England’s departure a blow for fans but not brands
England fans are reeling after the national side crashed out of the World Cup after just two games but the same cannot be said for brands and broadcasters.
Although an extended run in the tournament would have been welcome it is not essential for those looking to exploit what is proving to be a popular tournament because of its location and the exciting football on display so far.
The World Cup has already provided a boost for business in several sectors.
Retailers such as JD Sports and Sports Direct have already benefited strongly from the pre-championship interest from fans buying replica shirts. JD Sports, which has forged close ties to Nike and Adidas over the last year, revealed it enjoyed a boost in sales in the run-up to the tournament.
Sales at sports shops were up 3.9 per cent from April to May, according to the Office for National Statistics.
It is a similar story for brewers, who benefited from a 42 per cent leap in beer and cider sales during the first week of the World Cup, retail analysts IRI found. Britons spent an extra £27.2m in the period, equating to around 10 million extra litres of lager and 2.5 million extra litres of cider sold.
Sponsors play the long-game
The commercial implications will take longer to manifest for England sponsors such as Nike and Vauxhall but ultimately the value of the team is not defined by one poor tournament.
Tyson Henly, former head of sponsorship at UEFA and head of international football at Fuse Sport and Entertainment, says brands are already “reaping significant benefits” from their association with the national team, adding the prospect of having to scrap some promotional activity will have a minimal impact on strategies.
He says: “The further the national team go in a tournament, the further brands and rights holders can drive engagement. Given football is such a strong consumer sport in England and the optimism around the direction the team is going, brands will be looking at how they can leverage that for the European Championships in 2016.”
For broadcasters, received wisdom is that a successful England campaign would have provided a huge spike in ad sales – it is thought brands paid £300,000 for a 30 second spot last night. Not so, say media industry experts who argue healthy viewing figures for all three evening and night kick-offs guarantee ITV will get the boost to revenue it forecast last month.
Dave Mulrenan, head of press at ZenithOptimedia UK, says: “From a TV perspective I don’t think it will affect them at all as I don’t think they planned for England to get past the group stages – hence why ITV let the BBC have the next match [BBC were scheduled to air England’s first knock-out tie].
“There may have been a bit of late bonus money, but the World Cup has already been doing bigger audiences than expected. That’s the bonus from ITV’s perspective, not just England, but others.
”The last World Cup was shown at different times of day, the timing is key this year. The opening ceremony this year had an audience four times bigger than the previous tournament – it was 2pm last time. Being in Brazil is quite a draw.”
Jessica Ralph, broadcast account director at Total Media, adds interest in the tournament has taken some brands by surprise.
“The cost of impacts has been so high across all games that some advertisers are pulling back some ads to hold on to, as they’re burning through their cash so quickly. I doubt it will reach the £300,000 level again, but doubt it will fall too much.
“Everyone is very aware of England and their history, we always get behind and cheer, but everyone will probably have prepared for the chances of them going out more than staying in.”