Football clubs are evolving into media businesses, and their monetization strategy is also shifting from traditional sponsorship to content creation and distribution. Matchday content is undeniably the most crucial topic because live entertainment is still the core value proposition of every sports club. In this article, let’s find out how clubs can improve their matchday content strategies.
Matchday content buckets
For many clubs, fan engagement starts with a proper understanding of their fan journey and a commitment to addressing their pain points. A matchday fan journey has long extended more than just 90 minutes and already covers all pre-and-post match activities. So what matchday content can a club create? Below are some of the most typical content buckets:
- Real-time match content: From matchday countdown, warm-ups to team line-ups, half-time result, goals, red card, etc. Clubs can break down all moments surrounding the game into various content pieces.
- Post-match hype: Man-of-the-match, table standing, press conference, interviews.
- Off-the-pitch stories: Clubs can create stories outside of matches, such as schedules, training, and behind the scenes.
- Player/Coaches-related content: Professional athletes perhaps gain the biggest interest of sports fans nowadays. Football superstars like Ronaldo or Messi have more followers than all football clubs. Hence, clubs should align their content strategy closely with their players or coaches. The simplest example is to recite their player/coaches’ quotes.
- Match data and statistics: From possession, corners, passes to winning probability or shot speed. The rise of AI and machine learning means that clubs can capture and visualize all kinds of data for a more personalized and entertaining fan experience. For instance, The German Bundesliga partnered with Amazon Web Service to create the next generation of statistics such as expected goals (XGoals), shot efficiency, or set-piece threat.
How to create faster and better matchday content
It is known that to achieve social media success, clubs can either create as much content as possible (quantity) or maximize their engagement rate with great visuals or authentic stories (quality). In simple terms, it’s quantity vs. quality. So in this context, how can a club improve both the quantity and quality of their matchday content? Here are the 3 common approaches:
- Ready-made content: The most common approach is to predict and prepare all possible incidents during the match and react instantly. For example, if the best goalscorer is playing today, there is a high chance he will score again; and thus, a goal-scoring post is inevitable. As a result, the more visuals a club can prepare, the more well-made content they can publish in real-time.
- High-quality branded content: Needless to say, each club should utilize its unique brand image. This means that the club’s colors, logo, emblems, and other visual elements should be used consistently but still creative and authentic enough to suit the new trends.
- Optimize the content creation process with innovative design platforms: With the growth of different content creation platforms like Canva, Adobe Sparks, or of our FBIN Business Network member Content Stadium, sports teams today can create high-quality content faster, more easily, and especially with fewer graphic design skills needed. This also helps social media teams to react to real-time events on the pitch without going back and forth with the design team.
Case studies: How Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) and FC Utrecht elevated their matchday content with Content Stadium
- Cover live matches in real-time: Fans expect fast matchday coverage on social media. For both LFP and FC Utrecht, waiting on designers or lengthy post-production processes is not an option to create social media content during matches. In addition, LFP runs both Ligue 1 Uber Eats and Ligue 2 BKT, which means they need to live comment up to 10 football matches simultaneously.
- …While continuing to create quality and profound content: At the same time, neither LFP nor FC Utrecht wanted to sacrifice the quality or complexity of content for faster production.
- Customize and differentiate content: LFP and FC Utrecht both want to post on-brand and recognizable content. However, for FC Utrecht, it was difficult to create branded content via their mobile phone, while standing by the pitch or on the move. So they ended up using the default Instagram story features, which meant there wasn’t much visual difference between FC Utrecht’s stories and those of other clubs.
The Solution: LFP and Content Stadium CREATE
LFP has utilized the Content Stadium CREATE tool and custom-made templates for Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 for 3 years already. LFP’s social media and publishing teams use these templates to quickly produce and distribute visually striking branded images, videos and animations anytime for Twitter, Instagram (stories and feed), Facebook, and certain website articles. No designer is needed.
Their templates include match statistics, line-ups, player quotes, goals, red cards, and other visuals, to cover every aspect of matchdays and beyond. While template features include the option to automatically import live data, switch the template language, cut out photos, duplicate designs to another size, and more, all in just a few clicks.
The use of Content Stadium CREATE templates in combination with the team’s wider social media strategy led to:
- The number of visuals increased from 6,000 to 20,000 visuals after 3 years.
- Twitter engagement increased by 89% for Ligue 1 and 162% for Ligue 2 in a year.
- Social media followers increased by 18% across all platforms in a year.
- All team members can contribute without needing any design skills.
“Content Stadium enables our teams to create social media graphics and animations on the spot, without requiring design skills or resources. It helps us communicate quickly and effectively, with a clear brand identity and creative designs.” – Sébastien Rigaud, Digital Project Manager at LFP
The Solution: FC Utrecht and Content Stadium LIVE
Last year, FC Utrecht was among the first clubs to test the Content Stadium LIVE real-time content creation app. The Eredivisie club utilizes the app to instantly create brand-compliant visuals whether standing on the sideline or on the go.
- Instant pitch-side content creation: Capturing every pitch-side moment and posting them instantly to social media through their mobile phone, without going back and forth to the office or opening a laptop for post-production.
- Recognizable branded stories: Unique Instagram stories in the club’s brand identity, including branded fonts, stickers, and frames. This makes FC Utrecht’s Insta stories immediately recognizable by all supporters and aesthetically distinct from other teams’ stories.
- Improved quality: Enabled FC Utrecht to create great visuals for their on-the-fly Instagram stories.
“Before, there wasn’t much visual difference between our real-time Instagram Stories and those of other clubs. With Content Stadium LIVE, we can add our branding and themes to our photos and videos, and post them to our stories in no time at all. This means that we can now make great-looking, unique stories for Instagram while standing beside the pitch.” – Joris van Peer, Social Media Creative at FC Utrecht