With the UEFA Champions League Final, which was played on May 24th between the two Spanish teams Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid, football fans from all over the world witnessed another example of UEFA’s ability to launch premium events and to monetize from this process. UEFA’s tournaments feature the best clubs and players in the world and it was interesting to see that this year’s final was a rivalry between two Spanish teams and thus in some ways similar to last year’s tournament that displayed two German powerhouses.
After an intensive game, Real Madrid could celebrate La Decima, the club’s 10th Champions League triumph. This year’s title equals long awaited payoff related to Perez’ ‘Galacticos strategy’. I was there in Glasgow when Zidane scored that beautiful goal in the club’s last Champions League triumph, which happened more than 10 years ago in 2002. This year, super stars like Christiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale each scored a goal against a tough opponent that has surprised many football fans via a continued effort to blend fine play, tactical discipline and an overload of heart and effort to secure this year’s Spanish title and to make it to the Champions League Final against Real Madrid. Atletico was even leading the scoreboard when the ordinary 90 minutes ran out but Sergio Ramos’ equalizer proved to be just what Real Madrid needed to take care of things in extra time. According to Forbes and based on the club’s financial situation in the 2012-2013 season, Real Madrid is valuated at $3.44bn (€2.47bn), which is an enhancement of 4% from the previous year. That positions Real Madrid in front of all other football clubs concerning valuation. With record-breaking revenues, last year’s Spanish title and this year’s most prestigious club football title, the club is on a winning path from a sporting as well as from a business perspective.
With its newest addition to the club’s proud history of success, the Champions League title marks a useful intersection in the balance between the sporting and business purposes of the Galacticos strategy. On the sporting side, there is no doubt that super stars like Ronaldo and Bale have helped the club to perform at the highest level this year but they are also key assets meant to drive business success. Real Madrid has accomplished remarkable results when it comes to securing revenues. The iconic personality of Christiano Ronaldo has helped to shape that formula positively. As a two-time Ballon d’Or winner and the captain of Portugal’s World Cup team in Brazil, Real Madrid has a super star and a fantastic brand ambassador, whom the club can utilize to generate ROIs. Ronaldo is the kind of player that can turn football fans into customers and he has an applicable business appeal given his ability to win market shares for large corporate brands. The famous watchmaker brand Tag Heuer recently established a long-term commercial partnership with Ronaldo, which puts the Portuguese football phenomenon on the same commercial Tag Heuer team as other famous personal sports brands like Jenson Button and Maria Sharapova. Ronaldo’s enormous potential is revealed in the sense that it is the first time that the watchmaker proposes to the football universe. But there is no doubt that it will be a win for Tag Heuer as Ronaldo is a perfect link to fan engagement and a fine supplement to the watchmaker’s engagement with tennis and motor sports fans. And for Real Madrid, such deals also help to push the Real Madrid brand to football fans worldwide and thus serves as a positive reinforcement of the club’s future income potential. On top of having his own underwear line with Danish brand JBS, Ronaldo has built an inspiring range of commercial partners, which include powerful brands like Nike, Herbalife, Samsung, Emirates and shampoo brand Clear.
In general, the commercial environment of Galacticos-related Real Madrid speaks a language of its own. New digital platforms make it possible to reap the commercial benefits of powerful football rights via targeted pitch-side advertising to a global audience. For instance, Supponor’s DBRLive service makes it possible for football fans, who watch the same game live in different countries, to see digitally-replaced billboard adverts, which are specifically adapted to the audience. For a global brand like Real Madrid with the world as its commercial playground, this type of commercial development is a win given the opportunity for regionalized or localized content.