Branding the World of Sports

Posts Tagged ‘Soccer’

Who will oversee the FIFA anti-corruption committee?

Posted by ZA on January 4, 2011

The recent round of voting by FIFA to select the locations of the 2018 and 2022 once again brought new improper behavior by FIFA voting members, as well as, plenty of fresh new accusations that FIFA is corrupt.  How has FIFA responded?  FIFA president Sepp Blatter announced that FIFA will setup an anti-corruption committee to ensure more “transparency” for how FIFA operates.  Blatter claimed this move would “strengthen our credibility”.

My question is who is going to oversee the FIFA anti-corruption committee?

By FIFA choosing to self insure their own legitimacy, they are actually just maintaining the status quo.  The same bribery that has routinely occurred could now just extend to the FIFA committee.  The members of the voting committee will know members of the anti-corruption committee, so how hard will it be for them to sway their colleagues when they need a favor.  In reality all FIFA has done has involved more FIFA members in the selection process, which will provide more potential options for the next FIFA scandal.

Whereas if FIFA was willing to go outside their organization to develop a watchdog group, then they would have a better system of checks and balances.  But FIFA is not going to do that because it could perhaps shed too much light on how they operate.  And while I agree that no private company has to agree to 3rd party oversight, I think that FIFA’s role in sports is global and therefore needs someone to keep them in-line.

[Addition: Further illustrating my point, a top member of the current FIFA ethics committee resigned claiming that the current administration has no interest in cleaning up the corruption within FIFA.  How does FIFA spin this one? He’s one of their own saying they are corrupt.]

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My advice to FIFA: Just do it!

Posted by ZA on August 11, 2010

FIFA President Sepp Blatter said they will look at whether to add goalline technology (i.e.- cameras) at the October board meeting.  Blatter’s additional comments on the matter indicate that he is not currently in-favor because no “accurate and simple” system has been presented to FIFA.

I think it would be a huge mistake for FIFA to pass on the opportunity to adopt better technology.  At the very least they should put together a commission to find the “accurate and simple” system for deciding whether a goal is scored or not.  There are plenty of options they can pursue, so now it just comes down to whether FIFA wants to evolve the game of soccer.

In this day and age there is no reason for a goal to be disallowed because the referee misses it.  Soccer is often a low scoring affair, so every goal matters.  Frank Lampard scored a key goal for England in the World Cup that was not allowed.  The replay showed that the ball was clearly in the goal.  If that goal was correctly counted, the outcome of that game (and possibly the entire World Cup) might have been different.

Referees are human, so they are going to make errors.  Why not have technology in-place to make sure the most critical mistakes (i.e.- a goal scored) are avoided.  Hockey has similar technology and baseball added replay to judge home runs.  Now it is time for soccer to evolve and add the same type of technology.

The argument that adding goal technology would be too expensive to carry out globally is weak.  No one says this type of technology has to exist at every soccer field on the planet, it just needs to be there at the highest levels.  There is no reason a World Cup game, with so much riding on it, should be decided by human error.  So bring on the cameras and lets improve a century old game.

This goal by England in the 2010 World Cup should have counted.

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What is most valuable soccer team in the world?

Posted by ZA on April 22, 2010

According to Forbes, English Premiere League club Manchester United is once again the most valuable soccer club on the planet.  This is the 6th straight year that Forbes has selected Man U as the most valuable football club. Forbes assigned a value to Manchester United of $1.8 billion dollars (USD).  Below is a look at the top 20 most valuable soccer clubs in the world.

The valuation would rank Man U as the most valuable professional sports franchise in the world.  Forbes estimated the value of the New York Yankees at $1.6 billion this year and the Dallas Cowboys at $1.6 billion in 2009.  The global reach of Manchester United is a big factor in making their club more valuable than either of the US professional sports icons.

Top 20 Most Valuable Soccer Teams (2010)
1. Manchester United – $1.8 billion
2. Real Madrid – $1.3 billion
3. Arsenal – $1.1 billion
4. FC Barcelona – $1 billion
5. Bayern Munich – $990 million
6. Liverpool – $822 million
7. AC Milan – $800 million
8. Juventus – $656 million
9. Chelsea – $646 million
10. Inter Milan – $413 million
11. Schalke
12. Tottenham Hotspur
13. Olympique Lyonnais
14. Hamburg SV
15. AS Roma
16. Werder Bremen
17. Olympique Marseille
18. Borussia Dortmund
19. Manchester City
20. Newcastle United

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Is a soccer ball faster than a speeding bullet?

Posted by ZA on August 12, 2009

In the latest commercial from Adidas  soccer superstar Riquelme plays keep away with a soccer ball while two guys try to shoot it with paint balls.  Riquelme dribbles, juggles and jukes for 30 seconds while the field around him is peppered with shots.  But none of the paint balls ever touch the soccer ball and the commercial ends with Riquelme quoting a famous Maradona line about keeping the ball clean.  More the origins of that line in this AdAge story.  Below is the video:

Posted in Adidas, Apparel & Shoes, Soccer, Sports Brands, Sports Marketing | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Soccer provides an outlet from Cartel violence in Mexico

Posted by ZA on April 8, 2009

Nice piece from the New York Times on how soccer has provided a positive diversion to residents in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.  Juarez is a city known as one of the most violent places on Earth; with an estimated 4000 murders in Juarez over the past couple of years.  Juarez residents have been terrorized by the violence drug cartels brought to their city.  So what do the good people of Cuidad Juarez have to keep them smiling?  Soccer, specifically their hometown Indios football club.

Los Indios de Juarez is the local professional team that has played in Mexico’s top two divisions.  The team is as popular in Juarez as the Yankees are in New York or the Cowboys are in Dallas.  But while American professional athletes live a privileged life, the Indios players live in fear that their families might be harmed by the Mexican cartels.  A few incidents that have occurred have prompted some Indios players to send their families to live in safer cities within Mexico.  The article says that fans attend Indios games that are played under intense security.  And while it says they generally tune out their fears while the Indios are playing, they quickly return to the dangerous reality of daily life in Juarez once the game ends.

Very sad the situation these good people in Mexico are forced to live within.  Hopefully the combination of the federal troops that were sent to Juarez in early 2009, and the intense media spotlight on the Cartel violence will help their situation.  In the meanwhile I know that I’ll be rooting for Los Indios de Cuidad Juarez because I’ll know each victory gives their fans something to be happy about.  Each Indios victory gives the residents of Juarez some much deserved joy that their dangerous lives might otherwise not permit.

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Soccer player shot during victory celebration

Posted by ZA on March 25, 2009

Iraq is a dangerous country, but it just doesn’t seem fair for an 18-year old to die while celebrating a victory.  I know, I know…life isn’t always fair.  My prayers to the young man’s family and friends.

Story from New York Times about an Iraqi soccer player who was shot after his game, by an off-duty cop.

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AIG loses their shirt…literally

Posted by ZA on March 18, 2009

The news for troubled insurance giant AIG has not been kind lately.  When the most powerful man in the free world is angry with you, that is never a good thing.  And President Barrack Obama did not mince words this week when he said he was angry at AIG over their handing out bonuses to top executives.

So how does a brand respond to the crisis?  How is AIG responding to this current crisis?
It appears AIG is doing a whole lot of nothing.  This article from AdAge discussed what PR steps AIG could take to help their current situation.  Even the PR experts admitted this situation is going to be extremely tough for AIG to rebound from, because money spent on a PR campaign to win back consumer hearts and minds will likely be viewed as more excess.  AIG did not respond to questions sent by AdAge on the story.

Making it worse for AIG is that while they take their duck and hide approach to handling this crisis, one of their biggest marketing opportunities just ran away.  News came out that AIG is losing its shirt sponsorship with soccer club Manchester United.  The deal which AIG has held since 2006 will not be renewed after the 2010 season is done.  While on the surface it might seem great for AIG to rid themselves of a $25+ million dollars per year team sponsorships, it is a big loss for AIG.

Manchester United is one of the most popular football (i.e.- soccer) clubs in the world.  Man U jerseys (or “kits” as they are called in soccer) are worn by their fans across England, Europe, Asia and the United States.  Wikipedia reports that Manchester United has over 330 million supporters worldwide, which is almost 5% of the Earth’s population.  Assuming it is true, that means that one out of every twenty people on this planet count themselves as a support of this soccer team.  That means there are millions upon millions of people walking with Man U jerseys with AIG on the front.

Is it worth $25 million dollars per year for AIG to get that type of brand exposure? I think so; and some smart company is going to jump at the chance to pay Man U even more in their next jersey sponsorship deal.  CNN reports that Indian conglomerate Sahara and Saudi Telecom are already interested and I bet a few American corporations give it a close look.  Nike, are you listening?

So AIG is not saving $25 million dollars per year, they are losing brand exposure on a global scale.  The richest club in all of professional sports, with the largest fan following in sports, is wearing your company name on their chest; and you give that up?  Makes no sense to me, it seems like they could have cut corners on some other marketing deals in order to maintain the relationship with Manchester United.  But alas, it is just another blunder in a series of missteps that AIG has made lately.

Posted in Apparel & Shoes, Soccer, Sponsorship Deals, Sports Brands, Sports Marketing | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

David Beckham to buy an MLS franchise

Posted by ZA on March 10, 2009

Saying that he is “passionate” about developing soccer in America; David Beckham announced that he plans to buy an Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise when he retires from playing.  This announcement comes after months of wrangling between Beckham and his MLS team, the Los Angeles Galaxy, about whether he would play a whole season for the Galaxy in 2009.  Apparently Beckham enjoyed his European football renaissance with Real Madrid so much that he wasn’t ready to return to his team in America.

Becks currently flip-flopping aside, it would be a huge plus for MLS to get such a high profile athlete supporting their league.  Even in retirement Beckham is sure to garner a lot of attention (think Mark Cuban, but only 1,000x more) from the media.  That media attention is always key for a burgeoning league like the MLS.  If the MLS is getting featured in People, USA Today and celebrity tabloids next to Beckham, then it should only raise the league’s profile in the United States.

SportBusiness reports that the most likely home of the franchise would be Las Vegas or San Diego.  If I were MLS soccer I would approach Steve Wynn or the Maloff brothers about co-owning a Vegas soccer team with Beckham.  The Maloffs own the NBA’s Sacramento Kings and the coolest hotel in Sin City (the Palm), so the relationship could be a perfect fit.  It could be a pairing (Beckham + Maloffs + Vegas) that could bring a lot of glitz and glitter to the MLS.  Maybe Wayne Newton would agree to be their Public Address announcer.

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