Manchester City may have suffered a defeat against Liverpool in the Champions League last night (4 April), but it has the opportunity to clinch the Premier League title this weekend when it plays rival Manchester United at home. And it’s an achievement the club is marking with the launch of a multi-year partnership with Tinder.
The dating app is showing its support for the club by turning its brand colours blue ahead of Saturday’s derby and releasing a series of blimps over Manchester today (5 April), proclaiming the two brands are a ‘perfect match’.
This is Tinder’s first proper foray into sports sponsorship, and sees the dating app sign a partnership with Man City owner City Football Group across both its men’s and women’s teams, as well as New York City FC. The plan is to collaborate on exclusive access to games, experiences and events both at the Etihad Stadium and beyond.
“There was an instant connection between the two organisations as marketers, which was great” explains Tom Glick, chief commercial officer of the City Football Group and managing director of City Football Marketing, speaking exclusively to Marketing Week.
“There’s a really rich space that we share together. Tinder is probably the world’s leading app for bringing people together and sport is a huge part of people’s lifestyles around the world. We instantly identified this and said we are two organisations that are well matched in terms of our culture, our outlook on the future and this is a place where we can engage young fans around the world.”
Glick explains that a big part of the City Football Group’s attraction for Tinder was its scale as a global franchise and its commitment to equality between male and female footballers.
In January, Man City launched its ‘Same City, Same Passion’ campaign focused on promoting women’s football. As part of the campaign, the club merged its men’s and women’s social media channels to provide fans with news and behind-the-scenes content in a single location.
“We are absolutely committed to speaking to young men and women fans around the world, and that’s on top of our mission to connect with a young generation of sports fans. I think this was central to Tinder’s consideration in knowing that we have a proven track record, so we’ll now push each other to do more,” says Glick.
“Then in New York we gave birth three years ago to this exciting new club that has been created by, for and with New Yorkers. It’s an embedded part of the city no matter what borough you live in, and this is an incredibly important market for Tinder as well. So knowing that we can deliver in all of these areas was important in terms of their consideration.”
Being able to leverage the reach of the City Football Group offers both businesses “a real opportunity for volume and frequency”, says Glick. In any week, the City Football Group is involved in between six and eight matches globally, and has the opportunity to win trophies for both its men’s and women’s teams.
This constant activity means the City Football Group can adopt an always-on marketing strategy, anchored by big tournaments like the Champions League, which appeal to fans across Europe, Asia and Americas – key markets for Tinder.
Glick explains that Tinder and the City Football Group will share their individual audiences and the ones they have in common, with a particular focus on millennials.
“Clearly Tinder is one of the world leaders in engaging millennials every day and we have been working very hard to engage our global audience which is predominantly millennial,” he says.
“We know that this audience is very focused on video, particularly free video and original content, covering not just the live games and the highlights, but what’s going on within our clubs day-in and day-out.”
The team believe that video content is the best way to reach a millennial audience, with whom the City Football Group is hoping to develop a “stronger, more regular and intimate relationship”.
For this reason Manchester City, which boasts more than 1 million YouTube subscribers to its dedicated channel, is investing in its video production skills and creative team. Glick sees the digital delivery of video content as becoming a “hallmark” of the Tinder tie-up.
“We’re deadly serious about winning, but we’re also incredibly committed to fan engagement and hopefully these are the types of things that have shone through to Tinder,” Glick adds.
“For our part we’re excited for the opportunity to connect with Tinder because it is a market leader in its field and has done an extraordinary job of connecting with young men and women around the world as part of their daily lives.”