Social Media Challenges – What can the A-League learn from FC Barcelona and PSG?

FC Barcelona and Paris Saint Germain (PSG) are two of the biggest clubs in world football, with over 400 million connections on various social media platforms.

Both of these clubs are pioneers when it comes to its use of social media.

They continue to effectively deal with different challenges such as the growing number of audiences, social media channels and production of appropriate content for different locations and languages.

For example, PSG have four separate social media channels in China that are only relevant for that market.

China, alongside Thailand, is now among the club’s biggest markets.

However, controlling all of these factors is a difficult task. PSG chief digital officer, Russell Stopford, explained to fcbusiness: “For us, the challenge is the slicing and dicing – creating the right content experiences for the different demographics on the right channels.

“In order to do that, you need an incredibly sophisticated content production model and to be really fresh with ideas, as the new channels are constantly finding new user behaviours.

“It is about being creative and trying to be brilliant in terms of what we are trying to create.”

Spanish champions FC Barcelona focus heavily on engagement, but also recognise the complexities of expanding their scope of operations. Digital director Enric Llopart, added: “It is getting more and more complex.”

“Take Instagram for example. A few years ago, you just posted images. Today you have stories and Instagram TV. Multiply that for all the different platforms and formats, plus different languages, it brings complexity.

“We believe in engagement and making sure that every piece of content we do is well thought through for that platform and audience – and that it works properly.

“We obsessively measure everything we do in terms of engagement parameters, because we believe it is important to grow the audience quantitatively, but also qualitatively.

“We make sure we bring fans into the mix. We have core fans more engaged, casual fans that we hope become more engaged and new fans getting on board.”

Accountancy firm PwC announced last year that engagement with younger audiences is the biggest challenge for a sporting business. According to the firm, the next generation of fans have multiple consumption methods but also different expectations.

This will be something Australian football needs to focus on, with the current Fox Sports broadcast deal expiring in 2023. It is imperative that those in charge strike the right balance in the next arrangement, giving younger fans more choices and easier accessibility to their product.

Llopart adds: “We are absolutely aware there is a big shift in content consumption and behaviour in younger audiences that will affect football. We need a certain paranoia and to be obsessed with what happens with the younger audiences and how we can connect with them.

“It’s a matter of being where they are in the content and the formats that they love to consume. This means launching on the likes of TikTok. It also means developing an esports division as a way to connect with young global audiences that may not consume a 90-minute game, but may consume an esports competition.”

Esports is critical for connection with younger audiences. The E-League in Australia kicked off last weekend, with a new format for the players on the Xbox and PlayStation systems.

This is the third season of the Australian competition, as those running the game look for further revenue streams and hopefully converting the younger audience into permanent fans of the A-League.

That is not an easy task, with children of a younger age playing games such as FIFA as much as, if not more than watching and playing the sport of Football.

The audience of these esports matches also gives clubs insight into how the younger generation is interacting with their devices.

Stopford adds: “The challenges are also at the product level, some of the features and functionality we have got used to on social media over the last 10 years or so, are not chiming with younger audiences. How do we respond to that?”

In 2019, PSG became the first major European club to sign a deal with a Dota 2 team – Chinese organisation LGD Gaming. The team now uses PSG as its name.

“There are esports opportunities particularly in the Far East with the stuff that we do. Through the partnership with LDG in China, we have multiple different teams, playing different games over there,” Stopford explains.

“The reason we do that is for brand diversification and to find new audiences and to connect with those new audiences. We don’t want to create content which is not addressing the core PSG fan, but it is important to be looking at the younger audiences – and those that are not necessarily watching football.”

The use of social media has become increasingly important for significant club launches.

Last year, PSG conducted an enormous partnership launch with leisure wear brand, Jordan.

Stopford explained: “We created a whole story telling universe, it went from a 26-minute documentary, to massive amounts short form videos on social stories and a live content launch on the day. There were lots of celebrities and influencers, a dance and fashion show.

“This year we had a pre-season tour in China. We had a fashion show with most the players for the Jordan away kit launch this year – our second kit. It was an iconic experience around a story, rather than a commercial angle.

“That said, the latest kit launch, the third kit, which is a Nike kit, rather than Jordan, reflected the original Nike PSG kit from 30 years ago. The focus of the social media launch, followed the 60-fold increase to the e-commerce store, compared with an average day. That was an example of how can show how our social content affects the commercial result.”

Launches like this may not necessarily be realistic for an A-League club, but more can definitely be done.

The arrival of Keisuke Honda last season for Melbourne Victory, one of Asia’s best ever players, was undersold by the club.

A player of that calibre competing in the Asian Champions League, should have been appropriately promoted to the world across social media.

The Honda signing was a missed opportunity, if we compare it to the way he was launched at Botafogo recently.

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Philip Panas is a sports journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and industry matters, drawing on his knowledge and passion of the game.

Dallmeier: Mitigating the risk involved in anti-social fan behaviour

Football fan behaviour can on occasion be detrimental in the progression of the sport across the globe.

Although a celebrated part of the game – when loyalty, passion and individual personalities are animated – the potential for something unsavoury to occur, becomes imminent.

Globally, a key element of the sport is its tribalistic nature. Football fans possess the tendencies of becoming relentless within their support for a club.

The comparison of two large contingents of football fans coming together, with their respective teams battling it out for supremacy, is reminiscent of a crusade.

In acknowledgement of fan behaviours, governing bodies must exercise adequate security throughout stadiums in order to prevent the slim although present opportunity for disorderly behaviour occurring.

Dallmeier

Dallmeier are a German based technology company in whom have become specialists in comprehensive security services.

Derived from the use of video technology the German entity have built quite the portfolio upon completion of football related security within the company’s tenure.

The company boast eight varying security solutions for stadiums. All crafted with the intention of making stadiums safer through the minimization of fan misconduct.

Since 1984, Dallmeier have been experts upon the field of video technology. Optimal within their services, the company provides security logistically and industrially.

Furthermore, their services extend to airports casinos cities, and finally stadiums.

Security Hardware Variety – Panomera Camera 

The use of Dallmeier’s most innovative and decorated product has primarily featured within football stadium security.

Panomera cameras are the combination of several megapixel cameras all forged into one efficient device.

Allowing users to capture larger areas and long distances of space. Providing what a series of cameras would reduce in one efficient device.

The Panomera Camera maintains the highest quality of imagery, allowing in the improved identification of potential perpetrators.

Stadium Security Measures – Dispatch Management 

Dispatch management and allows for the identification and background search of personnel who identify as a threat to the public, to be adequately dealt with by security or police officials.

Providing a real time understanding of the stadiums environment.

Capturing incident data in the form of videos, photos and witness statements all for those who commit an antisocial act at a football match.

Putting emphasis upon the punishment of perpetrators, with the video capturing evidence that can be guided into the hands of law enforcement.

Stadium Security Measures – Entrance Area 

The entrance area aspect of Dallmeiers stadium security allows for the identification of fans looking to cause issues prior to their entry into the stadium.

As a result of optimal security installation upon sport stadiums around the globe, the participation of football upon all aspects can flourish.

While the tribalism and passion all synonymous with football fans, it is an area of the sport that can have a ripple effect upon it causing disruptions to matches and detriment of fan involvement.

Additionally, anti-social fan misconduct can have a negative connotation upon a sport well-respected.

What impact it can have in Australia?

As a result, events can transpire culminating in what should be a celebrated aspect of the sport, becoming its kryptonite.

It was only 14 months ago where in our backyard, an unsavoury event transpired between rival crowds, leaving a stain upon football in Australia.

At the time, it had somewhat derailed a hype train football in Australia was experiencing. Given the Socceroo’s had successfully qualified for the round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup.

The aftermath of such a monumental achievement was tarnished due to fan misconduct.

Company’s in the same class as Dallmeier, allow for the sport to be participated while an emphasis can be put upon the players taking to the pitch.

It is imperative that fan safety is held at the highest responsibility. The raw element of fan behaviour should not be eradicated, but has all the potential to be mitigated, exposing the raw fan element in a positive light with the improved security and emphasis on safety.

Volunteers valued throughout nationwide week in their honour

Volunteers are the backbone of sports clubs across the nation, within the lifespan of a successful club, volunteers throughout generations are selflessly involved.

National Volunteer Week 2024 is an incentive created by Volunteering Australia (VA) who have continued the promotion of volunteers since their inception in 1991.

Founded under the National Secretariat Program, VA are the peak organisation for volunteers across the country.

National Volunteer week has officially began, with its conclusion occurring on Sunday.

Coaches, administrators, referees and team managers all fall under the plethora of volunteers in whom without it the day to day living organism of a club would cease to exist.

Selfless within the endeavours undertaken, volunteers dedicate time and effort at the betterment of a sports club.

Playing a pivotal role in various aspects of a sports club operations. They are the unsung heroes in building chemistry amongst players, club participants and officials.

Unifying a broader community under the umbrella of a sporting entity.

Football across the nation have showcased their appreciation towards volunteers.

Football NSW have swiftly acknowledged the continuous contributions made by volunteers throughout the state by disclosing their participation within the week.

As stated on their website, Football NSW CEO John Tsatsimas touched upon the importance in which volunteers possess.

“Every week we see thousands of dedicated volunteers, committed administrators, and mums and dads giving their time to ensure our players of all ages can enjoy the beautiful game.

“Volunteers are the lifeblood of our game – the grassroots appeal of our game would not be what it is without their passion for the sport and undying commitment to their local club and community.”

Football NSW are honouring the volunteers within the state through Football NSW Champion Volunteer Pieces, all to be presented across social media platforms and the NSW website throughout the duration of volunteer week.

Additionally, the theme for this year’s annual National Volunteer Week is “Something for Everyone”. Placing a firm emphasis upon recognition of diversity within the volunteering community.

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