Football: Quality drives EPL

Football: Quality drives EPL
Barclays Asia Trophy Premier League Workshop & Club Operations Workshop.
PHOTO: Getty Images

The Premier League has been very successful in reaching out to fans, both within the United Kingdom and internationally, since its inception in 1992.

Television broadcasts have been the main way the league reaches out to supporters, supplemented with pre-season tours and, in recent years, social media.

But, at the heart of all the sales, marketing and communications efforts is the quality of the action on the pitch and the players that grace it, said the English Premier League's director of communications Dan Johnson.

"Football is the focus of all our communications. Media, broadcast, marketing, commercial, digital or social - it's all there to drive that interest and help celebrate the football," he said at the Barclays Premier League-Asian Football Confederation (AFC) workshops at the Grand Hyatt Singapore yesterday.

"It is important to remember what generates interest - players and the clubs. You'd need to keep investing and focusing attention on the football and put on the best possible show.

"Otherwise, all the marketing and communications and fantastic broadcast partnerships will not generate that interest."


The Newcastle fan, who has been with the Premier League since January 2001, added that the clubs' signings of major international players, as well as development of homegrown heroes, have helped capture the fans' imagination and attention.

The clubs engage actively with their local communities, who make up most of the crowd during matchdays, said Richard Masters, the league's director of sales and marketing.

He said: "Everton, for instance, have most of their fan base living within 30 minutes of Goodison Park.

"While there is a huge international interest in the league, people who buy tickets and create the atmosphere are still local."

The Premier League, though, helps clubs like the Toffees reach out to an international crowd via several channels, especially "live" match broadcasts.

While the league typically leaves the clubs to foster their own relationships with their local communities, the two work together on certain areas, such as building up away fan support, which grew in the last few years despite uncertain economic conditions in the UK.

Johnson says the Premier League is keen to share the knowledge gained from its success with developing football nations, such as Singapore, through seminars and talks like yesterday's.

He said: "The workshops today with AFC are about passing on some of that knowledge and expertise, those experiences that the Premier League and our clubs have had.

"As Richard Scudamore (Premier League executive chairman) has said, we want to work with the willing people - people who ask us for help and advice will get help and advice.

"Wherever we can add value with a willing local partner, association or club we will try to do something."

Masters added: "You'd have to take a long-term view (in developing your leagues) and have a very clear plan."

This article was first published on July 17 2015.
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