What do SB Waste Management and Recycling Services, Haynes Manuals, Brindley Kia, The Money Shop, Imperial Snack Foods and Beacon Radio all have in common? Answer – they’re all sponsors of signboard advertising at Molineux, the home of Wolverhampton Wanderers.
This isn’t meant to be a plug for those companies. Far from it. It’s just an example of how a typical Premier League football clubs focuses so much on local advertising to the detriment of the amount of revenue they could be generating by acquiring global brands to advertise and beaming those advertising messages around the world.
For a laugh, a couple of seasons ago while I was bored watching a Bolton Wanderers match on television, I wrote down the names of some of the signboard advertisers that were sprinkled around the Reebok Stadium. The majority of them were either local or British companies. I contacted each of them and told them that I was interested in learning more about their products and services. Out of the dozen I contacted, only a few replied. One sent me a brochure in the mail. Another replied back saying she didn’t think it was a fit. And the third didn’t understand what I was asking for.
The reality is that Premier League clubs around England are leaving a lot of money on the table by not approaching global brands. For sales representatives in England, it’s much easier to ring up local businesses and meet them face to face and tell them how wonderful it would be for their company to advertise at XYZ football ground. There’s something comforting and immediate about that type of advertising, and there’s nothing wrong about it. But it may be better suited to be inside a football programme instead of around the pitch when many of those games are watched by millions of people around the world.
I’m trying to tell Premier League clubs how to run their advertising sales. They’d be better off hiring an agency who would go out there and sell the club’s signboard advertising to global brands who would love to have that level of exposure from the world’s most popular sports league. And, of course, the club would make a ton more money even after the agency fee is taken out.
Local signboard advertising is another example of how shortsighted Premier League clubs are. It’s almost as if they don’t realize the potential of how much more money they could be making if they just thought about their business differently. Sure, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Bolton Wanderers are hardly glamorous football clubs, but it’s all about positioning. Sales and marketing representatives can position both of those clubs as two of the most historic clubs in England (which they are), both of whom have won major trophies (which is true) and how both of them are playing in the best league in the world.
By forging relationships with international brands, clubs like Wolves and Bolton (and others) not only generate more revenue, but they also build their brand around the world.