The Industry Column - Antony Marcou

11 Sep 2014

Antony Marcou, Group Managing Director of SportsRevolution, talks to about the changing world of sports sponsorship, utilising systems such as wifi on matchdays, and missed opportunites for football clubs...

What’s changing in sport sponsorship?

Well my background is very much advertising, I came from a media planning perspective. For every pound spent in sponsorship, there is about £90-£95 spent in through-the-line media. That, for me, presents an opportunity, because as the world goes global and we become multi-market, sport still has an ability to cut through multiple territories. We had to ask how we understand media and advertising disciplines, allow sport to talk that language in media metrics and how can we use this opportunity where sport meets media. 

Social media has affected the landscape a lot in the past few years, is there now a far bigger priority on the digital side of sports marketing?

Yes. But I still don’t think it has quite caught up yet. If you went back ten years 90% of advertising investment was spent on TV, now it’s close to 50%. That’s because brands are demanding digital engagement. However if you look at a typical sponsorship package, many still seem to ignore the database, social media and fanbase side. Football clubs in particular are missing an opportunity in terms of their social media engagement that unofficial platforms are filling instead.

Sports Revolution has done a lot of work with stadium wifi, is this a natural progression in the social media boom?

When you go to a stadium at the moment you can forget connectivity and phone function. We found from an activation perspective that brands were asking us to engage around social and we found we just couldn’t do it. We chose to work with Celtic because it is the third biggest ground in the UK, so we put a wifi system in the stadium, the only functioning fully operational system of its kind in the UK. It opens up the possibility of doing live match-day social campaigns. When we designed CelticLIVE, we wanted to enhance the match, allowing supporters to view stats and share content from the game in real time. The next stage is I want to be able to introduce match-day programmes on fans’ phones including audio and visual content and therefore enhancing the whole experience. 

You, personally, have just back from Asia where the sporting landscape is changing a lot out there. What is the effect of that?

I find the region fascinating, that whole part of the world is on a route to growth. The question is, how do you reach all of these people? Broadly speaking, their desire for Premier League football is continuing to rise.  That is why you see a growing number of clubs and sponsors signing deals in the region. You only have to look at the Everton and Chang partnership to see the opportunity to engage with a huge oversees audience and grow your fan base exponentially. There is also a massive social market in Asia. Countries like Indonesia are big on social media and present a huge opportunity for rights holders and sponsors alike.