Mills & Reeve sports seminar review - Part 1 (Brand engagement in a digital era)

Mills & Reeve sports seminar review - Part 1 (Brand engagement in a digital era)

On 16 May, the sports team held its latest sports seminar, featuring three panel discussions, including a thoroughly engaging discussion on brand engagement in a digital era. Tim Crow (CEO of Synergy), Ben Smith (CEO of Laduma) and Seb Carmichael-Brown (Commercial Director of Hashtag United) were the panellists and one of our own sports lawyers, Jake Cohen chaired the panel.

Why is brand engagement in a digital era important?

Top football clubs are comparatively small businesses, but they have something extraordinarily valuable that no other entity in the world, besides top footballers themselves, enjoy – a global reach on social and digital media that transcends linguistic, national, geographic, cultural, religious, and ethnic borders. As a result, it would seem that for a national company trying to expand globally or a multinational company trying to break into key target markets, partnering with a top football club or a footballer would be ideal.

Social and digital are the best way for clubs to not only reach their global fanbases in a meaningful way, but also collect data for optimal localisation and dynamic content strategies.

Among the many highlights, Tim discussed practical issues that arise for club sponsors when there is limited time with, and access to the players. He shared how Synergy helped one of their clients maximise the value of its sponsorship of FC Barcelona in an innovative way.

Ben discussed how virtual reality is becoming increasingly available on major digital and social platforms and how Laduma helps sporting entities on both sides of the pond take advantage of this to enhance their brand values.

Seb discussed how Hashtag United has leveraged engaging YouTube personalities, professional and creative content creation, and a focused commercial strategy into a unique football club that, despite being founded in 2016, already has more fans than a number of Premier League clubs.

The panel also discussed some potentially undervalued sports properties for sponsors to consider investing in, including the Paralympics, eSports, and women’s football.

If you require any advice in this area, please contact Tiran Gunawardena.

This is part 1 of a 3 part series summarising the panel discussions held during the sports seminar on 16 May 2017. Make sure you also read our summaries on the panel discussions held on the latest developments on image rights and the opportunities and pitfalls in sponsorship deals.

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