Manchester United have the most valuable digital output in world sport, thanks to Ed Woodward
The club’s digital output for 2021 is projected to be in excess of £90m, more than any other team in the sport. It comes as welcome news in a year where money has been scarce due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Horizm believes leagues and clubs are yet to realise the full potential of digital revenues they could earn, as other traditional markets such as matchday, merchandise and broadcast begin to decline.
“Social media drives all communication but that’s why (clubs) not only need to drive content to keep them engaged but also, as you can see, the way to activate sponsorship is through these channels.”
Despite the off-field success, there is growing unrest among fans that it is not being reflected in on-field investment. This has led to massive protests against the Glazers, who own the club.
Horizm chief executive Pedro Mestriner is well aware of the power that fans hold and believes a social media boycott could hurt the club’s finances more than one would think.
“It’s like the fans saying, ‘look, I’m turning off the TV now’. There would be a huge impact.”
Whether this is a reason for the Glazers’ willingness to listen to the fans remains to be seen. One thing is for sure’ the protests sure appear to be hitting them where it hurts.
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Woodward has rightly drawn flak for the football side of operations. However, he deserves credit for the commercial side of his job.
At the inception of the Premier League, United were one of the first clubs to realise the potential the new competition brought and went on to establish themselves as a powerhouse on and off the field.
Whether a similar opportunity exists now remains to be seen. For now, it would appear we are ahead of the curve.
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