Soccer clubs are much more than simply the players and managers. Fans all over the globe, not just within the same zip code, feel a connection to clubs. We talked about this a little bit in our podcast at the start of the year, but social and digital media have truly revolutionized the sport and brought it to the masses. Over the last decade, clubs have built digital empires and none of them are bigger than FC Barcelona.
In terms of most social media followers and most digital engagements, Barcelona are the leading soccer club in the world. As of December 31, 2019, FC Barcelona have over 350,000,000 followers across all of their social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Tik Tok, Weibo, and many more. Total engagements in 2019 grew 20% from 2018 and topped out of more than 1.4 billion, more than any other soccer club.
Three primary areas of focus
Within this new digital strategy, there are three key pillars under which tactics and products will be built. All of these ladder up to putting the focus on the fans and growing the clubs revenue. A mere fraction of the 350 million social media followers get the chance to attend a match, so they need to continually find ways to engage those connected to the club via their phones and computers. Those key pillars are:
- Attracting global audiences
The club vows to continue remaining an industry leader while working directly with social media platforms to increase higher quality content offerings to fans. They’re also introducing a new eSports division to tap into that growing segment of fans across the globe.
- Entertainment and data
Data is at the heart of the content strategy for any major club/team/brand in 2020 and its used to drive insights into how fans are consuming and reacting to what is being published. The club are creating Barça Studios, which will centralize all of the creation, production, and distribution of multimedia content. Their Fan Relationship Management (FRM) system will also let them collect data on users to target fans with content and timing at its greatest impact to the fan.
- Creation of Barcelona Digital Ecosystem
FC Barcelona want to bring fans into club-owned properties, beyond interacting with them on social media. This includes a new OTT service, Barça TV+, a new global membership program, e-commerce/ticketing solutions, and a massive digital enhancement to the Camp Nou.
It’s rare for a club to so publicly announce a digital media/content strategy like FC Barcelona has done. Even though they’re the most dominant player in the space, they’re not resting on their laurels and name; they’re actively seeking to improve AND bring fans all across the globe closer to the club. We’ll definitely monitor the implementation of this vision over the course of this year and beyond.