Football Marketing Fundamentals

Role of Football Governing Associations in Football Marketing


Football governing bodies should be at the center of football marketing and football economy in every country. They control the process, they control the funding and have the clout. These bodies know that general success of football benefits every one in the game and empty stadiums demoralizes sponsors. Empty stadiums make the selling of the game to sponsors an extremely difficult process. If sponsors come on board to sponsor football when your stadiums are empty, it is an action of charity and it is getting rare by the day. Sponsor want a return on investment and an empty stadium does not demonstrate that this will happen.

In all countries football is run by a body that governs the day to day running of the league and the football games of especially the top teams in the country. In South Africa it is referred to as the Premier Soccer League (PSL), In England it is called the English League, German has the Bundesliga and in Netherlands the Eradvisie. There is also a body that controls football as a whole. A body that is affiliated to FIFA. A body that is responsible not for running the games but for development of the game in the country and also responsible for the national teams. In England it is called the Football Association (FA) and South Africa it is called South African Football Association (SAFA). These bodies have a central role to play in football marketing and football economy.

Football is on Business Where Success is Shared

Football is one of the few businesses if I may call it that benefits if all competitors (clubs) have customers (read fans). Unlike other business that do well by cannibalizing customers from each other, football does best if all teams can fill their stadiums when playing home games. Football fails miserably if one or two teams only, can fill a stadium. English and German football is doing so well because most teams can fill a stadium in any one home game any time. This ability has attracted financial benefits to the clubs through all kinds of sponsorship, merchandising and gate collections. Football is about fans and players, each feeding off the other, none being more important than the other. In countries where clubs have ignored fans and left the stadiums empty the game struggles in so many ways, including many teams playing without sponsorship and the games lacking entertainment.

A full stadium for each club’s home games promotes the profile of each and every team as opposed to having one team that has a capability to fill stadiums wherever it goes. A lopsided system where one team has the greatest number of supporters can not serve football well. It makes the selling of the league as a whole very difficult if not impossible to sponsors. Sponsors want to see a full stadium regardless who plays. This makes the spectacle more interesting and lures them to get on board. When all stadiums are full the sponsors know that their message will reach many eye balls. It is therefore important for the governing bodies to get on board because it is their role to get sponsorship for football and the league. A full stadium serves these bodies as well and not the teams alone. Remember that most games are televised and most countries have low reach of television. It is in the stadium where most football should be watched live. The stadium is the face, the primary face of the game to the sponsors.

Teams Have Differing Means

Not all teams have equal means. Some teams can set up marketing programs, attract the best players, whereas others struggle to even pay their players. Teams which are struggling financially should be helped out when it comes to marketing. This frees them up to focus on the football side of things. Helping them with marketing will not only help them to fill the stadium but a full stadium will get them badly needed income and also lure a sponsor for them. This team benefits and the game benefits by association. The marketing help can only come from the bodies running football. Sponsor do not help when you are struggling, they come on board when you are successful. A sponsor will look at the stadiums as a determinant whether to come on board to sponsor football as a whole or that team in particular. It is therefore in the interest of governing bodies to help out with marketing of such teams to fans. It will benefit that team and make sponsors coming on board an extremely easy sell. Prove that the game is popular with a full stadium everywhere.

Role of National Football Associations

Governing bodies should put up a marketing frame work that all teams should adhere to. In most developed countries there is a frame work for football development. In Germany all teams must have development structures by law as regulated by the governing bodies. This regulation should be extended to football marketing as well. Teams should be required by football rules to have at least a skeleton marketing structure. The organising body can help teams to set up such structures and also ensure that teams adhere to this regulation. Remember the success of football helps the team and the governing body. It is therefore in the interest of both.

The league governing body can have a database of football fans and relate to them at that high level. The Dutch Eradvisie is doing it. A governing body can appeal to this database when the need arises. If the league realises that a certain stadium will be empty it can appeal to the people on the database as fans of football to buy tickets of such a game for the benefit of football. If the governing body has been relating to fans in a one on one relationship the fans will oblige. They will buy the tickets as football fans and not as supporters of any of the teams playing. This can be done by the organising body and not the teams playing, remember the teams playing will only ever be able to appeal to their own fans and can never be able to sell to opposing fans. This database can also come in handy when the national team is playing and there is a need to fill the stadium.

The governing bodies can also educate teams in the best marketing practises. Every year new teams come into top flight and others are dropped to the lower league. The governing body should educate the new teams on the need to market themselves in the community they operate in and also how to keep a database of fans and utilize it. It should also keep educating all teams in the league, updating them with new marketing techniques as they arise. A few years ago there was no Facebook or Twitter, today you will struggle to reach the youth without these social networks. Football teams need to keep on top of such changes in the marketing arena as they arise and the changes keep coming and will always will. Governing bodies should be on top of such changes and educate teams as much.

Football unlike other business depends on mutual success vis-à-vis fans (customers). Other business do well when they take customers from competitors, football does well when all competitors can fill a stadium on their own. Football does best when success is spread and localised. That is what brings money into football as a whole. Football governing bodies should be at the center of facilitating this.


This website is built for the benefit of football. The thinking behind it is that if football understands that the currency that runs football is fans then the game will be able to lure untold success. Players will be able to succeed economically right in their home countries.

If you know a club, organisation or any person who would find this work useful please past it on.

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