Will Creating the Super League Render a Teams’ Status Moot?
An article from Financial Times is about a plan underway to build a new super league for European football that sits above the Champions League, backed by financial powerhouses.
In Europe, each country has its own domestic league made up of 15-30 teams. If there are 20 in a league, a team will play all the other teams twice. The team with the most points at the end is crowned the champion of the domestic league, then the top two teams of each domestic league play in a special competition.
In the plans to create a new super league for the biggest and wealthiest teams, there is debate about what the qualifications should be—maybe it’s not about who wins the domestic league, but should be based on popularity, size of spectator base, and the amount of money a team has.
This raises a deep question. What makes a team a team? What makes Liverpool Football Club, Liverpool Football Club? No matter what happens, people from Liverpool are going to support their team. What would happen if Liverpool Football Club accepted a $20 billion investment from the government of Abu Dhabi to relocate and play their games there? Would they still be called Liverpool Football Club? Would they still have the same fan base?
Here’s another big question: Does Liverpool have a fervent international fan base because its vocal fan base in Liverpool makes internationals want to be part of that story? If they’re playing in Abu Dhabi and the stadium is not packed, is it going to excite people enough to want to keep watching? Liverpool plays in Barclays Premier League in the UK, which is a football-mad nation. They play Manchester United, Arsenal, Everton, Tottenham—which all have packed stadiums. What happens if the stadiums are only packed for two years in Abu Dhabi and then fall away? What role does the right geographic region play in Liverpool’s success? Can a sports team still be a sports team if it moves to a different country?
In America, we see this quite often when an NFL team relocates to a different state. But they’re moving within the same country. People in Nevada like the NFL just as much as Californians. What makes a sports team truly a global brand? Is it winning? If Liverpool joined the Abu Dhabi domestic league and continued to win, would it still be an elite team? Or does it matter where it wins?
The question about whether to create the Super League is not just about money. This cuts to the heart of what made them super teams in the first place. Will creating the Super League render a teams’ status moot to begin with? That’s the deep insight here. It’s about what makes them elite teams in the first place and what they need to do to maintain their elite position.
Football is the world’s most popular sport, and the 2022 FIFA World Cup is only two years away. COVID or not, you can be sure that teams will be playing—and I’m sure COVID will be addressed by then.
We’re going to see companies figuring out how to get their advertising dollars to work for FIFA 2022 in the city-state of Qatar. For Insiders who have access to our advanced knowledge management system, we have created a marketing strategy proposal document. If you run a consulting firm or you’re a consultant, you can use that to gain work to help companies think through their investments. It’s been designed for FIFA 2022, but you can use it for any sports event. It’s one of the many proposal documents that we will be adding to our advanced knowledge management system.
This is an excerpt from Monday Morning 8 a.m. newsletter, issue #7.