Manchester United careful about over-commercialisation on Facebook

Manchester United Football Club has no plans to put any advertising on its Facebook page in the near future.

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Outlining the club’s approach to social media when presenting at Marketing Week Live!, head of marketing Jonathan Rigby said: “We were late into social media and were worried a lot about how to approach it as a football club.”

MUFC launched its Facebook page last July and has nearly 14 million ’likes’. It has decided not to carry sponsored links down the right hand side or carry any MUFC commercial messages.

“We don’t sell off Facebook and are resisting until we are satisfied it will not mess up the growth of the Facebook page. Our big concern is that if we get it wrong that the fanbase will stop growing.”

For the same reasons MUFC does not have a Twitter platform. Rigby said: “There will be no official Twitter site until we have satisfied ourselves that we have determined a role for Twitter.”

When questioned on how individual players’ behaviour, like that of Ryan Giggs, might impact on the MUFC brand, he said that the club concentrated on the team and not individual players and he’d not really seen any impact. He added that tabloid press coverage in the UK had little impact on the global field, for instance, in India.

Rigby added that, like other clubs, MUFC was looking at the potential for growth in the US, India and China. The club has 40 million fans in India out of a population of 1.1 billion so there are plenty of opportunities. He also pointed out that at teen and pre-teen level football was now the number one participation sport in the US and the club was working with mobile and TV partners to lay the foundations for growth.

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