Your excellent Insight (MW June 8) on sponsorship trends confirmed what many football fans have often suspected - namely that “when companies plan and implement football sponsorship strategies, the target consumer is the secondary consideration – at best”. I have seen this at first hand from a professional and personal perspective.
When Samsung announced a &£55m sponsorship of Chelsea FC, our website www.cfcnet.co.uk submitted a 24-page sponsorship proposal about how the brand could use us to interact with Chelsea’s fans. After all, we are by far the biggest unofficial Chelsea fans website, with 80,000 unique users a month and millions of hits. Moreover, our free-to-view site is meticulously monitored with more than 30 moderators based worldwide.
All we were offered were three mobile phones as competition prizes on condition we provided some return-on-investment figures.
CFCnet is by no means alone. An independent co-operative, IFFCOM, was set up in 1998 to assist fanzines and fans’ websites attract sponsorship and advertising. In eight years, only a handful of brands have seized the opportunity to engage the real fans. It’s a shame because fans aren’t the only ones to lose out, the brands do, too.