of gloss to a major tournament EXWRII WKHĂ&#x20AC;HOGWKRVHWDVNHGZLWK making the Asian Cup happen have plenty of cause for vindication and pride. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I think on just about every measure, the event was judged a success and probably surpassed quite a few peoplesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; expectations,â&#x20AC;? says Mark Falvo, the chief RSHUDWLQJRIĂ&#x20AC;FHURI $)&$VLDQ&XS Australia 2015. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We obviously had great football. I think thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s in part because we created the perfect conditions for some excellent football. We had engaged with various different communities â&#x20AC;&#x201C; expatriate communities â&#x20AC;&#x201C; living within Australia, who were obviously very keen to get behind their teams once they landed and whilst they were playing some very important matches. â&#x20AC;&#x153;But I think, also, we always knew that the Australian market, as far as sporting events is concerned, is pretty reliable. The fans tend to respond if you put a special event before them and we had excellent attendances across the board, whether it was for the Australian national team or for every other team

Australia’s Tim Cahill shows off the Asian Cup trophy to supporters and the media after his country’s 2-1 win over South Korea at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium on 31st January SOCCEREXPRO | 21

â&#x20AC;&#x153;There is no doubt that Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s future, both from a sporting and business perspective, lies in Asia.â&#x20AC;? that played. We ended up averaging over 20,000 for every match. We had in excess of 650,000 spectators, which set a new record for the Asian Cup.â&#x20AC;? The raw numbers are impressive, even with many of them still to be compiled. 7KDWRYHUDOODWWHQGDQFHĂ&#x20AC;JXUHVXUSDVVHG a goal of 500,000 long trumpeted by LOC chief executive Michael Brown to a sometimes sceptical public. Even that, Falvo reveals, was a â&#x20AC;&#x153;stretch targetâ&#x20AC;?, with the sale of 350,000 tickets actually required to break even. Eight matches sold out completely, three of them not featuring the host nation, and over IDQVĂ&#x20AC;OOHG6\GQH\¡V6WDGLXP $XVWUDOLDIRUWKHĂ&#x20AC;QDO ,QWHUQDWLRQDOYLHZLQJĂ&#x20AC;JXUHVKDYHQRW \HWEHHQUDWLĂ&#x20AC;HGEXWLQ$XVWUDOLD²ZKHUH free-to-air ABC sublicensed rights to key games from pay-TV Fox Sports â&#x20AC;&#x201C; over Ă&#x20AC;YHPLOOLRQSHRSOHVDZVRPHSDUWRI WKH Ă&#x20AC;QDO7KLVZDVGHVSLWHWKHIDFWWKDWLQ Victoria, ABC was instead showing live coverage of the state election results. But perhaps more powerful than the statistics is the sense that football in Australia, and Australian football in Asia, will be markedly changed by the experience. Fifa president Sepp Blatterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s VXJJHVWLRQRQWKHHYHRI WKHĂ&#x20AC;QDOWKDW â&#x20AC;&#x153;Australia could and should organise the World Cupâ&#x20AC;? may have brushed a tender wound after 2010â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s bidding controversies, but it also pointed to a future of bigger things for football in the country. That all lies ahead. The present is wrapped up in the â&#x20AC;&#x153;brutal businessâ&#x20AC;? of rapidly dismantling an operation that has now served its purpose. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We went from VWDII ZKHQWKHĂ&#x20AC;QDOPDWFKZDVEHLQJ hosted to now about 20 to 25 staff, so the wrap-up is well and truly underway,â&#x20AC;? says Falvo, speaking to SoccerexPro in midFebruary. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got out of every single YHQXHQRZZKLFKLVZHOODQGWUXO\RIĂ LQH and weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve made good all the temporary works that were made at every venue. 22 |

Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re doing all of the reconciliations as far as all the travel and accommodation and logistics is concerned, and still FRXQWLQJXSDOOWKHĂ&#x20AC;QDOQXPEHUVIURPD Ă&#x20AC;QDQFLDOSRLQWRI YLHZÂľ $Ă&#x20AC;QDOERDUGPHHWLQJLVVFKHGXOHG for April, by which point many will be settling into new roles at other organisations. Falvo will return to the FFA, where he will be â&#x20AC;&#x153;assuming a head of international affairs and government relations role, with special project work thrown in for good measureâ&#x20AC;?. Falvoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new remit is telling. Entry into the AFC has, as Gallop puts it, â&#x20AC;&#x153;allowed all of our teams, through the male and female, junior and senior ranks, to be exposed to more football tournaments that will assist our development as a football nationâ&#x20AC;?. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There is no doubt that Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s future,â&#x20AC;? adds Gallop, â&#x20AC;&#x153;both from a sporting and business perspective, lies in Asia and football is a great conduit to improving those ties.â&#x20AC;?

South Koreaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s quarter-ďŹ nal with Uzbekistan was one of three sell-out games without Australia

The national government had already bought into the concept of using football as a means of furthering international relations before the tournament when it launched Match Australia, a business networking programme running through the Asian Cup and Cricket World Cup aimed at opportunities across trade, investment, education and tourism. Now, the intention is to build on that. ´7KHUH¡VGHĂ&#x20AC;QLWHO\DZKROHLQLWLDWLYH around football diplomacy around the Asian Cup that we want to see continue,â&#x20AC;? UHYHDOV)DOYR´7KDW¡VWKHSHUIHFWĂ&#x20AC;W I suppose, as far as my portfolio goes because a lot of the initiatives rely on the strong support of the Australian government â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and the Australian government will shortly be launching a sports diplomacy package or strategy LQWKHQH[WIHZZHHNV6RGHĂ&#x20AC;QLWHO\ the Asian Cup has highlighted the opportunity that sports presents, and particularly football, to further national interests abroad and thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s something that we want to continue.â&#x20AC;? In purely footballing terms, Australia is anxious to promote itself as a good citizen, or in Falvoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s words, â&#x20AC;&#x153;an active player and an active contributor to Asian footballâ&#x20AC;?. On a practical level, that means passing on the lessons of a tournament which has â&#x20AC;&#x153;set a new benchmarkâ&#x20AC;? for the Asian Cup. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s something that Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m keen and the FFA is keen to share with other member associations within the AFC so that perhaps some of the initiatives that we undertook can also be implemented,â&#x20AC;? says Falvo. â&#x20AC;&#x153;But I think even from a technical point of view thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s knowledge-sharing and sharing of best practice that I know Australia is keen to undertake. Already, and for many years, there have been programmes that Australia has been supporting in other parts of Asia. For example, in India we were supporting the roll-out of grassroots coaching and participation programmes. So I think Australia has been an active player for a number of years.â&#x20AC;? Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s contribution to the confederation drew unexpected questions MXVWEHIRUH-DQXDU\¡VĂ&#x20AC;QDOZLWKWKH$)&¡V Bahraini president Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa apparently telling UAE newspaper Al-Ittihad: â&#x20AC;&#x153;There are indications that prove that such desire exists among the confederations of west

Asia to evict Australia [from the AFC]. But I also know that the Arabs are not the only ones who are not convinced that Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s membership in Asiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s football is feasible.â&#x20AC;? When those comments were reported in Australia, where Al Khalifa was seeing out the last week of the competition, his â&#x20AC;&#x153;stunnedâ&#x20AC;? reaction was that his words had been â&#x20AC;&#x153;manipulatedâ&#x20AC;?. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The success of this tournament has exceeded our expectations,â&#x20AC;? he told the Herald Sun. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t let a story like this affect the success of the tournament we had in Australia.â&#x20AC;? Whatever confusion may have been FDXVHG*DOORSLVVDWLVĂ&#x20AC;HGWKDW$XVWUDOLD¡V place in Asian football is not under review. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Those media reports were quashed pretty quickly and emphatically by the AFC,â&#x20AC;? he says, â&#x20AC;&#x153;and we believe the way we welcomed Asia to our country and hosted a tremendous AFC Asian Cup proves that there is mutual EHQHĂ&#x20AC;WIRUWKHH[LVWLQJ$VLDQQDWLRQV and Australia in working together to help grow the game in the Asian region.â&#x20AC;? Falvo points to the successes of a tournament that â&#x20AC;&#x153;has been acknowledged by many within the AFC â&#x20AC;&#x201C; at the most senior levels â&#x20AC;&#x201C; as clearly being the most successful Asian Cup in historyâ&#x20AC;?. It LVQRWMXVWWKHRSHUDWLRQDORUĂ&#x20AC;QDQFLDO achievements that will be remembered. 7KHUHZDVWKHĂ&#x20AC;UVWDSSHDUDQFHIRU Palestine at an international football tournament, with a goal for Jaka Ihbeisheh against Jordan to answer the 11 conceded by the debutants in their WKUHHJURXSJDPHV,QWKHTXDUWHUĂ&#x20AC;QDOV bitter rivals Iran and Iraq played out a 3-3 draw that piled drama upon drama, with even the subsequent penalty shootout taking on an epic dimension. Iraq ZRQLW All of this was greeted with an unprecedented Australian enthusiasm for football. Even the most unheralded Ă&#x20AC;[WXUHVIRXQGDQDXGLHQFH²1RUWK .RUHD¡VĂ&#x20AC;UVWURXQGPHHWLQJZLWK Uzbekistan, which brought together two teams with few links to their hosts, still brought over 12,000 fans out in torrential rain to Sydneyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ANZ Stadium â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and several nations stirred a fervent local following. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I mean, I was at one match in Sydney â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Iran against Qatar â&#x20AC;&#x201C; sitting next to the AFC president,â&#x20AC;? recalls Falvo, â&#x20AC;&#x153;and

Iraqâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Dhurgham Ismael Dawood consoles Iranâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Sardar Azmoun after their quarter-ďŹ nal in Canberra

he turned to me and said: â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t tell whether Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m in Sydney or in Tehran.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; There was a pretty lively atmosphere!â&#x20AC;? If this suggests that Australia is settling into Asian football, it also gives an impression of how it might develop as a football nation. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I think that as far as our expatriate communities and Australians with an Asian heritage living in Australia,â&#x20AC;? says Falvo, â&#x20AC;&#x153;it highlights that thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a huge appetite for sport and for football, and I think that thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a learning there, perhaps, for A-League clubs and also for the FFA when it comes to the Socceroos SOD\LQJ:RUOG&XSTXDOLĂ&#x20AC;HUVDJDLQVW other Asian nations. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an opportunity to create a really special environment in a stadium because these communities are so SDVVLRQDWHDERXWIRRWEDOOLWLVWKHLUĂ&#x20AC;UVW ORYH,WKLQNSHUKDSVWKLVLVWKHĂ&#x20AC;UVWWLPH that weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve proactively tried to engage these communities and the results, in the end, were spectacular, so thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s something that needs to continue. All football stakeholders need to be focused on it â&#x20AC;&#x201C; not just FFA but A League clubs and the state federations, for example.â&#x20AC;? A decision will be made later this year on the hosts of the 2019 Asian Cup, with the UAE reportedly likely to get the nod ahead of a bid from Iran. The WRXUQDPHQWZLOOH[SDQGWRWHDPV matching the development of the Uefa

European Championship. It will be a EXV\SHUKDSVHYHQGHĂ&#x20AC;QLQJSHULRGIRU Asia and the AFC in the interim. The ongoing battles over the staging of the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar will dominate, but there is also a changing club football landscape to consider and DĂ&#x20AC;UVWPDMRUJOREDOWRXUQDPHQWIRUWKH continentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s second-biggest country: the )LID8:RUOG&XSLQ,QGLDLQ On the pitch, there will also be the task of responding to a collectively poor showing at last yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s World Cup, where no Asian teams made the second round. For the champions, triumph in -DQXDU\PHDQVSDVVDJHWRWKH)LID Confederations Cup dress rehearsal in Russia. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Confederations Cup offers Ange Postecoglou and his staff a tremendous opportunity to test themselves on the international stage,â&#x20AC;? says Gallop. â&#x20AC;&#x153;While we are acutely aware we still need to qualify for the 2018 Fifa World Cup, the Confederations Cup is a great way to prepare for the World Cup by playing big games against top nations in the same stadiums and conditions that we will face should we qualify for the World Cup in Russia.â&#x20AC;? )DOYREHOLHYHVWKHLQĂ XHQFHRI  Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Asian Cup performance will stem from more than the result. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I think we did see the birth of a new playing style for Australia,â&#x20AC;? he argues, â&#x20AC;&#x153;one that is consistent with the national SOCCEREXPRO | 23

Clubbing together


t did not take a successful Asian Cup to prove that football is the most popular game in the world’s most populous continent. Nor will it have escaped the notice of many within the sports industry that Asia is home to several of the world’s most rapidly emerging markets, and some of its biggest. Yet those charged with developing club football may be concerned that all of that interest – and money – is not be being sent in the appropriate direction. Enthusiasm for Europe’s major leagues has played its role in spreading football across Asia but it creates a significant challenge for the local domestic competitions. At last year’s Soccerex Asian Forum in Jordan, Dentsu Sports Asia president and chief executive Kunihito Morimura noted the huge disparity between the broadcast rights fees commanded by the Premier League and those secured by national leagues in south-east Asia. In Thailand, for example, the estimated US$100 million paid to screen England’s top flight from 2013/14 to 2016/17 dwarfed the figure of around US$1 million it cost to air the Thai Premier League. The pattern is repeated from the Middle East to Morimura’s native Japan – whose J League, while a relative success story, is still being treated to to a commercial overhaul by Dentsu. The trend is further compounded by the presence in so many growth markets of large communities of expats. But while Asia’s football leagues may never match the global significance or earning power of their European

counterparts, plans are still underway in several countries to at least rebalance the scales. In Malaysia, where the last set of Premier League rights were sold to Astro Malaysia Holdings for an estimated US$240 million, the first concerted effort to develop the local Malaysia Super League was heralded in January. The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) confirmed a 30year deal with MP & Silva, which will become a ‘global advisor’ with a remit to find improvements in everything from media rights sales to “production and technical services”. The agency will create a new entity, Football Malaysia Limited Liability Partnership (FMLLP), to develop a new commercial strategy and implement media distribution, and the collaboration extends to other FAM competitions like the Malaysia Premier League, Malaysia Cup and Piala Sumbangsih Match. Announcing the deal, FAM president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah spoke excitedly of a “new era”, and of MP & Silva’s “high-level of professionalism, expertise and international experience that instantly elevates our organisation”. There are echoes in this partnership of the one agreed by the All-India Football Federation (AIFF) and IMGReliance in 2010, which bore its richest fruit over recent months with the launch of the Indian Super League (ISL). The inaugural season of the ISL would not have had too many Uefa Champions League sides quivering but was a success in almost every respect:

generating international interest, stimulating commercial investment and, crucially, bringing in crowds averaging 24,537. That figure is bettered only by La Liga, the Bundesliga and the Premier League, although it encompasses a short burst of games. The ISL model is one that will appeal to national associations across Asia but its early promise cannot distract from the other challenges at hand for the AIFF. At some point a decision will need to be made about the rickety I-League, which will sit alongside its glitzier cousin for the time being. What the national body needs to address, essentially, is the best way of developing a club system capable of accommodating Alessandro del Piero and incubating generations of highquality Indian players. “There is no doubt that the growth of the Hyundai A-League has been a strong pillar in the development of football in Australia,” says FFA chief executive David Gallop of the Asian champions’ top flight. “It has given young footballers a career path to aspire to and you only have to look at the fact that there is an increasing number of players selected in Socceroos squads from the A-League to see the benefits for the game. The team that won the 2015 AFC Asian Cup had seven players who currently play in the A-League with 18 of the squad having played in the domestic competition during their careers.” It will be that success, as well as the Asian Cup win, that other Asian nations want to emulate.

psyche to have a go and be a bit more adventurous, and that was met with a very positive reaction from fans. That is the philosophy that will be applied across the board, down the youth and national team structure, so we’re on the cusp of a really exciting period in the way that football is played in Australia.” Certainly, Australia’s victory raises questions of just how much football can become a part of the national culture. Only a fortnight after Mile Jedinak had

hoisted the Asian Cup trophy above his head in Sydney, his countrymen were gleefully hailing their cricketers’ evisceration of the old enemy, England, in the opening game of the Cricket World Cup in Melbourne. It says much about the density of Australian sport that football’s emergence could be obscured by a more established discipline in the very same summer. For Gallop, this “competition for the hearts and minds” of Australian

sports fans is nothing new, and football has been “enjoying increased support and success through a cluttered sports calendar before the Asian Cup and will do that in the future”. Falvo concurs. “The public tend to lap them up,” he says of major events in Australia. “But I do think that the levels of passion and the levels of enthusiasm that we saw in those 32 matches was something else, so to be able to compare that kind of fan experience across the

24 |

Western Sydney Wanderers fans welcome their team home after the AFC Champions League ďŹ nal

board will be interesting at the end of the day. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll see how they all stack up.â&#x20AC;? Interestingly, the early weeks of cricketâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s marathon championship brought further signs of the greater $VLDQLQĂ XHQFHRQ$XVWUDOLDQVSRUW ZLWKWKHFRQWLQHQW¡VĂ&#x20AC;YHWHDPVDOO drawing strong matchday support from visitors, expats and Asian-Australians. Both India and Australia were granted group stage matches at the giant Melbourne Cricket Ground, against South Africa and England respectively. Both games played to crowds well in excess of 80,000 but the attendance for Indiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s game was actually slightly larger ²WR The Cricket World Cupâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s scale and status as a global tournament means that a direct comparison is unlikely to yield much further insight but in the long run, the ambition for the FFA is to challenge the pre-eminence of cricket, Australian rules football and the rugby codes. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have ambitious plans to become the number one sport in Australia and we believe that with our current growth trajectory this is an attainable goal,â&#x20AC;? says Gallop. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Football Federation Australia has undertaken a widespread consultative process to compile a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Whole of Football Planâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; to ensure all stakeholders in the game unite to drive the future of the sport for the coming years and decades.â&#x20AC;? At the grassroots, football may be there already. The latest edition of Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s triennial gemba Active

Sports Participation (gASP) study reported that an estimated 1.96 million people played the game. For Falvo, however, this â&#x20AC;&#x153;huge participation baseâ&#x20AC;? is â&#x20AC;&#x153;a blessing and a challenge as well because it means that now there are a lot of mouths to feed and a lot of work that needs to happen at the base of the pyramid, whether it be investing in facilities or insuring that grassroots coaches are better equipped to deliver an exciting and informative experience for young footballersâ&#x20AC;?. Already, the FFA and local organising committee have begun the transition into legacy mode for the Asian Cup, with initiatives ranging from a schools curriculum programme to multicultural communities projects bedded in for the long term. Falvo also expects the tournament to bequeath a physical, tangible inheritance to Australian football. â&#x20AC;&#x153;From a legacy point of view,â&#x20AC;? he explains, â&#x20AC;&#x153;we wanted to ensure that we spent some of our funds on improving facilities that not only would play a part in the Asian Cup competition but also serve as a focus for the football community after the event. The vast majority â&#x20AC;&#x201C; virtually all â&#x20AC;&#x201C; of our training sites fall within the realm of facilities used by football clubs nationally, so in the end we spent millions of dollars improving facilities there. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We were also able to leverage the Asian Cup to unlock more funding, substantially from government, in

other facilities that in the end served to accommodate teams prior to the tournament. For example, in Ballarat there was a new stadium developed ZKLFKVDZ$86PLOOLRQRU$86 million worth of federal government money invested, and in the end that hosted Bahrain. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll serve a purpose, for example, in hosting FFA Cup matches and other matches in the National Premier League in Victoria. Similarly, in northern New South Wales there was a new home of football there with in excess of AUS$10 million spent, again with the intention of attracting Asian club teams and international teams there to train there in the future.â&#x20AC;? However far football can go, the transformation of the sport has been startling. In around a generation, Australia has gone from being a footballing outpost, newsworthy largely for its part in lop-sided qualifying PDWFKHVZLWKWLQ\3DFLĂ&#x20AC;FLVODQGVWRD FRXQWU\ZKLFKLVDUHJXODUĂ&#x20AC;[WXUHDWWKH Fifa World Cup and boasts the leading WHDPLQDFRQWLQHQWRI ELOOLRQ people. Australian football has built a community and an identity. Falvo notes that the Australian football authorities â&#x20AC;&#x153;need to ensure that the A-League continues to attract new fans, new supporters, new members; that the quality of football continues to rise; that clubs continue to become more professional and expand their operationsâ&#x20AC;?. But even that development has taken the sport further than seemed likely a decade ago. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The growth of the A-League has given football a year-round footprint in the Australian mainstream sporting landscape,â&#x20AC;? suggests Gallop. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Whereas previously the Socceroos captured the publicâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s attention every four years, we now have constant exposure on both the domestic and international level. The A-League has also nurtured a deep football passion amongst young sports fans that will continue through the generations to come. From a commercial SHUVSHFWLYHLWKDVDOVREURXJKWVLJQLĂ&#x20AC;FDQW investment into the game, which we can use to continue the growth of football into the future.â&#x20AC;? There is plenty of work ahead but Australia is moving from the edge of the Earth towards the centre of the football world. SOCCEREXPRO | 25

Shuji Kajiyama/AP/ Press Association Images

The Dentsu agency has been brought in to harness the popularity of football in Japan and turn the J League into a commercial force

BIGGER IN JAPAN Japanese football has risen steadily in recent decades but in the J League, commercial progress has come in ďŹ ts and starts. Now, as James Emmett discovers on a visit to Consadole Sapporo and in conversation with Dentsuâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Hiroshi Mochizuki, sustainable growth could be underway.


he J League turns 23 in 2015. Founded as an attempt to monetise a burgeoning group of sports consumers hooked on baseball and little else, as well as an effort to raise the quality of the -DSDQHVHQDWLRQDOWHDP-DSDQ¡VĂ&#x20AC;UVW professional football league kicked off its debut season â&#x20AC;&#x201C; with ten clubs â&#x20AC;&#x201C; on 15th May 1993. Novelty and exotic foreign stars saw an initial kick of popularity. In 1994, average attendances in the J League were around %\KRZHYHUWKDWĂ&#x20AC;JXUHKDG dipped to just above 10,000. The 2002 Fifa World Cup, held jointly between Japan and South Korea, was another catalyst for the J League. Matchday attendance and, crucially, exposure on terrestrial television both grew.

26 |

League administrators, in tandem with the Japanese Football Association (JFA), established the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;J League One Hundred Year Visionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, a grand plan to found and sustain 100 professional clubs across Japan by 2092. Accordingly, the league was expanded, ultimately to incorporate 18 WHDPVLQWKHWRSĂ LJKWZLWKWZRIXUWKHU divisions beneath. But still popularity, and UHYHQXHJURZWKFDPHLQĂ&#x20AC;WVDQGEXUVWV By 2013, league administrators realised they had a problem. Locked into a restrictive and exclusive long-term deal with pay-TV broadcaster Sky PerfecTV!, and with top Japanese players leaving to play abroad as soon as they could, growth had stalled. When growth stalls in the Japanese sports industry, normally there is just one call to make: to Tokyo-based Dentsu, the

largest advertising agency in the world. Already working with most of the major properties across Japanese sport, including Nippon Professional Baseball and several of its most successful teams, and the JFA, Dentsu got the call from the J League WRZDUGVWKHHQGRI $Ă&#x20AC;YH\HDUGHDO that would see the agency become the RIĂ&#x20AC;FLDOPDUNHWLQJSDUWQHURI WKHOHDJXH was signed in December that year. 6SHFLĂ&#x20AC;FDOO\WDVNHGZLWKJURZLQJ sponsorship and marketing revenues for the league â&#x20AC;&#x201C; which stood at around US$30 million a year as of 2013 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Dentsu was able to call on a fully formed in-house football division, already in service IXOĂ&#x20AC;OOLQJDVLPLODUIXQFWLRQIRUWKH-)$ and the Japanese national teams. Led by general manager Hiroshi Mochizuki, who returned to Tokyo in May 2012 having

VSHQWDOPRVWĂ&#x20AC;YH\HDUVDVFKLHI H[HFXWLYH of Dentsu Sports Europe, a team of 35 Dentsu marketers set about restructuring the J Leagueâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s commercial set-up. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The J League has never had a title sponsor,â&#x20AC;? explains Mochizuki, â&#x20AC;&#x153;and one of the ideas that we brought to the J League was to have one, like the Premier League has with Barclays.â&#x20AC;? The J League had been operating a two-tiered system of partnership at the time Dentsu was brought in, with seven top-tier partners and nine in the secondary category. All 16 companies were approached by Mochizuki and his team, who explained the new set-up and that there would be another layer of sponsorship rights carved out above them. Konami, Calbee and McDonaldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s all opted not to renew their top-tier deals ahead of the 2015 season. A secondtier sponsor, however, was particularly impressed with Dentsuâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s plan. MeijiYasuda, formed in 2004 through a merger between Yasuda Life, one of the oldest insurers in Japan, and Meiji Life, had signed a small deal with the J League for the 2014 season. With 52 teams across three divisions stretching from Sapporo in the north to Nagasaki in the south, a J League-wide deal made sense for the company, which was about to embark on a nationwide marketing campaign. â&#x20AC;&#x153;When we were speaking with all the existing sponsors, we found out that Meiji-Yasuda were interested in doing a bigger deal,â&#x20AC;? reveals Mochizuki, whose colleagues in another department at 'HQWVXDUHEXV\Ă&#x20AC;QGLQJVSRQVRUVIRU the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to make up the US$1.5 billion sum Dentsu has guaranteed the organisers in local sponsorship. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Actually, there is some LQĂ XHQFHIURPWKH2O\PSLF Games. We already have a securities company lined up as a local Olympic sponsor, a competitor of Meiji-Yasudaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s called Nissay. So Meiji-Yasuda cannot become the Olympic sponsor due to this company. But with the Olympics coming up they wanted to do something in sports, and they decided to do J League. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We brought this proposal to them in the summer of 2014; we had some discussions, negotiations, coordinations between August and November, and then they decided to take the deal in the beginning of December,â&#x20AC;? adds Mochizuki, ZKRFDQQRWUHYHDOĂ&#x20AC;QDQFLDOGHWDLOVEXW

â&#x20AC;&#x153;There is a bit of a problem with the J League: they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have ratings anywhere near the national team.â&#x20AC;? does say that the deal will last for four years, until the same 2018 date that Dentsuâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s own J League contract expires. He also says that the initial price Dentsu had been seeking for the package â&#x20AC;&#x201C; before negotiation â&#x20AC;&#x201C; was US$25 million a year. In order to get anywhere near that Ă&#x20AC;QDQFLDOEDOOSDUN'HQWVXKDGWRFRQYLQFH the J League and its teams to make some unique concessions. Firstly, it convinced WKH-/HDJXHWRRIIHUDVSHFLĂ&#x20AC;FVOLFHRI LWV total sponsorship revenue to the clubs, in return for a commitment that none of the clubs would sign their own insurance partner. With category exclusivity â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a rare commodity in Japanese sponsorship â&#x20AC;&#x201C; secured, it then became a question of building out the rights package. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Of course they get exposure from the name and from every match,â&#x20AC;? says Mochizuki. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They get tickets, hospitality, and they get some rights from clubs, too. For example, theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be the sponsor of the mascot escort teams that come with WKHSOD\HUVZKHQWKH\HQWHUWKHĂ&#x20AC;HOG They also get football clinics. MeijiYasuda has a lot of clients with kids, so the clubs will provide football lessons for kids. They will get their logo as part of a composite J League logo, too.â&#x20AC;? With the Meiji-Yasuda deal in the bag, Dentsu were also able to sign two new sponsors in the category below the title deal in mobile phone game company Polopl and business hotel chain Route Inn Hotels. With â&#x20AC;&#x153;a couple more dealsâ&#x20AC;? to come, Dentsu has already lifted the J Leagueâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s total annual sponsorship revenue to â&#x20AC;&#x153;between US$40 million and US$50 millionâ&#x20AC;?. As the beginning of the 2015 J League season approaches in early March, it is not just the commercial structure that has been tweaked. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Japanese national team is doing really well,â&#x20AC;? says Mochizuki. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The TV ratings are really good. But there is a bit of a problem with the J League: they

donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have ratings anywhere near the national team.â&#x20AC;? According to Mochizuki, the leagueâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s long-term deal with SkyPerfecTV! is hamstringing its commercial potential. Viewers, in their numbers, are simply not interested enough in the product to subscribe to what is one of many pay-TV RSWLRQVLQ-DSDQ´:H¡UHQRWVDWLVĂ&#x20AC;HGZLWK the exposure or the distribution of the programming,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s why we need to do it ourselves in the near future.â&#x20AC;? Before Dentsu has the opportunity to KDYHDQLQĂ XHQFHRQWKHPHGLDULJKWV it has encouraged the J League to take a leaf out of its own book in an effort to Ă&#x20AC;QGPRUHGRPHVWLFYLHZHUV Until 2004, a J League season was divided into two sub-seasons, with the champions of each sub-season facing each RWKHULQDĂ&#x20AC;QDOHWRGHFLGHWKHXOWLPDWH championship. The system was abolished from the 2005 season in favour of a more traditional European-style model, largely because in both 2002 and 2003 the same team â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Jubilo Iwata and then Yokohama Marinos â&#x20AC;&#x201C; won both sub-seasons, eliminating the need for a climactic decider. From 2015, there will be a return, of sorts, to the sub-season system, with a climactic play-off stage involving at least four teams. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The J League thought they would have these three peaks to open the competition up to more viewers,â&#x20AC;? says Mochizuki. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If you do only one stage, there is only one chance that people will know who won that season. If there are two stages, people might pay DWWHQWLRQWRWKHHQGRI WKHĂ&#x20AC;UVWVWDJH end of the second stage, and then the championship. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s giving momentum to the viewers as many times as possible.â&#x20AC;? Under the Dome Yoshikazu Nonomura climbs down from his four-by-four in the car park of the Sapporo Dome. It is pelting rain outside and the cold front that signals SOCCEREXPRO | 27

28 |

KOJI SASAHARA/AP/Press Association Images

Consadole Sapporo have generated media interest by signing ageing stars like Shinji Ono

both at an individual and corporate level. The only professional football club on Hokkaido, Consadole Sapporo are owned by a collection of local businesspeople and fans. The single largest shareholder â&#x20AC;&#x201C; with 35 per cent â&#x20AC;&#x201C; is a fan group from Hokkaido. The second â&#x20AC;&#x201C; with between 20 and 25 per cent â&#x20AC;&#x201C; is a Hokkaido biscuit manufacturer called Ishiya. Ishiya is also the main sponsor of the team, paying JPÂĽ200 million (US$1.7 million) a year to have the logo of its Ă DJVKLS6KLURL.RLELWRZKLWHELVFXLW brand on the front of the Consadole shirts. In total, Nonomura reveals, the club generate around JPÂĽ600 million (US$5.1 million) in sponsorship every year, and JPÂĽ400 million (US$3.4 million) in ticket sales. J2 teams receive around JPÂĽ100 million (US$840,000) from the J Leagueâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s central TV pot each \HDUEXWWKDWĂ&#x20AC;JXUHRQO\JRHVXSWR JPÂĽ200 million (US$1.7 million) in J1. Under Nonomuraâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s watch, the number of sponsors in the teamâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s portfolio has

Chitose Suzuki/AP/ Press Association Images

the arrival of winter proper in Japanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s snowy northernmost island of Hokkaido has arrived. Nonomura is the president of Consadole Sapporo, a J League yo-yo club if ever there was one. The team have been relegated from J1 more times than any other and, with two titles under their belt, have won J2 more often than any other, too. Nonomura, however, is one of the most forward-thinking presidents in the -/HDJXHDQGKLVDPELWLRQVDUHVHWĂ&#x20AC;UPO\ on J1 and international renown. A player, in his youth, with Jeff United and Consadole themselves, Nonomura became the youngest president and chief executive in Japanese sport â&#x20AC;&#x201C; possibly Japanese business as a whole â&#x20AC;&#x201C; when he assumed the role as a 40-year-old in March 2013. The only player to graduate to the executive ranks in Japanese football, he has already built himself a reputation as a sharp marketer and a man willing to break the mould of tradition that often sets across many aspects of Japanese life. â&#x20AC;&#x153;In Japan, most people put emphasis on winning or losing, and probably thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the same in England, too; here winning and losing is the ultimate thing, but thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s too black and white for me,â&#x20AC;? Nonomura says over a jet-black coffee within the ZDUPEXWDXVWHUHZDOOVRI KLVRIĂ&#x20AC;FHLQ the undercarriage of the Sapporo Dome, a Fifa World Cup stadium in 2002 and still one of the most technologically advanced venues in world sport. â&#x20AC;&#x153;In order to win, we need budget. From my perspective, money has to FRPHĂ&#x20AC;UVWVRWKDWZHFDQZLQ%XW,XVHG to be a player and at that point I thought players were the priority!â&#x20AC;? Nonomuraâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mandate when he accepted the post almost two years ago was to maintain performance, while wiping the clubâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s debt. Operating on a budget of around US$12 million a season, Consadole are typical of a club in the second tier of the Japanese league system (J1 teams operate on between US$30 million and US$50 million a season). â&#x20AC;&#x153;In order to become a member of J1,â&#x20AC;? Nonomura explains, â&#x20AC;&#x153;we canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have DGHĂ&#x20AC;FLWDWDOO7KHUHLVDKLJKSRVVLELOLW\ that I can get to zero next season.â&#x20AC;? In order to achieve that goal, Nonomura has focused on forging tighter links between the club and the community,

Consadoleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s loan of Vietnamâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Le Cong Vinh was major news in the playerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s home country

grown to a staggering 400, ranging from Ishiya at the top end to small companies paying around JPÂĽ50,000 (US$425) for a one-off promotional opportunity. As far as the president is concerned, every little helps. â&#x20AC;&#x153;People need to acknowledge that there is value in putting money into Consadole,â&#x20AC;? Nonomura says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have to publicise better how much value there is here, and we have to give our best efforts to have other people acknowledge that value. For that, the media is very important. In Hokkaido, probably baseball is the main sport or entertainment. The sports column of the newspapers, most of it is occupied by baseball and only a small segment for soccer. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d like this to be even. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If it gets to 50-50, we can be bigger WKDQEDVHEDOO,W¡VYHU\GLIĂ&#x20AC;FXOWQRZ6R I try to get our news in the sports pages, yes, but also in the economy and civil VRFLHW\SDJHV7KHUHWKH\GRQ¡WĂ&#x20AC;OOWKHLU space with baseball. So if something happens in the space of the business area here at the club, then probably we can get that news on the economic pages of the newspaper.â&#x20AC;? The strategy is bearing fruit. In 2013, Consadole signed Vietnamese forward /H&RQJ9LQKRQORDQ$VWKHĂ&#x20AC;UVW Vietnamese player to play in Japan, he made the sports pages in both countries. But when the loan came to an end and Nonomura declared that, after paying Le Cong Vinhâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wages, the club had made DSURĂ&#x20AC;WRI -3Â&#x2013;PLOOLRQ 86  on the deal by signing a batch of Vietnamese sponsors, Consadole made the business pages, too. And when Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe visited his Vietnamese counterpart that year and mentioned the deal as evidence of the growing ties between the two nations, Le Cong Vinh and Consadole made the news again. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Until I became president, Consadole was selling sponsorship itself, but now we are starting to do things with Dentsu,â&#x20AC;? Nonomura says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We want to go more towards that direction. Mochizuki-san and some other friends, I am asking them to buy all Consadoleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sponsorship for JPÂĽ700 million yen (US$5.9 million). They wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t do it yet!â&#x20AC;? For his part, Mochizuki is circumspect. ´&RXOGEHDGLIĂ&#x20AC;FXOWVHOOÂľKHVD\V â&#x20AC;&#x153;Maybe we can do it in the future.â&#x20AC;? But he is happy to report that Nonomuraâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

Built for the 2002 Fifa World Cup, the Sapporo Dome remains highly technologically advanced but renting it is costly for Consadole Sapporo

work has not gone unnoticed at Dentsu RULQWKH-/HDJXHFHQWUDORIĂ&#x20AC;FH´+H¡V doing really great, actually. Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s really a famous football player in Japan. Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s very popular and heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a smart man; he knows how he can entertain the fans. He brings in more fans by getting famous players like Shinji Ono and Junichi Inamoto to play for Consadole.â&#x20AC;? The likes of former Japanese internationals Ono, who joined last year, and Inamoto, who joined this pre-season, have ensured that Consadoleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s attendances are consistently above the average for J2. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We get about 11,000 or 12,000,â&#x20AC;? says Nonomura. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the second highest in J2, EXW,¡PDEVROXWHO\QRWVDWLVĂ&#x20AC;HG:HQHHG to have at least 20,000.â&#x20AC;? Consadoleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s agreement with the company that runs the 41,000-capacity Sapporo Dome, also home to the Hokkaido-Nippon Ham Fighters baseball team, is the highest-priced lease in Japanese football. At JPÂĽ15 million (US$126,000) per match, including security costs, Consadole are on the line for around JPÂĽ300 million (US$2.5 million) in rent annually. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Other, similar stadiums charge leases of maybe JPÂĽ50 million (US$420,000), JPÂĽ100 million (US$840,000),â&#x20AC;? says Nonomura. â&#x20AC;&#x153;So this is a handicap for us.â&#x20AC;? The J League is in a spate of stadium construction at present, with three new IRRWEDOOVSHFLĂ&#x20AC;FYHQXHV²RQHLQ2VDND

one in Kyushu, and one in Nagano â&#x20AC;&#x201C; set to open this year or next. Nonomura hopes that Consadole, who do not currently have the right to any revenue beyond ticket sales at the Sapporo Dome, will be able to add Sapporo to that list soon. In the meantime, Nonomura is focused on generating and executing a range of fan promotions and ticket sales schemes that range from the unorthodox to the madcap. Fan polls are now a staple of any clubâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s online content offering, but Nonomura has gone a step further, allowing supporters to pick the entire team for a number of preseason games. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Some players didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t like it,â&#x20AC;? he concedes. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I understand how they felt. %XWP\GHĂ&#x20AC;QLWLRQRI DJRRGSOD\HULVWKDW he must be popular, and popularity does not always come from his skill. It comes from character. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an important lesson for the players.â&#x20AC;? This year, Nonomura plans to register a name change for the team with the J League in time for the 2016 season, adding the word â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Hokkaidoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; to the front in order to inculcate a more explicit link to their home, and he hopes to be able to repeat a trick he pulled successfully last season. â&#x20AC;&#x153;10th March in Japanese can be read â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Satoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, which is also a popular name in Japan,â&#x20AC;? he notes. â&#x20AC;&#x153;So all Sato-sans could come in for the game on 10th March without paying anything. We had 800 Sato-sans come to that game last

year. This was a very small joke, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s good for the media.â&#x20AC;? 2015 should also see the launch of another new project designed to forge stronger bonds between the team and the local people. Nonomura is calling it the Hikaru Matsuyama Project and it yokes together Consadole and manga. Captain Tsubasa is a long-running and vastly popular comic series in Japan that centres on footballer Tsubasa Ozura and his team. Hikaru Matsuyama is a friend and teammate of Tsubasaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s in the comic. A Hokkaido native, he plays for Consadole. â&#x20AC;&#x153;He is not necessarily the hero of Tsubasa,â&#x20AC;? explains Nonomura, â&#x20AC;&#x153;but his character is hard-working and through industry, he works his way to the national team. This is animation, but my intention is to make that kind of player in the team. I would like to show the possibility that Consadole players can become big, international stars. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We need money for the project because I want to give chances for young players born and raised in Hokkaido to play abroad. When they become injured we can use that money to treat them. The fans will fund this, hopefully. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Soccer is very fun to play; itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fun to see. But itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also fun to see a player progress from your home, to a local club, to the national team, and I hope that I can teach the people of Hokkaido to enjoy this.â&#x20AC;? SOCCEREXPRO | 29


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NEW BALL GAME Adidas has built its history and its reputation on changing the game through its equipment, from the screw-in stud to the thermal-bonded football and beyond. As global head of football innovation Antonio Zea tells Eoin Connolly, working out what the player of tomorrow wants is about constant evaluation as well as inspiration.

A robot foot tests an Adidas boot at the companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Herzogenaurach headquarters

As head of innovation at Adidas, where do you sit within the company?

Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s actually technically a part of the football business unit. I report directly to the head of global football. I also have a dotted line to the heads of innovation, so I sit in two worlds, but my role with the innovation piece has to sit within the framework of the business unit. :HJHQHUDOO\ZRUNWKUHHWRĂ&#x20AC;YH\HDUV out. We work very closely with the business unit itself. They do the 18 to 24-month products and we interface with them and build on that. So we determine what the vision of football is JRLQJWREHLQWKUHHWRĂ&#x20AC;YH\HDUVZKDW the game could be like, how it could be played, what kids could experience. We try to imagine; really push the limit on things to say, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Well, what could a football shoe be like and how could we reimagine that? What are the things that are important to kids and how do we make that come to life through shoes and balls and jerseys?â&#x20AC;? But then, how we interface with the greater team is itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 32 |

not just about making a product â&#x20AC;&#x201C; thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s one part of the whole experience â&#x20AC;&#x201C; itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s about how you deliver that product and services around that product, the experience you create. So thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s how, generally, we look at it, and how we do that is we set a vision. We have a mantra within our group as well. If I put a product on the table and a kid just says, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Eh, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s OK,â&#x20AC;? we have absolutely failed. So we need to have a product that is emotional. It can be polarising â&#x20AC;&#x201C; if someone hates my shoe, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s OK, I know people will like that shoe. We have to have a very focused idea and, we often say, change the game. Within that lens, if the product that you put on the table doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t change the game, we donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t make. The examples that we use are that we introduced replacement studs in 1954, we introduced Predator in 1994, we introduced F50 in 2010 and those products literally changed how players played the game, how they experienced the game. And the innovation team has to

continue to make products like that. The incremental innovations and maybe some of the softer stuff, the commercial teams can do that. Really, from an innovation perspective, I want to create. I want to make big bets, I want to create franchises, and I want to change the sport. I want people to say, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Well, I remember that. That literally changed how I look at football.â&#x20AC;? You mention kids there a lot. Is that your target? Are you looking to get to a younger consumer and a younger audience with a brand new product than you might with other Adidas products?

:HIRFXVRQDWR\HDUROG6SHFLĂ&#x20AC;FDOO\ a male footballer â&#x20AC;&#x201C; that doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t mean that we donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t focus on women, we actually have quite an extensive womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s range, but we know who drives the football market. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s that 17 or 18-year-old male football player. They often live in big cities â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Paris, London, the Berlins of the world. And we focus on making sure that we understand who those guys are. What do they like? What donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t

they like? What do they think is cool? What do they think is innovative? The other consumers out thereâ&#x20AC;Ś we EXLOGFRQVXPHUSURĂ&#x20AC;OHV²WKDW¡VVRPHWKLQJ that we do on a regular basis â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and the other consumers out there look up to these kids and want to be them, and those kids look up to their idols on their level but also the professionals. We have to make sure WKDWZHWDUJHWWKRVHVSHFLĂ&#x20AC;FNLGV²´WDUJHWÂľ is maybe a strong word, but we have to IXOĂ&#x20AC;OWKRVHNLGV¡QHHGVRUXQPHWQHHGV$W the end of the day, the other consumers will follow them. As we say, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Get the kid that gets the kid.â&#x20AC;? You want the hotshot, because everybodyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s following them. At the end, from a younger age as well, we make youth cleats, we make youth SURGXFWVDQGLW¡VLPSRUWDQWWKDWZHIXOĂ&#x20AC;O the needs of a younger kid. Parents want to buy shoes for their kids and we need to make sure that we have the right product for them, and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s important that we understand what that is and what those needs are. Parents are important. I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t tell you how many focus groups Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been in where the parent is actually saying more stuff: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Why does this stuff cost so much money? Why did you change it?â&#x20AC;? We have to make sure that we give them the logic and that they understand. That doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t always mean that they accept it or they agree with it. But at the end of the day, we need to inspire that kid. Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re based in Herzogenrauch, in Gemany, at the global Adidas headquarters. Are you working with innovation teams across the whole company or are you in siloes?

Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re siloed. My team comprises project management, design, sports science, engineering. That same set-up is in basketball, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s in running. We work very closely with them. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s important, also, that we have horizontal messages. If we

Antonio Zea, Adidasâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; global head of football innovation, takes a long-term view of design

have a great idea in football, how could that come to life in another category? If running discovers the next great material, I may want to use that, too. So we make sure that we have that type of sharing and that we understand, also, if I only look at football stuff and I never really see how it can expand into the greater category, you fragment yourself. The bigger the story is, the more power WKDWLWKDVWKHPRUHLWĂ&#x20AC;WVLQWRRWKHU categories as well, the more people can understand what you stand for. Then kids can say, â&#x20AC;&#x153;I want that from Adidas. I want that product.â&#x20AC;? Now, on a greater level, there are other innovation teams that work in IT innovation, retail innovation, HR innovation, manufacturing innovation â&#x20AC;&#x201C; I also work closely with them because

â&#x20AC;&#x153;I want to create. I want to make big bets, I want to create franchises, and I want to change the sport.â&#x20AC;?

weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re all a part of that chain. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re all a part of creating that product experience and, frankly, I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t create the product experience without them. If I have the latest and greatest shoe, I have to XQGHUVWDQGKRZGRHVWKDWĂ&#x20AC;WLQWRWKH retail environment? How could we make that come to life? What does that mean at the back end? I just presented the Smart Ball [a football which shows players what part of the ball they have just kicked and where it needs to be kicked to create dip or swerve]. Well, the Smart Ball has a whole host of other things that have to support it. The DSSKDVWRZRUNDQGLW¡VJRWWRĂ&#x20AC;WLQWR the architecture of our miCoach [training software] system, and all of those pieces. So thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a lot of those guys that we ZRUNZLWKRQDUHJXODUEDVLVĂ&#x20AC;UVWWRVHOO them: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Hereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the vision.â&#x20AC;? I often sell them: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Hereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s what I want football to be. This is what it is, and here are the projects that make that come to life.â&#x20AC;? 7KDW¡VZKDW,¡PWU\LQJWRIXOĂ&#x20AC;O$QG weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve had many, many meetings where they go, â&#x20AC;&#x153;We can work on that. We can support you with that.â&#x20AC;? All you need is a few of those touch points to really create a compelling experience for someone. So how broad is the vision to start with? Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve said you look three to ďŹ ve years ahead. Do you think, these are concepts we want to work up? Do you lead from the product? Does it change each time?

Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s different. Some of itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s different. We work very heavily in the digital space and some of those things, we have to understand: â&#x20AC;&#x153;What does that even mean for football?â&#x20AC;? Sustainability is a mega-trend, but that could be anything: it could be recycling, it could be social sustainability. It could be a ton of different things. So we do a lot of exercises, really, to understand what it is that we want to represent. What could that mean in football? And as a heavy engineering product company, we also have to make sure that itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not just the product but that we understand what the product means to the kid: what is that experience creating? I can say that I want the lightest cleat on the market, and I can build towards that, but thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the â&#x20AC;&#x153;whatâ&#x20AC;?. Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the â&#x20AC;&#x153;whyâ&#x20AC;? of that? Why do I create all that stuff ? Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s really the SOCCEREXPRO | 33

mechanism or the question that we continue to ask ourselves. You can make anything. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s stuff that guys have come up with and Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m, like, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s amazing.â&#x20AC;? We literally can make anything, sometimes, but why should we make that? So in terms of setting that vision, thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the methodology that we go through to get to that vision of making sure that it hits a few different points. Does it give you WKHSHUIRUPDQFHDVSHFW"'RHVLWIXOĂ&#x20AC;O DVSHFLĂ&#x20AC;FLGHQWLW\",VLWVKDUHDEOHGRHV it connect you to other people? Does it create an emotion that you want? Because, sometimes, I can create the most high-performing boot but LWGRHVQ¡WIXOĂ&#x20AC;OWKHRWKHUFULWHULDWKH other dimensions which we know are important to humans and teenagers. With the teenage brain, the gas pedal is always down. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s always about emotion. So weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got to make sure that weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not just delivering that performance product, EXWWKDWZH¡UHIXOĂ&#x20AC;OOLQJWKDW From a visionary perspective, we create those experiences by saying, â&#x20AC;&#x153;OK, the lightest boot is great but light equals something. Light equals speed, or we want to make you feel like youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re the fastest player on the pitch. So how do I do that through footwear, or through apparel, or through the experience or whatever?â&#x20AC;? It may be that itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not even a product, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just the ability to measure how fast you are. Are you starting with the consumer or do you start with the player at the other end who is an Adidas endorser â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Lionel Messi or whoever that may be?

Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a good question, and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s different sometimes. I always try to start with the

34 |

consumer, regardless. I always push the team to start with the consumer. When you have mechanical engineers and polymer engineers and shoemakers and all these guys, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s always easier to start with the technology. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s almost easier to start with the solution of: â&#x20AC;&#x153;We could make this and I found this.â&#x20AC;? We always wrap the loop back to say, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Great, but what does that mean to the consumer? How do we IXOĂ&#x20AC;OWKRVHWKLQJV"Âľ Now, on the other end of the professional player, we have to make sure that we include them in the process. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s very important that we understand that what an amateur player and a professional player can do are going to be very, very different. And oftentimes, we do skew very high to say: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s all about high performance. We want to create the Porsche of shoes, so to speak.â&#x20AC;? But I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t forget that a 15-year-old kid from Anytown, USA â&#x20AC;&#x201C; or any town in the world â&#x20AC;&#x201C; is going to buy that, so itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s got to be able to resonate. So we make sure that we look at both those dimensions. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just different needs in that. A product youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve alluded to is your miCoach ball, which is almost like a new category. Where does the process start in putting something like that together and whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the progression of it? How much do you test an idea like that even before you start making the product?

The idea genesis can happen in a lot of places and Smart Ball was an interesting one because we had already been working on that from a goal-line tech perspective. 7KDWZDVWRVROYHDVSHFLĂ&#x20AC;FSUREOHP in world football. Now, the fact that it transferred into something else, I love that.

Is it something that could have happened if you hadnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t already had the miCoach suite of training products in the company?

I think it could have. It might have taken a little bit longer, it might have looked different in the end because we had a solution that we already created, but what happens oftentimes is that stuff that you make doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t end up being what you think itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s going to be. And with the digital SLHFHLQWKDWVSDFHĂ&#x20AC;UVWDQGIRUHPRVWZH really have to understand: why are people married to their phones? Why are people buying the latest and greatest gadgets? What does that mean in football? Once we start to pinpoint those things, we then can start to develop that. And sometimes we have stuff that weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve already started to do in other areas that we can say, â&#x20AC;&#x153;That would actually help us solve this problem in a really simple way.â&#x20AC;? Other times, you have to start from scratch and bring in experts or utilise the expertise that you have and say, â&#x20AC;&#x153;How could we solve this problem?â&#x20AC;? And we use a little technique called â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;edgecraftâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, which is one of my favourite things. Big companies are inherently conservative â&#x20AC;&#x201C; they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to take risks. You donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to cannibalise your existing products out there â&#x20AC;&#x201C; why would you want to do that? If your sales are increasing, why would you want to introduce another product that could feasibly take away from that? But you need to have relentless innovation, and you never know when that peak of a product is going to be. When that product goes down, if \RXGRQ¡WKDYHVRPHWKLQJWRĂ&#x20AC;OOWKDW pipelineâ&#x20AC;Ś the amount of time it takes to make a shoe is minimum 18 months


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for a technical product like a football shoe, and in that time a ton of stuff can happen â&#x20AC;&#x201C; you can lose sales and you can lose the consumer, they just donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to be associated with your brand any more. So the edgecraft model basically forces you to go to the edge, to say: â&#x20AC;&#x153;If we want to create a product, what could the extreme be?â&#x20AC;? The extreme sometimes may not be technically possible â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the material may not exist, the process may not exist â&#x20AC;&#x201C; but you could get to that point if you open your mind to explore that, to say, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll try to create that.â&#x20AC;? And if that doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t work, you can always come back. But with the risk model that you have now, often in big companies, you can never get that far. You always say, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll go this far.â&#x20AC;? You wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t go all the way, because you know you can create this. So we try to employ that and in the digital space itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s moving so quickly, you can do so many things, and thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s so many people out there when I go to conferences: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Well, what are you working on? You have that?!â&#x20AC;? My mind is always working to understand, how could I put that into a product? How could I use that? And my team does that as well, they try to make sure that they go to the consumer electronics show, that they speak with agencies or with people that are just really smart people and try to make those connections. So going back to the ball, you started to address one speciďŹ c problem. That was nearly ten years ago now. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s evolved into something completely different. Was that a response to something that youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d identiďŹ ed that young kids wanted?

A kid would never say â&#x20AC;&#x201C; I shouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t say never, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s very seldom that kids would tell you: â&#x20AC;&#x153;I want this.â&#x20AC;? We LGHQWLĂ&#x20AC;HGWKHFKDOOHQJHDQGWKHSUREOHP of: what if I wanted to learn how to kick the ball and I needed to do it myself ? Especially with the numbers: itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s kind of crazy to think that of the 270 million global players, the vast majority of them, three quarters of them, are playing unregistered football. Yet Adidas spends so much of its time on the registered side: Fifa, Uefa, Major League Soccer, DFB [German Football Association], DOOWKDWRIĂ&#x20AC;FLDOVWXII ²ZKLFKZHVKRXOG never go away from, and thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not bad, 36 |

Adidasâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; innovation teams work independently but share key new discoveries across the company

but we canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t forget that thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s this whole other side of football. How do we enable those players to get better? In the end, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s all about making athletes better and, if we can use a technical solution to do that, coming to that place to say: â&#x20AC;&#x153;You know what, if we could actually help a kid kick a ball better, that would be great. How do we do that?â&#x20AC;? Well, we have this technology where we already went down a road. It does and doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t work, so we need to test it. Is the lesson of this that you never really start out with a ďŹ nished product in mind?

<RXGR,ZRXOGVD\\RXGHĂ&#x20AC;QLWHO\GR:H VHWYLVLRQVRI Ă&#x20AC;QLVKHGSURGXFWVDVZHOO Some of it is a bit broad. Say: â&#x20AC;&#x153;By 2020 I want studs sticking out of my feet. Literally.â&#x20AC;? Whatever that concept is, that edge is, the pathway to get thereâ&#x20AC;Ś and a lot of companies donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think that way, they think, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Alright, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m going to do â&#x20AC;&#x2122;15 and when â&#x20AC;&#x2122;15 is done then Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m going to do â&#x20AC;&#x2122;16 and then Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m going to do â&#x20AC;&#x2122;17â&#x20AC;Śâ&#x20AC;? I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to think that way. I want to set the vision and then I put the guard rails in and say, â&#x20AC;&#x153;In these guard rails, you can innovate. You can do anything. But this is whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s important to kids â&#x20AC;&#x201C; this is whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s important to football â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and then we move towards that.â&#x20AC;? And then you actually take that kid on a journey. They understand one product to the next â&#x20AC;&#x201C; to the next, to the next. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not always a reinvention. You can still revolutionise things but thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a relation between those things, and youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re then

taking them somewhere, instead of just making stuff, in the end. How often will you ďŹ nd a product coming off that process â&#x20AC;&#x201C; maybe even a completed, ready for market product â&#x20AC;&#x201C; thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not related to the original project?

It happens a lot. Or it just happens that, in the end, that product doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t even go to market, simply because the market has changed, the trend has shifted, or youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve actually found a new solution to do that because the development timelines are so long that something came along that actually allowed you to solve that problem much easier and much quicker. So it does happen, and the innovation teams have to have that Ă H[LELOLW\WREHDEOHWRUHDFWWKDWZD\² and unfortunately, the commercial teams donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t always have that because they work on such distinct calendars. But if I have that vision, people buy into that vision and have that roadmap, and Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m able to show things to the commercial teams â&#x20AC;&#x201C; even if theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re XQĂ&#x20AC;QLVKHG²WKDWWKH\¡UHH[FLWHGDERXW then it makes the job much easier because I can move through that process of Ă&#x20AC;QDOLVLQJWKDWSURGXFWLQDPXFKHDVLHU way. Innovation is selling at times because the commercial teams donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t always look that far into the future. You have to think in terms of ROI, of commerciality â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve gotta sell millions of pairs â&#x20AC;&#x201C; but also I need to shape perception and experience in a kid, and sometimes those two donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t always mix. And a concept that I want

introduced may be so niche or so small at the top end but over time, the technology gets cheaper, you start to bring it down, the volumes increase and you think about it over the long term and not just: â&#x20AC;&#x153;How do I make money? I want to sell a million pairs right away.â&#x20AC;? Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s why I think in that longer term, to build those business plans to say: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Hereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s that curve. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re going to ramp this product up and as that product is right at itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s peak, then Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m going to bring this in.â&#x20AC;? And the kidâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s going to say, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Oh, thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s cool. I see what you did there, and I want to have that piece as well.â&#x20AC;? Looking more broadly at innovation in football â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and Adidas has a long history of it â&#x20AC;&#x201C; do you see it as innovation shaping the playing experience, or has the playing experience changed what people are trying to do with the products?

,WKLQNLWGHĂ&#x20AC;QLWHO\JRHVERWKZD\V:H noticed in 2005 that football was getting IDVWHUDQGWKDWOHGWRDĂ&#x20AC;YH\HDUORQJ period of leading up to the F50, and saying, â&#x20AC;&#x153;OK, we want lighter products, we want thinner materials, we want to FUHDWHWUDFWLRQFRQĂ&#x20AC;JXUDWLRQVWKDWDOORZ people to turn and accelerate and stop faster.â&#x20AC;? So in one way, yeah, that certainly affected the product. But on the other side, we as that brand, and having that expertise that we do, also need to be able to guide the market, to say: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Hey, by the way, this is the way footballâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s going.â&#x20AC;? Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s interesting to talk to so many football experts and to be immersed in that football world, to see that thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the next thing, or that could be the next thing. I have to make a lot of those bets. ,PD\WDNHĂ&#x20AC;YHRI WKRVHEHWVDQGVD\ ´2.KHUHDUHWKHĂ&#x20AC;YHWKLQJVWKDW, think are going to be important in football.â&#x20AC;? A kid, again, may never say that to you, but I can also correlate to the fact that if I make that come to life, theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll have the realisation of: â&#x20AC;&#x153;I never knew I needed that.â&#x20AC;? No one needed an iPhone, no one needed some of the products that we have today, but if youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re able to make those connections, I think you have the ability to affect the marketplace. No one needed thermal bonding in footballs but in the end it made the football much more playable because it didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t absorb

water. Then the game changed â&#x20AC;&#x201C; no one had to worry about heading a ball that was 50 per cent heavier than it was at the beginning of the game.

<HDKLW¡VDFRPSOHWHO\FRUGRQHGRII  area. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s funny, I worked in Portland, Oregon for a long time and Nike is not far away. Inevitably, you would interact with people from the company and I had a good friend who worked with Nike Soccer. We never talked about business! We always danced around, avoiding certain topics. We actually used to play on the same football team together and ZHXVHGWRWUDVKWDONHDFKRWKHUVREDGO\ about each otherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s shoes! But, more importantly, I think competition is good. It makes you better and it drives you. I also look at other industries to see what theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re doing, to understand how that can help us be better as well â&#x20AC;&#x201C; whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s happening in consumer electronics, whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s happening in the fashion industry â&#x20AC;&#x201C; really trying to gain as much knowledge as I can. There are so many smart people out there, working in so many companies, that I try to pluck as much as I can and bring it into football.

miCoach speed cell, the Smart Ball. We have apps as well, we have an app called Snapshot which is a fantastic little app that players can use and we had half a million downloads on iOS alone. So I see that space as prime for our company to really expand and understand what digital football means to a kid, how the physical and digital worlds converge. Does that mean that itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s more apps or wearables or experiences, systems or an ecosystem that can be created within that? I see that as a big opportunity. In general, things are moving very fast just in the manufacturing world. Processes are changing, materials are changing. I see us continuing to go down that road, just asking the question of how you can reinvent a football boot. What does a football look like in the future? What is it made out of ? What are the properties of that? All questions are open to me. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll never go away from making Copa Mundial. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll never go away from KDYLQJWKHTXRWHXQTXRWHÂśQRUPDOVKRHV¡ in the marketplace that people have fallen in love with. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s what our DNA is. We have to make sure that we continue to deliver products that help athletes perform better and that they never knew existed before â&#x20AC;&#x201C; they never knew that a football boot could be that or that a football could be that. So Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got to make sure that we create that relentless innovation and drive that market forward, because I think that thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a ton of space for innovation in football.

Where do you see football going on that technology front with other products?

Is that mainly going to be a personal and social experience or will it affect the whole football community?

,ZRXOGVD\GHĂ&#x20AC;QLWHO\²DQGQRWWRVRXQG like a broken record â&#x20AC;&#x201C; that the digital space is wide open. We actually do a ton of products in that space already. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re arguably the leader there in terms of miCoach team elite system, the

I would like to say it would affect the whole industry but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s probably a little PRUHGLIĂ&#x20AC;FXOWWRGRWKDW,ZRXOGVD\LW¡V GHĂ&#x20AC;QLWHO\PRUHDWDQLQGLYLGXDORUDWHDP level. But I think even with the digital space, those worlds will start to converge more and more. Go to YouTube right now and thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s tens of millions of videos of kids just showing off their skills. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s meaningful. How do you make that easy for someone? What are the spaces that you can innovate around those areas? And thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not just about skills, that bleeds into a ton of other spaces within the football industry. So right there, I think, if you just focus on that one piece, you could do a ton of things.

Are you able to look to competitors â&#x20AC;&#x201C; people who are in your role at Nike, Puma, or whoever else â&#x20AC;&#x201C; as peers? Or because of the nature of what you do are you cordoned off from one another? Do you only really see what theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re doing when itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s about to come to market?

The primary target for new Adidas football products is a male footballer aged 17 or 18


21ST CENTURY BREAKDOWN Analytics and improved management structures are creeping into elite football but for Blake Wooster, progress cannot come quickly enough. James Emmett meets the co-founder of 21st Club, a consultancy which is putting forward a new blueprint for how a football club should be run and challenging received wisdom throughout the game.


y the founderâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s own admission, 21st Club was born out of a boozy evening, a meeting of minds, and several napkinsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; worth of vigorously scrawled notes. Blake Wooster, chief executive of the company, is describing the evening he spent having dinner with Rasmus Ankersen, a Danish author with an interest in tracking, understanding and Ă&#x20AC;QGLQJVSRUWLQJKLJKSHUIRUPDQFHZKR would go on to become chairman of Denmarkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s FC Midtjylland. Ankersen had just published The Gold Mine Effect, a book that recorded his efforts to apply data science to the question of why there appear to be tiny pockets of intense talent production around the world â&#x20AC;&#x201C; why does Jamaica produce a disproportionate number of top sprinters, for example, and why are 137 of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s best 500 female golfers from South Korea? He was in England to give DWDONDWWKHRIĂ&#x20AC;FHVRI 3UR]RQHWKHGLJLWDO performance analysis company for which Wooster had been working for nine years. The pair went for dinner and hit it off. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It was one of those really indulgent nights where you go through a couple of bottles of wine,â&#x20AC;? recounts Wooster. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We were essentially putting the world to rights, saying, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;If we were a football club, if we were the 21st club in the league, how would we make decisions? How would we run our business? How would we recruit talent? How would we be different? How would we get a competitive edge?â&#x20AC;&#x2122; â&#x20AC;&#x153;In the morning, with a bad head, I pulled out this napkinâ&#x20AC;Ś and thankfully when I opened it up a lot of it actually made sense.â&#x20AC;?

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the manifesto, we tried to look at all the different challenges a football club faces, on the football side and on the business side, and ask ourselves about every aspect, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Is there a better way to approach this task?â&#x20AC;&#x2122;â&#x20AC;? Drilling down further, Wooster explains that the manifesto has helped VW&OXEĂ&#x20AC;QGPRUHHIĂ&#x20AC;FLHQWZD\VWR present common-sense systems within football clubs â&#x20AC;&#x201C; there is a detailed chapter on succession planning, for example â&#x20AC;&#x201C; but also to debunk many of the myths that are perpetuated on a daily basis by football clichĂŠ. Blake Wooster co-founded 21st Club in 2013

A few months and meetings later, in August 2013, 21st Club was open for business. Wooster and his team have developed 21st Club into a digital consultancy for the football industry. They work with clubs to instil better-informed planning processes and decision-making systems to aid mid to long-term stability and development. They apply what they call ÂśFRQWH[WXDOLQWHOOLJHQFH¡WRGDWDWRĂ&#x20AC;QGD competitive edge, both in the boardroom DQGRQWKHĂ&#x20AC;HOG At the heart of the 21st Club methodology is a working document Wooster calls â&#x20AC;&#x153;the manifestoâ&#x20AC;?. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t got all the answers at the moment and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s never going to be a bible that we publish and go, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;There you go â&#x20AC;&#x201C; thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s everything you need to know,â&#x20AC;&#x2122;â&#x20AC;? says Wooster, by way of caveat. â&#x20AC;&#x153;But what we try to do is help people understand what the future of football will look like. For

â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Take each game as it comesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; â&#x20AC;&#x153;We often use the analogy that football is a ticking clock,â&#x20AC;? says Wooster. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Every clock has an hour hand, a minute hand and a second hand. Football clubs are always concentrating on the next game, one game at a time. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the second hand. We try to be their surveillance system or their hour hand. We wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t help you win the next match, but weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll probably help you win in two or three yearsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; time.â&#x20AC;? The â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;concentrate on the next gameâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; philosophy is one that football clubs have adhered to, by and large, since leagues ZHUHIRXQGHGVW&OXE¡VĂ DJVKLS software application, Evolution, has been designed to nudge club hierarchies away from that philosophy by making mid to long-term succession planning easy. The tool, aimed at boardroom level, is updated with statistical data as it happens, and linked with contractual data the club inputs itself. Appreciating or depreciating player values and bonus

two or three games, either due to bad luck or bad refereeing decisions,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s based on a small sample size and a lot of emotion has gone into that decision when, actually, the underlying performance is OK and the team would have improved if theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d continued to play that way. And then the new manager comes in, often rides on the back of that system and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hailed as â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;the new manager effectâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;.

21st Clubâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Evolution software provides a visually accessible means of planning squad development

payment commitments are visualised simply. The software has been designed to enable chief executives, owners, Ă&#x20AC;QDQFHGLUHFWRUVGLUHFWRUVRI IRRWEDOO and managers â&#x20AC;&#x201C; in the modern game, rarely to be found in the same room â&#x20AC;&#x201C; to input scenarios â&#x20AC;&#x201C; letting this or that player go, promoting this or that player from the youth team, buying this or that player from elsewhere â&#x20AC;&#x201C; for the next few seasons. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;The league table never liesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; A key part of the thinking that informs the 21st Clubâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s manifesto is a statistical PRGHO:RRVWHUFDOOV3HUIRUPDQFH League. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Often people in football will say that the league table never lies,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;But in our experience, using our data, the league table almost always lies.â&#x20AC;? In high-scoring games like basketball, tennis or cricket, Wooster explains, the better individual or team will typically win out. In football, however, there is such a premium on scoring, and such a degree of luck involved, that often â&#x20AC;&#x153;the team that deserves to win the game doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t always do soâ&#x20AC;?. â&#x20AC;&#x153;How many times,â&#x20AC;? he adds, â&#x20AC;&#x153;do you see a manager interviewed after a game, saying, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;I thought we performed really well today and the better team lostâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;? It drives fans mad, but often the managers are right in their gut feeling.â&#x20AC;?

VW&OXE¡V3HUIRUPDQFH/HDJXHWDNHV data from across the leagues, strips it down to critical chances created and conceded â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and the combinations which produced them â&#x20AC;&#x201C; to give what Wooster believes is a â&#x20AC;&#x153;true measure of the underlying performanceâ&#x20AC;?. He cites Newcastle United, who HQGXUHGDWRUULGVWDUWWRWKH3UHPLHU League season this year, as a club whose underlying performance suggested they were down at the foot of the table through misfortune. Newcastle amassed just four points IURPWKHLUĂ&#x20AC;UVWVHYHQOHDJXHJDPHVDQG the board, by all accounts, was getting twitchy. Wooster says that 21st Club were able to get their message across to the Newcastle hierarchy. $ODQ3DUGHZWKHWKHQPDQDJHU remained in his post, and results, just as predicted, improved. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;The new manager effectâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Had Newcastle United opted to sack $ODQ3DUGHZHDUO\LQWKHVHDVRQKRZHYHU the team would then undoubtedly have EHHQWKHEHQHĂ&#x20AC;FLDU\RI ZKDW¡VFRPHWR be known as the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;new manager bounceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. This, explains Wooster, is usually another nonsense football clichĂŠ. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve had examples this season of teams that have sacked managers prematurely because theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve lost the last

â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;All data is good dataâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; :RRVWHUĂ&#x20AC;UVWZLWK3UR]RQHDQGQRZ with 21st Club, has operated at the heart of a shifting data landscape over the last decade and a half. â&#x20AC;&#x153;One of the broader changes weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve seen in the marketplace is that if product A was all about having GDWDIRUWKHĂ&#x20AC;UVWWLPHDFFHVVSURGXFW% was all about giving context and meaning to data,â&#x20AC;? he explains. There is a lazy distinction made in modern football between the old school â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;football menâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; and the data-crazed Moneyball acolytes. Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re either one, or the other. Giving context to data, says Wooster, should be about treading the line between the two. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re data-savvy,â&#x20AC;? he says, â&#x20AC;&#x153;but weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not data-obsessed.â&#x20AC;? In fact, Wooster empathises with the sceptics. Statistical analysis, he says, has become a â&#x20AC;&#x153;very noisyâ&#x20AC;? space, and the media in particular are guilty of XVLQJZKDW:RRVWHUZRXOGGHĂ&#x20AC;QHDV meaningless data. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the lazy distribution of the same old stats,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The broad mistake people make is that more is better: more possession is better; more distance covered is better. They mistake volume with quality. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If you look at the Champions League winners over the last few seasons, the teams typically â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Barcelona aside, maybe â&#x20AC;&#x201C; have less possession than the opposition because tactically theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re trying to hit them on the counter attack. But the media donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t seem to be intelligent enough or listening to whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s really important. Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re pumping the same old stats out there. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Any coach or player, or even fan can tell you that itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s about the quality of the running not the amount. The better players â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the Thierry Henrys â&#x20AC;&#x201C; will purposely try to do less running than the opposition, but more explosive running at the right time.â&#x20AC;? SOCCEREXPRO | 39

CLIPPED IN In a fully connected world, short-form content and clip rights have the potential to become an increasingly valuable source of income for sports properties. The Premier League is among those bodies leading the way, carving out new packages for broadcasters and digital publishers like News Corp to acquire. But as Simon Greenberg, News Corp’s global head of rights, warns David Cushnan, there is still a way to go before the revenue model is proved and the threat of piracy is eliminated.


he decline in sales of printed newspapers in an online age has been one of the dominant media stories of the past decade. Newspapers across the world have been forced to adapt or die. Publishers have reacted in varying ways, some quicker than others; open access versus paywalls versus metered access is an ongoing debate. There is no easy answer. There is probably no single answer. Small, medium or – like News Corp – large publishers the world over continue to ponder how best to turn online content into a revenue-generator. ´:H·UHQRWWKHÀUVWWRÀQG monetising digital as a challenge and I’m sure we’re not going to be the last,” muses Simon Greenberg of a marketplace which has been forced to adapt to rapidly shifting media consumption trends and the rise of online streaming. Greenberg’s job title, however, offers a glimpse as to how News Corp, for one, is approaching the changing landscape. He is global head of rights at a company which does not describe itself as a broadcaster, nor has designs on becoming one. News Corp, which through the News UK subsidiary is the publisher of The Times, The Sunday Times and Britain’s biggest-selling newspaper, The Sun, GHVFULEHVLWVHOI VLPSO\DQGÀUPO\DVD digital publisher. Its move over the past three years into premium sports clips rights, a new category for those selling rights to explore and exploit, is designed squarely to drive subscriptions and revenues to its online offerings. As might be expected from a company created in the mould of founder Rupert Murdoch, News Corp has been opportunistic, brash and never less than

40 |

punchy in seizing on online and mobile clip highlights – sometimes described as ‘near-live’ rights – in the UK and beyond. “What we’ve done is bigger and bolder than what anyone has done before,” Greenberg says, referring to the acquisition of Premier League, FA Cup, Premiership Rugby and English cricket rights in the UK, and online and mobile highlights rights to all the so-called ‘big ÀYH·(XURSHDQOHDJXHVLQJURZWKPDUNHWV Indonesia, Vietnam and Japan over the past three years. “It’s very much in the News Corp – both the News Corp and the old News Corp – DNA, a sort of pioneering, buccaneering, risk-taking spirit. That’s very much what our company is about.” In acquiring the Premier League online and mobile clip rights for the UK market, a three-year agreement which was signed in January 2013 and began that August, News UK took on and defeated BSkyB, a company with which they effectively shared an owner and ZKLFKKDVDORQJVWDQGLQJDQGGHÀQLQJ relationship with the Premier League. It is believed to have paid around UK£30 million for the rights over three years, nearly double what they were worth in the previous cycle when they were sold separately to Yahoo, which took online rights, and broadcaster ESPN, mobile. News UK is essentially the newspaper division subsidiary of News Corp, one of two companies created out of the split of News Corporation, which was ÀQDOLVHGDKDQGIXORI PRQWKVDIWHUWKH Premier League clips deal was struck in 2013. Now, News Corp and 21st Century Fox stand separately, the latter’s assets including a 39.14 per cent stake in BSkyB, the operator of long-time Premier League live broadcast rights

holder Sky Sports, and ownership of the Fox Entertainment Group and India’s Star TV. As a former sports editor of the London Evening Standard, communications chief at both Chelsea and England 2018’s failed Fifa World Cup bid, and a man who was head of corporate affairs at News International at the height of the phone hacking scandal, Greenberg can see the obvious question coming. “There was no friction,” he says, halfsmiling, of the rights battle with BSkyB, which was also said to have involved previous rights holder Yahoo, O2 and the Perform Group. “It was free and open competition,” he says. “If they want the rights then they’re going to have to bid the amount that’s going to win them. They have in the past bid the correct amount in order to win the rights. It’s completely transparent what the process is. It’s a question of how much you want them.” Although Greenberg’s remit as global head of rights does not include the UK and Australia, where News Corp has well-established roots in the ground, he was involved in the UK clips rights agreement. “The purchase of Premier League rights was very much the brainchild of the new CEO, Robert Thompson,” he recalls. “He believes in sport as a key property and as a key vertical for a digital publisher of the future like ourselves. He wanted to make a dramatic intervention. We’ve always been a sort of antiestablishment, disruptive company in ethos and I think he saw this as part of continuing that philosophy. What bigger splash can you create in the UK than purchasing Premier League rights? We DOVRÀUPO\EHOLHYHLQWKHPDVDFRQWHQW

partner for our publishing platforms.” Since the deal was struck, the clips and highlights packages have been fully integrated into the behind-the-paywall offerings provided to subscribers of The Times, The Sunday Times and The Sun newspapers and the accompanying apps. The Times’ service, for example, includes around six minutes of full-time highlights per game, plus every goal as it is scored. A similar model has been adopted for other sports. In September 2013, News UK agreed a deal for clip rights to Scottish Premiership games, while

south of the border a four-year deal is in progress with the Football Association for FA Cup clips. In February 2014, Premiership Rugby sold the organisation its own post-game online highlights packages, a deal set to run until 2017. Two months later, the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced News UK as its partner for near-live clips across a range of international series and domestic matches. Grouped together, the rights acquisitions are undeniably impressive; whether they drive revenue is, at this

stage, far less clear. “I would say in the UK it’s probably too early to say about the proving of the concept,” Greenberg concedes. “But it was very much a strategic purchase – it wasn’t purely a business purchase. It was a purchase to show the direction our company was JRLQJWRJRZKHQLWZDVÀQDOO\IRUPHG and it was very much a standard bearer.” The deals across Asia, where News Corp has created a new digital football platform in Indonesia, Vietnam and Japan to host its swathe of rights acquired from major European leagues,

News UK’s purchase of the clip rights to Premier League football, followed by purchases of packages for ‘near-live’ cricket and rugby, changed its business model as a digital publisher and gave fans a new way of enjoying sports coverage on internet and mobile devices. However, both the Premier League and News UK are concerned by the rise in the use of services like Vine to share clips illegally. On the left, the same game is replayed illicitly through Vine and officially through The Times’ official app.


will, Greenberg insists, be just the start. ´7KHUHDUHGHĂ&#x20AC;QLWHO\RWKHUWHUULWRULHV weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re looking at,â&#x20AC;? he says, necessarily coy. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Other areas of Asia are good for potential growth.â&#x20AC;? Expansion ultimately depends on connectivity, an issue News Corp has encountered in Indonesia and Vietnam, two markets where a young, increasingly mobile-savvy, football-hungry population are currently ahead of the broadband providers. To underline the differing challenges of different markets, in investing in football rights in Japan News Corp has gone for only the second most popular sport, albeit in a country where tablet and mobile penetration is high. Assessing the marketplace, such as it LVDQGUHĂ HFWLQJRQWKHFXUUHQWYDOXHRI  short-term content, Greenberg suggests that sports properties, particularly those in football, outside the Premier League â&#x20AC;&#x201C; â&#x20AC;&#x153;they have set a benchmarkâ&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201C; need to work out their approach to digital before diving in. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think their approach to digital is thought through, at all,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is completely tied to the live rights and I think thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wrong. I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s any data to suggest that live rights values are affected by separating digital packages â&#x20AC;&#x201C; by including near, ingame clips. I think the Premier League has proved that not to be the case â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the Premier League is the only data point in the market and it has not suffered as a consequence of having digital rights.â&#x20AC;? Digital publishers like News Corp, the online giants Yahoo and Google, Twitter and Facebook, plus rights-holding broadcasters could all conceivably have an interest in the next UK near-live rights sales process, although Greenberg is yet to be convinced. â&#x20AC;&#x153;In practice, who are the people that are going to put the money down to buy the rights?â&#x20AC;? he asks â&#x20AC;&#x153;I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t see any of them putting their hands in their pockets and purchasing the rights that weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got. What theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re much more willing to do is once weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve purchased them enter into distribution agreements with us in order to get those rights on their platforms and WKHQZHDOVRUHFHLYHWKHEHQHĂ&#x20AC;WVRI WKHLU large audience as a referral mechanism back to our main platform. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You hear a lot of big talk, or at least the media talk up a lot of these companies, but I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t see any evidence that theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re willing to pay true value for the properties.â&#x20AC;? 42 |

â&#x20AC;&#x153;I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s any data to suggest that live rights values are affected by separating digital packages.â&#x20AC;? At the same time as sports properties have begun carving out clips rights packages, be it to generate revenue or point potential viewers towards the live broadcast of a game or both, the rapid growth of platforms such as Twitterowned Vine has seen clips of goals and other major incidents posted online and disseminated within seconds. It is, Greenberg says, a â&#x20AC;&#x153;very big concernâ&#x20AC;? for News Corp. Vine, which allows users to record sixsecond of video at a time, has become DSDUWLFXODUVRXUFHRI XQRIĂ&#x20AC;FLDOFOLSV created either through the crude method of pointing a phone or tablet at a screen showing a game, or captured via more sophisticated means. Successfully policing the posting of XQRIĂ&#x20AC;FLDOFOLSVLQWKHVRFLDOPHGLDDJH may well be impossible. A glance at history suggests as much: although the Premier League and its broadcasters have worked hard to clamp down on illegal live streams of matches over the course of the last decade, many streams continue to be available on a weekly basis. The UK televised football blackout, a historic ruling designed to protect attendances at lower-league games which is in force from 2.45pm until 5.15pm every Saturday, only heightens the GHPDQGIRUXQRIĂ&#x20AC;FLDOVWUHDPVRI IRUHLJQ Premier League broadcasts. At best, policing the posting of XQRIĂ&#x20AC;FLDOFOLSVDQGFRPEDWLQJSLUDF\ will continue to consume huge resources but the Premier League has at least LQGLFDWHGLWLVXSIRUWKHĂ&#x20AC;JKWDVLWKDVWR be given the billions of dollars spent by broadcasters â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and digital publishers â&#x20AC;&#x201C; on its rights. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a breach of copyright and we would discourage fans from doing it,â&#x20AC;? Premier League spokesman Dan Johnson was quoted as saying in August, a timely warning delivered on the eve of the 2014/15 season. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re developing

technologies like gif crawlers, Vine crawlers, working with Twitter to look to curtail this kind of activity. I know it sounds as if weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re killjoys but we have to protect our intellectual property.â&#x20AC;? Just before Christmas, the league had one website hosting illegal live broadcasters, Wiziwig, shut down. Premier League rights holders are under observation, too. To the frustration of many subscribers across the Middle East, BeIN Sports was restricted for much of last season and the beginning of the current campaign from broadcasting more than one live game on a Saturday afternoon (UK time). It took until November for the 3UHPLHU/HDJXHWREHVDWLVĂ&#x20AC;HGWKDW%H,1 Sports had the appropriate encryption technology in place. Twitter, which has a partnership with the National Football League (NFL) involving in-game clips amongst agreements with a number of global sports properties, â&#x20AC;&#x153;have to come to their own conclusion about what they want to EHÂľ*UHHQEHUJVD\VĂ&#x20AC;UPO\ â&#x20AC;&#x153;They want premier rights on their platform through platforms like Amplify and so forth,â&#x20AC;? he adds, â&#x20AC;&#x153;and they want to do deals with all the big rights holders and rights buyers like ourselves.â&#x20AC;? As it grapples with proving its monetisation model in its new, digital form and prepares for what is likely to be a competitive Premier League near-live rights auction in the coming weeks, News Corp is inevitably taking a close interest in those companies moving in the same or similar spheres. Twitter is but one, but in a complicated marketplace here at least there is clarity in the News Corp position. As Greenberg warns: â&#x20AC;&#x153;They have to make a decision about what they want to do about Vine because it will affect their ability to get people like us to do business with them.â&#x20AC;?

FC BASEL 1893 USES FIFA TMS REPORTS BECAUSE A SMART TRANSFER EQUALS SUCCESS. FIFA TMS for decision making tools on football transfers. The Global Transfer Market report gives readers unique insights regarding mobility patterns, transfer fees, player characteristics and more. The BIG5 report provides data and analysis on transfers KPXQNXKPIVJGVQRƂXGURGPFKPIEQWPVTKGUKP'WTQRG 8KUKVƂHCVOUEQOHQTOQTGKPHQTOCVKQPCPFFQYPNQCFU

IN OVER THE TOP Coliseum Sports Media caused a stir in the Kiwi rights market when it snafďŹ&#x201A;ed the rights to Englandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Premier League from under the noses of traditional pay-TV platform Sky in 2013. With that deal now at the midway point, as James Emmett discovers, CSMâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s OTT model might yet change the way the game is watched some way far beyond New Zealand.


he last cycle of Premier League media rights sales brought a surprise in the domestic market as telecoms giant BT managed to avoid all the pre-tender speculation and, hidden under a well-kept cloak of stealth, launched a successful bid that could well have ended up with the newcomer being awarded more than the two packages of rights it ultimately won. But it is not just at home that the ULJKWVWR(QJOLVKIRRWEDOO¡VWRSĂ LJKW attract challenger broadcast propositions. They have also proved to be subscription drivers for pay-TV channels the breadth of the world, and New Zealand, a full 13 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, is no different. Nevertheless, when MP & Silva went about its sub-licensing process for the Oceania rights it held to the Premier League in the summer of 2013, it probably didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t expect New Zealandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s dominant pay-TV broadcaster Sky NZ to lose its grip on the property. But, thanks to an innovative offering from start-up company Coliseum Sports Media (CSM), that is exactly what transpired. CSMâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s concept was simple: it wanted to cut out the middle man â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the broadcaster â&#x20AC;&#x201C; by offering a service that would deliver the product â&#x20AC;&#x201C; all 380 games in a Premier League season â&#x20AC;&#x201C; to the consumer, direct to their preferred device via over-the-top (OTT) streaming. Why pay for everything in a broadcastersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; portfolio if all you wanted to watch were the games of your favourite team? Having initially set CSM up as a marketing company, founder Tim Martin and his partner Simon Chesterman began working on a broadcast model they hoped would change the game in their local market

44 |

â&#x20AC;&#x153;If weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d gone and got hockey, it just wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have made the same impact. So we got the Premier League and we got it going.â&#x20AC;? and beyond. The pair established a nascent partnership with New York digital video technology company NeuLion and, after a period of â&#x20AC;&#x153;eight months of pretty intense Dragonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Den-style interrogationâ&#x20AC;?, found funding through a 50:50 agreement with Kiwi real estate developer Peter Cooper. With technology and capital in place by mid2013, CSM was ready to approach the rights market. Martin takes up the story. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We wanted everything in place before we moved for rights,â&#x20AC;? he says, speaking at Sportel. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We were very secretive â&#x20AC;&#x201C; you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want anyone to know youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re coming. It took WZR\HDUVEXW,¡GĂ RZQDOOURXQGWKH world meeting people so that I knew who to call, and I think the Premier League just stood out really. The reason we loved it is that a) itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just such great content. You can rely on the Premier League to be good. We didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think the football market in New Zealand was enormous, but we knew it was passionate. The Premier League is not the sort of thing people can do without. â&#x20AC;&#x153;But b) we also knew it was of LQWHUQDWLRQDOVLJQLĂ&#x20AC;FDQFH,I ZH¡GJRQH and got hockey, it just wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have made the same impact. So we got the Premier League and we got it going.â&#x20AC;?

Reaction to CSMâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rights win was, in Martinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s words, â&#x20AC;&#x153;pretty emotionalâ&#x20AC;?. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Skyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s share price ridiculously went down NZ$200 million in a week,â&#x20AC;? he recalls, â&#x20AC;&#x153;which is just emotion. We have this point of view: Sky has incredible penetration in the New Zealand market â&#x20AC;&#x201C; it goes to half the homes, and their sport product goes into about 35 per cent to 40 per cent of the homes, and theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve had all the sport for 20 years. But that means â&#x20AC;&#x201C; just using crude maths â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 60 per cent of 20-year-olds have never seen a Premier League match; theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve never seen Tiger Woods play a round of golf. Because itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not on any other way, and thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the penetration of Sky Sport. â&#x20AC;&#x153;So there was emotion but a lot of people were really excited that they could now access premium sporting content on the devices of their choosing, and also in a format that suits them.â&#x20AC;? Building a dedicated app called Premier League Pass, CSM offered every Premier League game streamed live on a pay-per-view basis from the beginning of the 2013/14 season. Fees were set at NZ$149.90 for the season or access on a game-by-game basis for a matter of dollars, and all you needed was a bank account, a broadband connection or Wi-Fi coverage. The live component to

Coliseum Sports Mediaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s various apps allow sports fans in New Zealand and beyond to watch leagues and events on a one-off or seasonal basis

the service is complemented by what Martin begrudgingly calls a â&#x20AC;&#x153;football ecosystemâ&#x20AC;? comprising preview and review emails, put together by CSMhired journalists in New Zealand and at NBCâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s headquarters in the US, a live-blogging feature, a self-contained fantasy game and a tipping competition. The technology behind the service is â&#x20AC;&#x153;expensive, but pretty easyâ&#x20AC;?. CSMâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s technology partner NeuLion, which streams between 40,000 and 50,000 live sports events per year, takes the international feed provided by the 3UHPLHU/HDJXHDQGDGGVDVSHFLĂ&#x20AC;F HQFRGLQJSURĂ&#x20AC;OH´<RXWKHQPRYHLW through a Content Delivery Network (CDN), which is expensive. Our high stream is currently a 45MB stream, and we do that to all devices. Every stream is different for each device and we move them all through the CDN. So itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not like running clips on YouTube.â&#x20AC;? 1HYHUWKHOHVVWKHĂ&#x20AC;UVWKDOI RI WKH 2013/14 Premier League season was, according to Martin, a â&#x20AC;&#x153;real baptism of Ă&#x20AC;UH7KRVHĂ&#x20AC;UVWVL[PRQWKVZHUHSUHWW\ hairy there.â&#x20AC;? CSM expected the market to take a little time to adapt to the new product, to the use of new technology, but there were initial teething problems, and plenty of complaints. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got 0800 numbers and a call centre which is based in New Zealand, staffed with New Zealand guys; theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re all tech specialists, and around the announcement it was extremely intense for those gentlemen,â&#x20AC;? recounts Martin. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We know all the issues that are likely to

stop a stream happening well, and what ZHĂ&#x20AC;QGSDUWLFXODUO\ZLWKVRPHRI RXU older customers, they pretty much freaked out because theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not comfortable with the technology; they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t even really use the internet. When we set this up, someone sent us an email and the gist of it was: â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have the internet; I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want the internet and Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m not getting the internet.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; And it was an email. Many of them have still got 20-year-old modems that just arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t designed to stream anything and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s such an easy thing to change.â&#x20AC;? Having paid an undisclosed sum for the rights â&#x20AC;&#x201C; MP & Silva is believed to have purchased the original package of New Zealand rights direct from the Premier League for around US$2.5 PLOOLRQSHUVHDVRQ²&60¡VĂ&#x20AC;QDQFLDO

Tim Martin, founder of Coliseum Sports Media

modelling allowed for a worst-case, middle-case, and best-case scenario via subscriptions. While Martin is reticent to reveal numbers, he will see that after WKHĂ&#x20AC;UVWVHDVRQ´ZHZHUHMXVWEHORZ the middle case, where we netted out in the end, and what we saw was a massive rush and then a plateau.â&#x20AC;? This season, however, the numbers are up, fuelled in some part by the launch of an HD product halfway through last term. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This season weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re 100 per cent up on subscribers,â&#x20AC;? says Martin. â&#x20AC;&#x153;And weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re about 75 per cent up on revenue. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve given away a lot more free product; weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve done a lot of free trials and that works really well for us. If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re offering a streaming product, and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s complementary to a broadcast option, customers are really forgiving; theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re really grateful for it, it provides convenience and typically itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s free. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a nice-to-have. But when youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve taken the broadcast option away, and youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re making them pay for it, it needs WREHDWWKHWRSOHYHOKLJKGHĂ&#x20AC;QLWLRQRQ an 80-inch screen. And so itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s taken us a while to get that how we want it.â&#x20AC;? Having signed rights deals with YDULRXVJROĂ&#x20AC;QJDXWKRULWLHVLQFOXGLQJD VLJQLĂ&#x20AC;FDQWGHDOZLWKWKH3*$7RXUDQG a new agreement with French Top 14 UXJE\²ZKHUH1HZ=HDODQGĂ \KDOI 'DQ Carter will be plying his trade after this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Rugby World Cup â&#x20AC;&#x201C; CSM has built a portfolio around its initial tranche of football rights, and acceptance is growing. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re about improving access to sport,â&#x20AC;? argues Martin. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s one of the foundations that we set up on. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re SOCCEREXPRO | 45

China: the OTT opportunity he fact that CSM and its Premier League Pass product have been granted access to the Taiwanese and Filipino markets signals a willingness on the part of the Premier League, and its associated commercial agents, to try something new in an effort to penetrate in territories that have lagged behind their Asian neighbours in terms of pay-TV subscriptions of late. According to Martin, the initial results have been encouraging, but it is in China that OTT delivery is set to explode. â&#x20AC;&#x153;China is unique,â&#x20AC;? explains Chris Guinness, head of IMG Media in Asia PaciďŹ c and a man who knows the market better than most. â&#x20AC;&#x153;On the one hand, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s frustrating, but on the other hand unbelievably exciting. Traditional broadcast business is consolidating. So [state broadcaster] CCTV is getting stronger not weaker. They still have


the only nationally distributed sports platform in CCTV 5. In terms of our opportunity to grow our basic broadcast business, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been quite tough. So thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s reasonably ďŹ&#x201A;at. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The digital market in China is completely the opposite. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s pretty unique for us in that itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s possibly the only market in the world for us where we generate meaningful income selling digital rights. These are primarily to video portals for second screen usage, which is primarily driven now by tablets and mobile. â&#x20AC;&#x153;However, what is now happening is actually more exciting than both of those areas put together, which is actually enhancing the viewer experience in the home â&#x20AC;&#x201C; OTT. That OTT opportunity is potentially going to be huge in terms of the growth of smart TVs and the proliferation of content for that purpose. Those video portals are

competing against the broadcasters. Obviously itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s still heavily regulated by the government and you have to be partly government-owned to have an OTT licence. That doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t stop you as a content provider from having a partnership with those OTT licence operators to exploit this area. And that new combined area will be far bigger than anything thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gone before, and thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s massively exciting for us. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s starting to happen now. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s bringing in new players who have mainly been focused on hardware manufacture up until now â&#x20AC;&#x201C; smartphones and tablets, but also OTT set-top boxes. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a company called Xiaomi, which is already now the third-largest smartphone manufacturer in the world. In ďŹ ve years itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gone from zero to US$10 billion. Staggering. But the growth in smart TV sales has been phenomenal.â&#x20AC;?

trying to do whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s good for the sport and whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s good for the fans and open access at a really cheap price with no other encumbrance. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This product is not designed to be watched on a small screen. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fantastic that you can, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s designed to be ZDWFKHGLQLQFKHVLQKLJKGHĂ&#x20AC;QLWLRQ What weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve found is that one of the problems we had earlier on was a hardware issue, particularly through Android. We have adaptive streaming, and adaptive streaming measures how good your internet connection is, and based on the quality of your internet connection it gives you the highestquality stream you can take.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;The quality of broadband in New Zealand is much better than people think it is, and this technology is designed to work on standard ADSL2 copper connections. Your adaptive streaming is measuring the quality of your broadband, and going, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Hey, great, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got a really good internet connection, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re going to send you the 45MB stream.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; But then they try and run it on a really crappy NZ$100 tablet and the reasonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a hundred bucks is it hasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t got any of the processing power that you need to process a stream of that weight. So it all goes juddery and it doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t work. So they pick up the phone and say, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;You know, fuck you Coliseum, your thing doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t work! Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m writing to the Premier League!â&#x20AC;&#x2122;â&#x20AC;?

Clearly the letters to the Premier League made no impact. A year into the deal, CSM was given the go-ahead by the league and its licensor in the region, MP & Silva, to roll out the Premier League Pass product in Taiwan and the 3KLOLSSLQHV²ERWKVLJQLĂ&#x20AC;FDQWSRWHQWLDO growth markets, but ones that havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t achieved the type of pay-TV numbers elsewhere in Asia. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Everyone keeps telling me Taiwan is a terrible football market,â&#x20AC;? says Martin. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Well weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re selling product there and we know exactly how many people watch games and how many people are prepared to pay for football and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not as bad as everyone thinks it is in our opinion, based on what we see.â&#x20AC;?

Top 14 rugby union, set to star Dan Carter later this year, Premier League football and elite golf all have bespoke services available on CSM platforms 46 |




You can now download both our industry-leading, monthly magazine, SportsPro, and our new quarterly publication, SoccerexPro, via our APP. Available for all smartphones and tablets, SUBSCRIBE TODAY to receive 11 digital issues of SportsPro and four issues of SoccerexPro annually - plus the entire digitalised archive of SportsPro back issues. Getting inside the industry has never been easier. ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION UK£94.99 | SINGLE ISSUES UK£14.99 To subscribe please visit our online shop or contact us on the details below. PLEASE NOTE that cancellations or exchanges of current active print subscriptions is not permitted.

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FROM MINOR TO MAJOR Football enjoyed a ďŹ ne year in the US in 2014, with the national teamâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s tenacious performances in the Fifa World Cup greeted euphorically by a youthful mainstream audience. In the close season, ahead of a year of expansion in 2015, Major League Soccer has been retooling to meet the demands of its growing legion of supporters. James Emmett and Eoin Connolly ďŹ nd out more.



The Major League Soccer rebrand is intended to reďŹ&#x201A;ect a new ground-up approach to its identity 48 |


MLS commissioner Don Garber signs the logo


The core property of the MLS logo is that it is adaptable enough to be used in a range of ways



KickTV and the network which has bought it, Copa90, are both premium digital video offerings which cover the breadth of football fan culture



Bosnian fans appear in an original Copa90 documentary made during the Sarajevo derby


Tactical know-how Pinsent Masons Global Sports Group Soccerex Global Legal Partner Advising clients across Asia on the business of sport. UK Europe Middle East Asia PaciďŹ c Š Pinsent Masons LLP 2015

PLAYERSâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; LOUNGE

TITI CAMARA Guineaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Titi Camara is best remembered for spells at Marseille and Liverpool but his has been a colourful and eventful career, both before and after his time as a player ended. Now 42, he caught up with Michael Long to discuss life on and off the ďŹ eld.

How did you ďŹ nd the transition away from competing?

When I was still a player, when I was playing for my last team in Amiens in France, I was already in business at the time. I built a company in telecommunications. I used to buy phone units from the state company and then sell the units to people. :KHQ,Ă&#x20AC;QLVKHGP\FRQWUDFWLQ)UDQFH I went back to Guinea. I had already thought about the transition so as soon DV,Ă&#x20AC;QLVKHGP\FRQWUDFW,ZHQWEDFNWR Guinea and got back to work. There was no gap between the end of my career and the beginning of my business career, VR,GLGQ¡WKDYHDQ\GLIĂ&#x20AC;FXOWLHVWKLQNLQJ about what to do after my career. Would you advise current players to prepare for retirement as early as possible?

Phil Noble/PA Archive/ Press Association Images

Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s very important for young players WRWKLQNDERXWLWEXWLWLVGLIĂ&#x20AC;FXOWZKHQ youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re young because you focus on your sport. It depends on your body, the way that you play football. When you are VWLOODSOD\HULWLVYHU\GLIĂ&#x20AC;FXOWGXULQJ your career to think about what you are going to do afterwards. But you should have to do it; even if it is hard, you have to think about it. You have to look for

52 |

VRPHWKLQJLQ\RXUVHOI,Ă&#x20AC;UVWWULHGZLWK the telecommunication company but as I was always playing football, I wanted to come back to do a business in football. What exactly have you been doing since retiring?

In Guinea in 2010 they had the presidential elections and I supported one of the candidates because this candidate had a project regarding sport. The condition that I gave to this candidate was basically that if you want me to be in your government, you have to organise the next Africa Cup of Nations. Actually, now it will be in 2023. And now I have started a new project, the Titi Camara Academy, in Guinea. In this foundation, the kids go to school in the morning and in the afternoon they play football. I created a club, the Racing Club of Guinea, so you have the academy, the school and then the team, because you need to play. They play in yellow and black, like Dortmund. How much of your time is now spent on the academy?

Every day. 24/7. Looking back, what is your fondest memory of your playing days?

It was the day that the Liverpool coach, Gerard Houllier, told me that my father was dead. He told me that at 12 and I had to play at seven [against West Ham 8QLWHGDW$QĂ&#x20AC;HOGOHIW@,SOD\HGWKH game, I scored, and because the public knew about that they gave me a standing ovation. It was the best souvenir. What are your personal feelings towards Liverpool Football Club?

Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s complicated to explain because from far away, everybody knows that it is a massive club. They have fans all over

Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport

Titi Camara celebrates scoring the only goal in Liverpoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 1-0 Premier League win away to Arsenal at Highbury on 13th February 2000


Camara in the community


fter hanging up his boots in 2006, Titi Camara turned his attention to developing sport, and in particular football, in his native Guinea. In 2010 he was installed by president Alpha Condé as the West African country’s sports minister, becoming the first former sportsperson to hold a government position in Guinea. Camara held the post for almost two years, eventually being replaced in October 2012 as part of a wider government reshuffle. Following that brief stint in politics, Camara has gone on to establish the Titi Camara Football Academy, a training centre for talented young

footballers of up to 14 years old. Located in Conakry, the capital and largest city in the Republic of Guinea, the facility offers tailored courses combining football coaching with academic study. These run for five years, with daily field-based technical training complemented by classroom sessions designed to teach students the principles of football as well as other values such as good citizenship, respect for others and professionalism. The academy is affiliated to the Racing Club de Guinée, the amateur club Camara founded several years ago and which enrolled students represent on a regular basis against local teams. Its

mission statement is simple: ‘To enhance the image of Guinea by the production of teams capable of competing with the best on the continent.’ With the academy up and running, Camara and his support team are now seeking to raise nearly US$3 million in order to construct a brand new facility in Conakry. Their proposal calls for the construction of a modern two-storey building that will house the academy’s new offices, as well as an infirmary, a shop, changing facilities and dormitories for up to 30 students. The plans will also see the construction of three grass, sand and synthetic football pitches set within almost 800m2 of green space.

the world. When you know the history of the team, and when you play for the team, even for one game, you have to give everything you have. I am still following the team and every time I see them on the TV, I still have the same emotion. I tell my children that playing for the team is a great feeling. They have an amazing stadium. Given the money in the game nowadays, is it more important than ever for footballers to give back to society, as you are now doing?

Italian striker Fabrizio Ravanelli embraces Camara during their time at Ligue 1 side Marseille

Titi Camara: playing career Club


League appearances








RC Lens





Olympique de Marseille










West Ham United




2003 (loan)

Al-Ittihad FC

Saudi Arabia




Al-Sailiya SC









International career







Titi Camara served as head coach of Guinea in 2009 in his sole managerial role 54 |

In any period of time, it is important. It is not a question of having a lot of money because the career of a player is still the same length, only ten or 15 years. It is a question of having the motivation to give back to football what football gave to you.

Camara in his spell as head coach of Guinea

Ivory Coast goalkeeper Boubacar Barry scores the winning penalty in a shootout to decide the final of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations. Les Éléphants, who had lost two previous finals on spot kicks, prevailed 9-8 after a 0-0 draw in Bata, Equatorial Guinea on 8th February, winning their first African title since 1992.



THE SCORE: THE RICH LIST Real Madrid retained their position as the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s highest-earning football club as Deloitte published the 18th edition of its Money League list in January. SoccerexPro draws out some of the lessons of the latest report.


n the year that they won their tenth European title, Real Madrid retained the status of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s richest club. 7KH6SDQLVKJLDQWVĂ&#x20AC;QLVKHGWRSRI  the Deloitte Money League for the tenth consecutive year in 2013/14, recording revenues of â&#x201A;Ź549.5 million. The remainder RI WKHDQQXDOUHSRUWSURĂ&#x20AC;OLQJWKHZRUOG¡V 20 highest-earning sides, was perhaps a similar reiteration of the status quo. 3URIHVVLRQDOVHUYLFHVĂ&#x20AC;UP'HORLWWH has issued its Money League for every European season â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and corresponding Ă&#x20AC;QDQFLDO\HDU²VLQFH,WKDV divided the incomes of each club into three discrete categories â&#x20AC;&#x201C; matchday takings, broadcast earnings and commercial revenue â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and excluded other moneys such as transfer fees. ,QWKHHUDRI WKH0RQH\/HDJXH¡V publication club football has grown exponentially in value and this year, IRUWKHĂ&#x20AC;UVWWLPHWZRWHDPVSRVWHG WDNLQJVRI RYHUKDOI DELOOLRQHXURV,WLV easily forgotten amid their subsequent travails that Manchester United were Premier League champions going into the 2013/14 season and they joined Real Madrid on the other side of that EDUULHUEULQJLQJLQ½PLOOLRQWRULVH to second in the rankings. Germanyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Bayern Munich, Bundesliga champions again last season after winning the Uefa Champions League the previous year, rounded out the top three with an LQFRPHRI ½PLOOLRQ Three different nations represent the top three, but 19 places in the top 20 DUHWDNHQE\MXVWĂ&#x20AC;YHOHDJXHV(QJODQG¡V Premier League, Spainâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s La Liga, *HUPDQ\¡V%XQGHVOLJD,WDO\¡V6HULH$DQG

56 |

Franceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Ligue 1. Galatasaray of Turkey are the only team from outside that cohort but even this presents an incomplete SLFWXUH4DWDULEDFNHG3DULV6DLQW*HUPDLQ are the only French side, too. The report gives another indication that wealth at the top of the club game is calcifying in fewer and fewer deposits. For all the prosperity of Barcelona and 5HDO0DGULG6SDQLVKFKDPSLRQV$WOpWLFR Madrid are the only other side from La Liga in the top 20; eight Premier League teams make the list. Broadcast revenue While commercial revenues accounted for the greatest proportion of the earnings of Europeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ten wealthiest clubs in 2013/14 at â&#x201A;Ź1.9 billion, it was the change in the broadcast rights landscape WKDWSURPSWHGWKHPRVWVLJQLĂ&#x20AC;FDQW FKDQJHLQWKHOLVW6SHFLĂ&#x20AC;FDOO\LWZDV the beginning of the current three-year cycle of Premier League rights â&#x20AC;&#x201C; those sold to BT Sport and Sky Sports in the UK, and a plethora of willing buyers internationally, back in 2012. Total television income for the Premier League is estimated at over UKÂŁ5 billion once international rights are included, and the share of that money between participating clubs is more equitable than in any other major European league. Thus the earning potential of every PHPEHURI (QJODQG¡VWRSĂ LJKWKDV been transformed â&#x20AC;&#x201C; something which LVUHĂ HFWHGLQWKHIDFWZHUHWKHOLVWWR run to 40, according to The Telegraph newspaper, every team in the 2013/14 Premier League would feature. The likes of Hull City and Crystal Palace, with

respect, would leave many more storied WHDPVLQWKHLUĂ&#x20AC;QDQFLDOZDNH Everton make only their second ever appearance in the list at number 20, buoyed by broadcast revenues which grew DOPRVWSHUFHQWWR½PLOOLRQ7KDW Ă&#x20AC;JXUHPDNHVXSSHUFHQWRI WKHLUWRWDO earnings. Newcastle United also return, with their broadcast income climbing 53 per cent to â&#x201A;Ź93.5 million and absorbing the loss of Uefa Europa League football. ,WLVDSKHQRPHQRQZKLFKZLOOQR doubt be cast in sharper relief when the next set of Premier League domestic rights deals, signed in February at a total value of UKÂŁ5.136 billion, come on VWUHDPLQ Outside of England, the importance of top-level European competition continues WREHIHOW$WOpWLFR0DGULG¡VEURDGFDVW take grew from â&#x201A;Ź52.5 million in 2012/13 to â&#x201A;Ź96.5 million in 2013/14. The single biggest factor in this was the clubâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s run to

Picture by: Andrew Matthews/EMPICS Sport

Real Madrid ďŹ nally hunted down La DĂŠcima, their tenth European title, in 2013/14, and ďŹ nished the year as the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s richest club for the tenth time

WKHĂ&#x20AC;QDORI WKH8HID&KDPSLRQV/HDJXH which earned them â&#x201A;Ź50 million â&#x20AC;&#x201C; ten times what they had made in the Europa League the previous year. The imbalance of Spainâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s broadcast sales model, which allows clubs to exploit their own individual rights, is also apparent here. Real Madrid made more than twice as much as their city rivals in this sector, bringing in a barrier-breaking â&#x201A;Ź204.2 million. Commercial revenue Two things immediately become apparent upon examination of the commercial incomes of the leading clubs. One is that there is a stark difference between clubs tied to older sponsorship deals and those beginning new ones. The other, meanwhile, is that this is the area where there is the greatest difference between what the very biggest clubs and the rest can achieve.

Leaving aside the anomalous activities of Paris Saint-Germain, the top three clubs in the Money League were also the highest earners in this sector. Real Madrid, Manchester United and Bayern Munich all share an ability to diversify their sponsorship portfolios internationally, with United in particular becoming specialists in selling regionalised sponsorship packages in HYHUPRUHFRUQHUVRI WKHZRUOG$OOWKUHH DUHDOVRDEOHWREHQHĂ&#x20AC;WIURPLQWHUQDWLRQDO fanbases and embark on the tours required to satisfy both those supporters and growing clans of commercial partners. Bayern and Real, furthermore, can do this during mid-season breaks, when United and their Premier League peers are engaged in one of the busiest periods of the English season. Bayern have also established a New <RUNRIĂ&#x20AC;FHIRULQWHUQDWLRQDOVSRQVRUVKLS VDOHVEXWWKHUHDUHWZRPRUHVLJQLĂ&#x20AC;FDQW

reasons for the commercial pre-eminence WKDWVDZWKHPHDUQ½PLOOLRQLQWKLV sector. One is a rampant merchandising department which reaped â&#x201A;Ź105.2 million, helped by replica shirt sales of 1.3 million. The other is that new deals with the likes of Deutsche Telekom came online in 2013/14. Manchester United, by contrast, began their shirt deal with Chevrolet in 2014/15 and will wait until next season to EHJLQDZRUOGUHFRUG8.Â&#x2026;PLOOLRQNLW VXSSO\SDUWQHUVKLSZLWK$GLGDV Two teams that look set to spring further up the list in this category next VHDVRQDUH$UVHQDODQG-XYHQWXV7KH London sideâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s commercial earnings were shackled in previous years by frontloaded contracts with Emirates and Nike, intended to provide a measure of security during their move to the Emirates Stadium. Emirates have now begun a much more lucrative renewal worth UKÂŁ30 million a season, while SOCCEREXPRO | 57

Deloitte Money League 2013/14 League

2013/14 revenues


Real Madrid

La Liga

â&#x201A;Ź549.5 million


Manchester United

Premier League

â&#x201A;Ź518 million


Bayern Munich


â&#x201A;Ź487.5 million


FC Barcelona

La Liga

â&#x201A;Ź484.6 million


Paris Saint-Germain

Ligue 1

â&#x201A;Ź474.2 million


Manchester City

Premier League

â&#x201A;Ź414.4 million



Premier League

â&#x201A;Ź387.9 million



Premier League

â&#x201A;Ź359.3 million



Premier League

â&#x201A;Ź305.9 million



Serie A

â&#x201A;Ź279.4 million


Borussia Dortmund


â&#x201A;Ź261.5 million


AC Milan

Serie A

â&#x201A;Ź249.7 million


Tottenham Hotspur

Premier League

â&#x201A;Ź215.8 million


Schalke 04


â&#x201A;Ź213.9 million


AtlĂŠtico Madrid

La Liga

â&#x201A;Ź169.9 million



Serie A

â&#x201A;Ź164.8 million



Serie A

â&#x201A;Ź164 million



SĂźper Lig

â&#x201A;Ź161.9 million


Newcastle United

Premier League

â&#x201A;Ź155.1 million



Premier League

â&#x201A;Ź144.1 million

Source: Deloitte

the clubâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new kit deal with Puma was the biggest in the Premier League before Manchester United signed with $GLGDV-XYHQWXVPHDQZKLOHZLOOVRRQ EHJLQDQHZ½PLOOLRQD\HDUFRQWUDFW H[WHQVLRQZLWK-HHSDQGZLOODOVRVZLWFK IURP1LNHWR$GLGDVQH[WVXPPHU This is also the era of Financial Fair Play and for some of Europeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s biggestspending clubs, a boost in sponsorship revenues appeared the quickest way of balancing the books. This was particularly true of the petrochemical-

fuelled nouveau riche. Whereas Chelsea sought to address their transfer strategy ²Ă&#x20AC;QDOO\PDQDJLQJWREULQJLQDVPXFK for players as they spend â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain looked to their ownership groups for answers, with some creative commercial manipulation the result. For the Ligue 1 side this manifested itself in commercial income RI DQH[WUDRUGLQDU\½PLOOLRQ comfortably the biggest in the Money League. That, though, was bulked out E\LQĂ DWHGGHDOVVXFKDVWKDWVLJQHGZLWK

The Premier Leagueâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 2014-17 TV deals propelled Everton and Newcastle United on to the list 58 |

WKH4DWDU7RXULVP$XWKRULW\DQGZKDW Deloitte accepted as commercial income, Uefa preferred to see as the ownersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; loss. Matchday revenues Stadium-related income is perhaps the toughest of the three sectors to grow substantially â&#x20AC;&#x201C; without, that is, major investment in infrastructure. The two best-performing clubs in this DUHD²0DQFKHVWHU8QLWHGDQG$UVHQDO â&#x20AC;&#x201C; have both spent heavily on their home grounds since the Money League ZDVLQDXJXUDWHG8QLWHGE\JUDGXDOO\ expanding the capacity of Old Trafford EH\RQG$UVHQDOE\OHDYLQJ Highbury for the more lucrative environs of the new Emirates Stadium. $UVHQDO¡VQRUWK/RQGRQQHLJKERXUV Tottenham Hotspur are among those seeking to emulate the Gunners in moving home while staying in the same place â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a new 61,000-seater stadium, within walking distance of White Hart Lane, is edging closer to reality. Helped by sell-out crowds and London ticket prices, Spurs were still able to post matchday revenues of â&#x201A;Ź52.5 million â&#x20AC;&#x201C; MXVWRYHUKDOI WKRVHRI $UVHQDOEXWVWLOO an increase of 11 per cent on 2012/13. ,Q,WDO\ZKHUHUHQWDORI SXEOLFO\ RZQHGVWDGLXPVLVWKHQRUP-XYHQWXV VHUYHDVWKHQHZPRGHO$&0LODQ UHFHQWO\MRLQHG$65RPD²DOLNHO\ contender for future editions of the list ²LQVHHNLQJWRĂ&#x20AC;QDQFHDQHZSULYDWHO\ owned ground. Plans were revealed for DVHDWHUIDFLOLW\LQ)HEUXDU\7KLV LVDQDUHDLQZKLFK,WDOLDQFOXEVVWUXJJOH â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Milanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s earnings from the San Siro dropped six per cent â&#x201A;Ź24.9 million in SODFLQJWKHPWKDPRQJWKH Money League clubs in this stream. Drops in matchday income can affect every club â&#x20AC;&#x201C; even Real Madrid. The ZRUOG¡VULFKHVWWHDPPDGH½PLOOLRQ at the Santiago Bernabeu in 2013/14, down four per cent from the previous \HDU,QWKHVWDGLXPKDGSOD\HG KRVWWRWKHĂ&#x20AC;QDORI WKH&RSDGHO5H\&XS runs at home and in Europe mean that individual results can cause considerable Ă XFWXDWLRQVLQPDWFKGD\LQFRPHIURP\HDU to year, not least with clubs earning sums FRPIRUWDEO\LQWKHVHYHQĂ&#x20AC;JXUHUDQJH IRUHDFKKRPHĂ&#x20AC;[WXUH(YHQZLWK5HDO Madridâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s plans for a â&#x201A;Ź420 million revamp of the Bernabeu blocked by the city council, that trend looks set to continue.

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1 CANADA 2015 Gold Cup hosts cities unveiled The 13 host cities for the 2015 Concacaf Gold Cup were announced at the end of 2014, with the tournament set to visit &DQDGDIRUWKHĂ&#x20AC;UVWWLPH Toronto will join the US cities of Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia and Phoenix in staging the competition, which runs from 7th to 26th July. $UDQJHRI 1)/DQGIRRWEDOOVSHFLĂ&#x20AC;F venues will be used for the 12-team tournament, with defending champions USA one of three seeds who head up a group, along with Costa Rica and Mexico. 60 |

2 MOROCCO Morocco banned and ďŹ ned by CAF The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has banned Morocco from the next two Africa Cup of Nations tournaments, in 2017 and 2019, after it refused to host the 2015 edition, citing unacceptable risk due to the Ebola outbreak in parts of Africa. The Royal Federation of Moroccan Football (FRMF) has also been Ă&#x20AC;QHG86PLOOLRQDQGRUGHUHGWRSD\½ million in damages. The tournament was relocated to Equatorial Guinea at two monthsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; notice and was played between 17th -DQXDU\DQGWK)HEUXDU\7KH)50)LV appealing the sanctions at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

3 SPAIN CAS rejects Barcelonaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Fifa transfer appeal FC Barcelonaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s appeal against Fifaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s decision to sanction the Spanish club for a breach of rules regarding the protection of minors was dismissed by CAS at the end of December. Barcelona, found by Fifa to have infringed regulations on the registration of a number of players LQWKHLU\RXWKVHWXSZHUHĂ&#x20AC;QHG CHF450,000 and forced to undergo a transfer embargo for two transfer windows. The sanctions, delayed until the result of the CAS decision, will now stand.






4 ENGLAND Premier League clubs top the spending charts Despite a quiet January transfer window by recent standards, the UKÂŁ130 million VSHQWE\FOXEVIURPWKH8.¡VWRSĂ LJKW was still around double that spent by those in Italyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Serie A â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the next highestspending league in Europe. Gross spending by the top clubs in Spain and Germany came was 40 per cent of the Premier League total. Spending in the Premier League matched the total outlay in January 2014, though it came in well below the UKÂŁ225 million shelled out in January 2011, according to a report by Deloitte. Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea were the biggest gross spenders in the latest window, accounting for around 50 per cent of the Premier League total.

5 ITALY GLT over the line in Italy ,WDO\¡VWRSĂ LJKW6HULH$KDVXQDQLPRXVO\ approved the use of goal-line technology (GLT) from the 2015/16 season. League president Maurizio Beretta made the announcement in mid-February, FRQĂ&#x20AC;UPLQJWKDWWKUHHGLIIHUHQWV\VWHPV â&#x20AC;&#x201C; including Hawk-Eye, GoalControl and another â&#x20AC;&#x153;innovative technologyâ&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201C; are being considered. GoalControl was used at last summerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Fifa World Cup in Brazil, while Hawk-Eye is already utilised by Englandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Premier League and Germanyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Bundesliga. Once chosen, the system could be tested at this seasonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Italian Cup Ă&#x20AC;QDOLQ-XQHRULQWKHVHDVRQRSHQLQJ Italian Super Cup in August.

6 TURKEY Turkey relaxes foreign player cap The Turkish Football Federation (TFF) has relaxed limits on foreign players in a bid to increase competitiveness and tackle soaring transfer fees for homegrown talent. From next season, clubs will be allowed to have 14 overseas players in WKHLUPDQVTXDGVDQGLQWKHLU man matchday squads, down from eight DQGVL[7KLVPDNHVLWSRVVLEOHWRĂ&#x20AC;HOGDQ entirely foreign starting XI. Whereas some feel it will improve the quality of Turkeyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s SĂźper Lig and strengthen the top clubs on the European stage, others fear it will make life harder for Turkish players to the detriment of the national side. SOCCEREXPRO | 61


Rebecca Naden/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Dario Lopez-Mills/AP/Press Association Images

7 MEXICO Mexico City to host 2016 Fifa Congress Mexico will welcome world footballâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s governing bodies at the 2016 Fifa Congress, as Concacaf sets its sights on hosting the 2026 World Cup. After the disappointment of the USA losing out to Qatar for 2022, the North and Central American confederation wants to see one of its members host IRRWEDOO¡VELJJHVWWRXUQDPHQWIRUWKHĂ&#x20AC;UVW time since 1994. The congress, which may be a precursor to a Mexican bid, will take place on 12th May at the National Auditorium in Mexico City and the following day at the nearby Banamex Convention Centre.

8 CARIBBEAN Caribbean Premier League moves closer to reality The establishment of a Caribbean Premier League inched closer in January as a task force set up by Concacaf met to review a stadium infrastructure study intended to identify potential host countries and stadia for the proposed league. The task force, which comprises an international group of experts including Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore and MLS commissioner Don Garber, evaluated four countries and nine VWDGLXPVLGHQWLĂ&#x20AC;HGLQWKHVWXG\DVZHOODV discussing potential league formats. The study reportedly recommends visiting other markets in the region with existing venues of 5,000-plus capacity. The next phase of the viability review will see the task force consider other aspects of the league such as ticket sales, sponsorship and broadcast rights.

9 BRAZIL CBF bans third-party ownership Third-party ownership of player registrations will be prohibited in Brazil from the start of May, in a move which will see the country follow Fifaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new guidelines on the practice. Multiple groups owning stakes in players has been common in Brazil, across South America and in other markets such as Portugal for many years, ZLWKLQYHVWRUVORRNLQJWRVHFXUHDSURĂ&#x20AC;W LI WKHSOD\HULVVROGRQIRUDVLJQLĂ&#x20AC;FDQW transfer fee. Brazilâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s national association, the CBF, said that contracts involving any players with a third-party owner signed before May will only be valid for a single year, before the practice is outlawed entirely. Fifa announced plans to ban third-party ownership last September.



9 62 |

EQUATORIAL GUINEA Obiang issues pardon after AFCON crowd trouble 2015 Africa Cup of Nations hosts (TXDWRULDO*XLQHDZHUHĂ&#x20AC;QHG 86IROORZLQJFURZG disturbances which marred the home WHDP¡VVHPLĂ&#x20AC;QDOZLWK*KDQDLQ January. The game was interrupted for half an hour after fans launched missiles at Ghanaian supporters. 'HVSLWHWKHĂ&#x20AC;QHKDQGHGRXWE\ CAF, Equatorial Guineaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s dictatorial president Teodoro Obiang publicly pardoned 149 people arrested following the clashes. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The president of the republic, in his role as chief magistrate of the nation and father of all of you, has forgiven you and you are free,â&#x20AC;? Martin Ndong Nsue, president of the Malbo Supreme Court, told the group of fans.

Hamada Elrasam/AP/Press Association Images


11 EGYPT Egyptian Premier League suspended after stadium deaths Egyptian Premier League matches were suspended for almost two weeks by the government after at least 22 people died at the Air Defence stadium in Cairo on 9th February. A stampede, reportedly sparked by the policeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s use of tear gas, occurred ahead of the match between rival Cairo clubs Zamalek and ENPPI, with people trampled to death or killed by asphyxiation. It echoed events of February 2012, when a riot in Port Said claimed the lives of 74 fans and the league was suspended for a year.

12 HONG KONG ATV retains Hong Kong Premier League broadcast rights Broadcaster ATV has held on to the rights to Hong Kongâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s top professional league, the BOCG Life Hong Kong Premier League, despite club unrest. As well as providing live and recorded coverage of matches, ATV must produce promotional programmes for the sport and individual teams. According to the South China Morning Post, the free-to-air channel had been given a weekâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ultimatum to improve its coverage following complaints from the clubs, who felt it was doing little to promote football and were also disappointed with the late broadcasting times of recorded matches. Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA) chief executive Mark Sutcliffe said ATV had â&#x20AC;&#x153;agreed a number of improvementsâ&#x20AC;?.

11 12


SIGNINGS Fifa ties up North American TV deals until 2026 Fifa has tied up its North American media rights until 2026, after announcing extensions with Fox and Telemundo in the United States and CTV/TSN in Canada. The announcement came as a surprise as the broadcasters had already agreed deals up to and including the controversial 2022 World Cup, to be staged in Qatar. Fox, in particular, has previously indicated its opposition to the now-likely switch of dates, which will see Qatar 2022 played in the northern hemisphere winter rather than the usual summer slot. As well as the 2026 menâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s World Cup, which does not currently have a host venue, the new 2023 to 2026 package includes the 2023 Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s World Cup, plus two under-20 competitions, two under-17 tournaments, the 2025 Confederations Cup and events in futsal and beach soccer. â&#x20AC;&#x153;These agreements guarantee wide distribution for Fifa tournaments across the US and Canada,â&#x20AC;? said Fifa director of television Niclas Ericson. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Together, we will be able to further promote football in North America and build on the impressive interest shown by audiences in these major territories during the 2014 Fifa World Cup.â&#x20AC;?

Spar teams up with FAI The Football Association of Ireland )$, KDVQDPHG6SDUDVLWVRIĂ&#x20AC;FLDO convenience retail partner. The four-year agreement with the Republic of Irelandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s national association also sees BWG Group-owned Spar becoming the title sponsor of the QDWLRQDOĂ&#x20AC;YHDVLGHFRPSHWLWLRQIRUER\V DQGJLUOVLQIRXUWKĂ&#x20AC;IWKDQGVL[WKFODVV the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Primary School 5s Programmeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. $VRIĂ&#x20AC;FLDOFRQYHQLHQFHSDUWQHUWRWKH FAI, Spar will have a visible presence at all Republic of Ireland home games at the Aviva Stadium, as well as on the FAIâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s website and at FAI media conferences. 64 |

Nick Potts/EMPICS Sport

A selection of the major deals agreed by the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leading clubs, players and competitions in the past three months. For daily updates visit or follow @SportsPro on Twitter.

Fox and Telemundo, the Spanish language US rights holder, will broadcast WKHLUĂ&#x20AC;UVWPHQ¡V:RUOG&XSLQ after taking the Fifa rights from ESPN and Univision in a deal which will begin with this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s World Cup in Canada. That deal was believed to be worth over US$1 billion in total. 1RĂ&#x20AC;QDQFLDOGHWDLOVRI WKHIRXU\HDU extension were immediately available. In a statement, Fox Sports said it was â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;truly honouredâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; to extend its agreement. In Canada, meanwhile, Bell Media, which owns CTV, TSN and RDS networks, has also extended a deal which began this

year. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This is another big win for Bell Media and for soccer fans in Canada,â&#x20AC;? said Phil King, the president of CTV programming and sports We are ready to welcome the world to this summerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Fifa Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s World Cup Canada 2015 and are looking forward to showcasing the beautiful game for years to come.â&#x20AC;? Both Canada and the United States have been suggested as potential bidders for the 2026 menâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s World Cup. Canada has never hosted the tournament, while the United States, which lost out to Qatar during the controversial bid for the 2022 edition, last hosted in 1994.

FAI chief executive John Delaney said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;While the senior menâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s team managed by Martin Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Neill get most of the attention and column inches, the game at the grassroots level is the heartbeat of Irish soccer.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;We never take the thousands of volunteers all over Ireland, who teach the value of teamwork, friendship and being part of the local community to our young players, for granted. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s announcement will help us to further support these efforts.â&#x20AC;? BWG Group chief executive Leo Crawford added: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our sponsorship of the FAI and our involvement with the Spar Primary School 5s Programme will allow us to give something back to our loyal customers.â&#x20AC;? The â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Spar Primary School 5s Programmeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; commenced in February and runs until May.

APPOINTMENTS Charlie Wijeratna Premier League club Aston Villa have named Baku 2015 executive &KDUOLH:LMHUDWQDDVWKHLUĂ&#x20AC;UVW HYHUFKLHI FRPPHUFLDORIĂ&#x20AC;FHU Wijeratna, the former Tottenham Hostpur commercial chief, will have responsibility for all areas of revenue generation and will also oversee Villaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s marketing and media operations. Sporting Kansas City appoint Legends Hospitality Major League Soccer (MLS) club Sporting Kansas City have agreed a long-term partnership with Legends Hospitality. 7KHĂ&#x20AC;UPZLOORSHUDWHDOORQVLWHIRRG and beverage outlets and premium catering at the American sideâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s home Sporting Park. Legends will develop a new menu and service programme, which will be implemented in time for Sportingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s opening home game of the VHDVRQDJDLQVWWKH1HZ<RUN5HG %XOOV1RĂ&#x20AC;QDQFLDOWHUPVZHUHUHOHDVHG â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is an honour to be selected by

Commerzbank extends Eintracht Frankfurt stadium deal *HUPDQĂ&#x20AC;QDQFLDOLQVWLWXWLRQ Commerzbank has renewed its naming rights sponsorship agreement with Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt. The deal will see the bank stay as the naming rights partner of Frankfurtâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 51,500-capacity home stadium - the Commerzbank-Arena until at least the end of the 2019/20 Bundesliga season. 7KHQHZĂ&#x20AC;YH\HDUGHDOZKLFK extends the agreement past its current

Sporting Kansas City,â&#x20AC;? said Legends SUHVLGHQWDQGFKLHI RSHUDWLQJRIĂ&#x20AC;FHU Shervin Mirhashemi. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We look forward to working closely with them to develop and feature new innovative food concepts and amenities for their guests through a commitment to quality, regional cuisine DQGDĂ&#x20AC;UVWFODVVDWPRVSKHUHEXLOWRQWKH highest level of customer service.â&#x20AC;? Legends Hospitality also provides services to the likes of Major League %DVHEDOO¡V 0/% 1HZ<RUN<DQNHHVDQG the National Football Leagueâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s (NFL) Dallas Cowboys, as well as Premier League champions Manchester City.

expiry date in 2016, is worth â&#x201A;Ź4 million annually, up from the previous sum of â&#x201A;Ź3.2 million. Commerzbank has had the naming rights since 2005. The deal was signed between the Franfurt-based bank, Germanyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s second largest, and the venueâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s operator, Stadion Frankfurt Management GmbH. There is a supplement to the primary deal which will see Commerzbank SD\WKHWHDP½SHU\HDUIRU sponsorship rights.

Tom Glick City Football Group has moved Tom Glick, most recently Manchester Cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s chief business RIĂ&#x20AC;FHUWR1HZ<RUNZKHUHKH will be president of its new Major League Soccer franchise. Former National Basketball Association staffer and Derby County chief executive Glick, an American, MRLQHG1HZ<RUN&LW\)&DKHDG RI WKHLUĂ&#x20AC;UVW0/6JDPHLQ March. He will continue to report to City Football Group managing director Ferran Soriano. Oonagh Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Reilly Northern Irelandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s national association, the Irish Football Association (IFA), has named Oonagh Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Reilly as its new director of sales and marketing. Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Reilly was previously a business development director for NI Chamber, an organisation which promotes Northern Irish businesses. She joins the IFA as work continues on the multi-million dollar redevelopment of Windsor Park, the Belfast venue where the Northern Ireland national team play their home matches. David Chung David Chung has been re-elected as the president of the Oceania Football Association (OFC) for another four years. The 53-yearold has led the organisation since 2011. His new term was FRQĂ&#x20AC;UPHGLQ3DSXD1HZ*XLQHD by the OFC executive committee. Chung also becomes a Fifa vice president with immediate effect. SOCCEREXPRO | 65

J League secures one of Japanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s biggest sponsorship deals 7RN\REDVHGOLIHLQVXUDQFHĂ&#x20AC;UP0HLML <DVXGDKDVEHFRPHWKHWLWOHVSRQVRURI  the J League after signing one of the biggest sponsorship deals in the history of Japanese domestic sport. 7KHGHDOHQWLWOHVWKHĂ&#x20AC;UPWRQDPLQJ rights to the top three tiers of domestic Japanese football, expanding an agreement signed in 2013 that gave the company naming rights to the newly formed third tier, the J3. 7KHVHDVRQZLOOVHHDVLJQLĂ&#x20AC;FDQW rebranding in the J League, with the top two divisions now following the model RI WKHWKLUG7KH0HLML<DVXGD-DQG 0HLML<DVXGD-NLFNVRII LQ0DUFK Although contractual details have not been released, it has been described by a senior executive at Dentsu, the agency that sold the deal, as one of the biggest sponsorship deals ever within Japan. The advertising giant became the exclusive marketing partner of the league last year, and has spent 12 months revamping the J Leagueâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s commercial structure. 0HLML<DVXGDZDVIRUPHGLQ WKURXJKDPHUJHUEHWZHHQ<DVXGD/LIH one of the oldest insurers in Japan, and Meiji Life. 7KHĂ&#x20AC;UPQRZVLWVDORQHDWWKHWRSRI  the J Leagueâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sponsorship pyramid. One 66 |

BBC commits UKÂŁ204m for Premier League highlights until 2019 The BBC will continue to broadcast Premier League highlights until at least WKHHQGRI WKHVHDVRQ 7KH3UHPLHU/HDJXHFRQĂ&#x20AC;UPHGWKH news in January. ITV, who had reportedly been interested in the rights, did not ultimately make a bid for the package. The BBC will pay UKÂŁ204 million across the next three-year cycle, beginning with the 2016/17 season, up from the UKÂŁ179.7 million it committed to between 2013/14 and 2015/16. BBC One will broadcast highlights on LWVĂ DJVKLS0DWFKRI WKH'D\SURJUDPPH on Saturday evenings, a show repeated on Sunday mornings. Match of the Day 2, broadcast on Sunday evenings, will also continue. In a change to the current contract, a midweek magazine programme will be broadcast at 10pm on BBC Two. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The BBC has done a fantastic job

with its Match of the Day programmes which provide high quality coverage and analysis for fans of Premier League clubs,â&#x20AC;? said Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The UK highlights allow the competition to be viewed by the maximum number of fans across the country and the addition of a midweek magazine show will add a new dimension to the BBCâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Premier League coverage.â&#x20AC;? Tony Hall, the BBCâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s director general, added: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sport matters. It brings the nation together. It can break hearts and raise spirits. And because it matters to the public, it also matters to the BBC. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s why itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fantastic news that we have kept the Premier League highlights.â&#x20AC;? The UK live rights to Premier League JDPHVEHWZHHQDQG were awarded to incumbent broadcasters Sky Sports and BT Sport in deals worth a total of UKÂŁ5.136 billion.

tier below, in the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Top Partnerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; category, are Canon, Aidem, Coca-Cola, Japan Credit Bureau, Colopl, and Route Inn Hotels. Konami and Calbee and McDonaldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

have allowed their J League sponsorships to expire ahead of the 2015 season, but Colopl and Route Inn Hotels are new additions.


Mubadala takes controlling stake in MaracanĂŁ operator IMX Abu Dhabi government investment vehicle Mubadala Development Company has acquired a controlling stake in Brazilian sports marketing agency IMX. According to a report in the Abu Dhabi newspaper The National, Mubadala has acquired the shares in the company from EBX, the Brazilian conglomerate owned by former billionaire Eike Batista.

IMX, a joint venture between EBX and global sports media agency IMG, has a Ă&#x20AC;YHSHUFHQWVWDNHLQWKHFRQVRUWLXPWKDW operates Rioâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s MaracanĂŁ Stadium, and operates the Rio Open tennis tournament. In 2012, Mubadala made a US$2 billion primary investment for a 5.63 per cent stake in EBX, Eike Batistaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s business empire. Later that year, Batista had to cancel SURMHFWVDQGVHOORII VLJQLĂ&#x20AC;FDQWDVVHWVDV the EBX share price plummeted.

Copa America teams up with Latam Airlines Group South Americaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Latam Airlines Group KDVEHHQDQQRXQFHGDVWKHRIĂ&#x20AC;FLDODLUOLQH partner of the 2015 Copa America. Latam comes on board as sponsor of the 44th edition of the South American national team competition, which will be held in Chile between 11th June and 4th July. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Latam Airlines Group and its related carriers, the leading airlines in the region, DUHH[FLWHGWREHFRPHWKHRIĂ&#x20AC;FLDOJURXS

of airlines for Copa America and to support the sport during the most important event of the continent in 2015,â&#x20AC;? said Jerome Cadier, Latam Airlines Group vice president of marketing. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Copa America will promote tourism in the region, so we will do our best to make sure that passengers have an excellent travel experience and that the event is an instance in which travellers around the world can see more of the destinations offered in South America by Latam Airlines Group.â&#x20AC;?

Jeff Plush Jeff Plush has been named as the new commissioner of Americaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s National Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Soccer League (NWSL). Plush, who was managing director of the Colorado Rapids in MLS between 2006 and 2011, said he was â&#x20AC;&#x153;thrilled and quite frankly humbledâ&#x20AC;? to take on the position ahead of the NWSLâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s third season. He replaces Cheryl Bailey as commissioner. Alexandre LeitĂŁo MLS expansion franchise Orlando City have named former Octagon Latin America president Alexandre LeitĂŁo as their new chief executive. LeitĂŁo, 41, will oversee business operations and development at the Floridabased club as they prepare for their MLS debut this year. He will report to City founder and president Phil Rawlins. Andreas Heyden Experienced media executive Andreas Heyden has been appointed as the new managing director of DFL Digital Sports, the digital media arm of the German Football League (DFL). 41-year-old Heyden, a former Microsoft and RTL Group executive, will have overall management responsibility for the DFL subsidiary, which specialises in the production and provision of national and international media content. Fred Pollastri Fred Pollastri has joined Orlando City SC as senior vice president as the club continue to build their RIIĂ&#x20AC;HOGWHDPDKHDGRI WKHLU entry into MLS. Pollastri, 39, has more than 15 years of experience in sports marketing and joins from his role as a partner and vice president of Octagon Brazil, where he was responsible for Ă&#x20AC;QDQFHDGPLQLVWUDWLRQDQGQHZ business development. SOCCEREXPRO | 67

Chansiri concludes 100 per cent ShefďŹ eld Wednesday buy-out &KDPSLRQVKLSFOXE6KHIĂ&#x20AC;HOG:HGQHVGD\ have been sold to a Thai group led by Dejphon Chansiri. UKFI Limited reached agreement with Milan Mandaric, who has owned the Owls since 2010, for a sale of 100 per cent of the club. The 6KHIĂ&#x20AC;HOG6WDU newspaper reported that the deal could be worth UKÂŁ30 million. It follows a prolonged period of negotiation. Last year, Mandaric announced the sale of the English second-tier side to $]HULEXVLQHVVPDQ+DĂ&#x20AC;]0DPPDGRYEXW the deal subsequently fell through. Chansiriâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s family controls the Thai Union Frozen Group, the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s largest producer of tuna and a major producer of other seafood. He said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;I am very excited at the prospect of taking over control from Milan. I believe this club has huge potential and I can assure all our supporters that I will be working

extremely hard to bring the success that I already sense from my short time in your city our supporters so desperately crave.â&#x20AC;? Chansiri added: â&#x20AC;&#x153;My son Att, who was a mascot at the recent Blackpool game, is passionate about football and I know will be my inspiration in this project. I have made the same promise to him as I do our supporters, he will not let me forget this until we are back in the Premier League.â&#x20AC;? The club added that Chansiri recently provided funding for several loan agreements as negotiations were taking place. Mandaric, who will step down as chairman but retain an advisory role, VDLG´)URPWKHĂ&#x20AC;UVWWLPH,PHW'HMSKRQ I felt he was the right person for this fantastic club, his business expertise and passion made him stand out from the other interested parties that I have spoken to since I announced that Mr 0DPPDGRYFRXOGQRORQJHUIXOĂ&#x20AC;OKLV obligation to purchase the club.â&#x20AC;?

Manchester Cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s women strike Abu Dhabi deal Manchester Cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s team will be sponsored by Aabar Investments as part

of a new deal announced in mid-January. Abu Dhabiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Aabar will sponsor the teamâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s pre-season training camp in Dubai and have a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;range of matchday

68 |

advertisingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; at the new 7,000-capacity Academy Stadium where the team play their home games. Aabar, a subsidiary of International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC), will also sponsor Manchester Cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s community pitch at its new City Football Academy complex. Manchester City Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s FC have recently been in Abu Dhabi preparing for the new Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Super League season. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Manchester City Women are continuing to grow both on and off WKHĂ&#x20AC;HOGDQGWRGD\¡VDQQRXQFHPHQW of a new partnership with Aabar, a global company with an outstanding reputation, is evidence of this,â&#x20AC;? said Tom Glick, Manchester Cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s outgoing chief EXVLQHVVRIĂ&#x20AC;FHU â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s team are extremely proud to have the opportunity to visit $EX'KDELDQGVHHĂ&#x20AC;UVWKDQGWKHIDQWDVWLF local support that Manchester City has across the United Arab Emirates.â&#x20AC;? His Excellency Khadem Al Qubaisi, the chairman of Aabar Investments, added: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Aabar Investments is delighted to extend its support of Manchester City to include Manchester City Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Football Club, in line with our commitment to empowering female athletes here in the UAE and globally.â&#x20AC;?

APPOINTMENTS Diogo Kotscho Diogo Kotscho has been named as the director of business development at Orlando City SC, rounding out a busy period of appointments at the FOXE.RWVFKRLVDIRUPHU journalist and has worked in various public relations agencies in Brazil. He will work with Fred Pollastri to lead the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;New Business Initiativeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, which is focused on growing Orlando Cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s brand around the world.

Nike strikes Chinese kit deal Nike has agreed a new long-term contract to supply kit to Chinaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s national team. The deal, reportedly worth US$16 million a year until 2026, comes after the Chinese FA severed its ties with Nikeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s great rival Adidas at the end of 2014. China sported their new red and white 1LNHVWULSIRUWKHĂ&#x20AC;UVWWLPHDWWKLV\HDU¡V

Asian Cup, hosted by Australia. Nike will also supply equipment to and invest in all levels of Chinese football, including the Chinese Super League and the CFA Cup and Super Cup competitions. A statement issued by the Chinese FA said that the tender process for the contract was conducted in an â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;open, fair and impartial mannerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;.

Marcelo Passoss Corinthians have hired Marcelo Passoss as their new marketing director. The 42-year-old joins the Sao Paulo-based BrasileirĂŁo side from the DM9 advertising agency, where he was a vice president. He replaces Izael Simon Junior at Corinthians and will be initially tasked with securing the renewal of the clubâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s major sponsorship deal with the Caixa bank. Geir Thorsteinsson Geir Thorsteinsson has been re-elected president of Icelandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s national association, the KSI, for a Ă&#x20AC;IWKWZR\HDUWHUP7KRUVWHLQVVRQ has headed the body since 2007 and was re-elected during Februaryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s congress. Iceland narrowly failed to qualify for the 2014 Fifa World Cup but may EHRQHRI WKHPDLQEHQHĂ&#x20AC;FLDULHV of Uefaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s decision to expand its European Championship from 16 to 24 teams.

Star Times signs with Ugandan league champions Ugandan club Kampala Capital City Authority have sealed a shirt sponsorship deal with Star Times. The pay-TV operatorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s logo will be carried on the front of the Ugandan Premier League championsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; playing shirts for the next three years. Star Times branding will also appear around the clubâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Philip Omondi Stadium home.

The deal is worth a total of UGX750 million (US$260,000). â&#x20AC;&#x153;We thank Star Times to have come on board to co-brand with a powerful institution which is KCCA, making it two strong brands,â&#x20AC;? said Kampala executive director Jennifer Musisi. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We encourage and are ready to welcome on board other partners to work with us for uplifting the standards of our club, this is just the start.â&#x20AC;?

Sebastian Starczewski Polish club Lech Poznan have hired Sebastian Starczewski as their new marketing director. Starczewski is new to football, but has worked across a number of major brands and marketing projects in Poland. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I would like everyone to know that this place, INEA Stadium, is open to all,â&#x20AC;? he told the website, referring to Lech Poznanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s home ground. SOCCEREXPRO | 69


UNDER A NEW SKY The global juggernaut that is Englandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Premier League has just signed off on its latest round of domestic television deals for 2016/17 to 2018/19, with Sky Sports and BT Sport sharing the live rights for an astounding UKÂŁ5.136 billion, and the BBC retaining its highlights coverage for UKÂŁ204 million. But while the numbers keep getting bigger, many of the debates which surround the Premier League â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and televised sport in general â&#x20AC;&#x201C; have been familiar throughout its near 23-year history. This was how Peter Ball of The Times UHSRUWHGWKHĂ&#x20AC;UVW79ULJKWVGHDOIRUWKH Premier League back on 19th May 1992, signed just three months after Englandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s WRSFOXEVFRQĂ&#x20AC;UPHGSODQVWREUHDNDZD\ from the Football League:

also concerned about the amount of live football, treble the number of games in the last contract. Rick Parry, the chief executive of the Premier League, said that the deal would â&#x20AC;&#x153;enable football to have a say in its own destiny, instead of being reliant on selling its rights to broadcaters without obligationâ&#x20AC;?. His success in negotiating the huge contract should stop the sniping that has been directed at him since the negotiations with the Professional Footballersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Association last month. Bryan Davies, Labour MP for Oldham Central and Royton, described the deal as â&#x20AC;&#x153;absolutely appallingâ&#x20AC;?. Sebastian Coe, the Conservative MP and former Olympic athlete, VDLGWKHGHDO´PD\ZHOOEHDQLVVXHWKDW,ZLOO GLJP\KHHOVLQDERXW,ZDVQ¡WFRPIRUWDEOHZLWK the government allowing Sky television to show WKH&ULFNHW:RUOG&XSH[FOXVLYHO\,WKLQNLW is wrong that only two million dish owners get access to such events.â&#x20AC;?â&#x20AC;&#x2122; In the wake of the latest rights sales the argument about provision of access to fans stirred again â&#x20AC;&#x201C; although this time it is rising ticket prices, not a lack free-toair television coverage, that is the most contentious issue.

PA/PA Archive/Press Association Images

â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Footballâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Premier League has negotiated the biggest television contract in the history of British sport. At their mee ting in London yesterday, the 22 clubs accepted an offer from BSkyB and BBC ZRUWKÂ&#x2026;PLOOLRQRYHUĂ&#x20AC;YH\HDUV The deal means that viewers will be able to see no live Premier League football unless they have a satellite dish. Sir John Quinton, president

of the Barclays League, said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;The joint offer by BSkyB and BBC will bring in ÂŁ304 million from a combination of domestic TV, sponsorship and foreign TV sales.â&#x20AC;? The contract gives the satellite channel 60 live matches a season. The BBC will bring back Match of the Day, the Saturday evening SURJUDPPHRI UHFRUGHGKLJKOLJKWVZKLFKĂ&#x20AC;UVW provided televisionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s staple diet of football. With the two channels already holding the FA Cup and international contracts, it gives them domination of English football coverage next season. Sponsorship is expected to provide between ÂŁ10m and ÂŁ12m a year, and foreign sales less than ÂŁ10 million over the whole contract, leaving approximately ÂŁ214 million from domestic television. The BBCâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s share is unlikely to exceed Â&#x2026;PLOOLRQRYHUWKHĂ&#x20AC;YH\HDUV,79¡VFRXQWHUELG which was increased yesterday to ÂŁ200 million over four years, was rejected by 16 votes to six. The package guarantees each club a minimum RI DSSUR[LPDWHO\Â&#x2026;PLOOLRQLQWKHĂ&#x20AC;UVW\HDU and the league champions can expect almost to GRXEOHWKDW7KHĂ&#x20AC;JXUHVDUHEDVHGRQDPRYHWRD VXEVFULSWLRQFKDQQHODQGWKHQHYHQWXDOO\WRSD\WR view, moves which are likely to be heavily criticised. The six clubs which voted against the deal were

John Solako, Graeme Le Saux, Gary Mabbutt, Jason Cundy, Paul Merson and cheerleader Liniette Bertelsen launch Skyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Premier League coverage 70 |

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SoccerexPro 06  

Issue 6 of SoccerexPro magazine