Sports: Premier League Pressure

Article excerpt

Comparisons to London 2012 have proved less than kind.

It seems that diving, red cards and foul-mouthed tirades are all part of a typical match in football's Premier League. Couple this with the perception that players in England's top flight are over-paid and over-hyped, and it's little wonder that many consumers were less than enthusiastic about last month's start to the 2012/13 season.

The FA Community Shield (the curtain-raiser for the start of the Premier League season) was marred by yet another debate over a refereeing decision. Moreover, the game did not even sell out.

With the season now in full swing, the Premier League's reputation and the churlish attitude of some players are under an unprecedentedly harsh spotlight, particularly when viewed next to the glow left by the London 2012 Olympics. Over two weeks, inspirational athletes were celebrated for extraordinary achievements, and competitors generally displayed goodwill and respect to one another.

There have been calls for the Premier League players to raise their game by improving their reputations. The England manager Roy Hodgson has also made no secret of his desire for the country's players and fans to adopt a 'less spiteful' attitude to the game.

The Premier League is one of the UK's most popular exports with lucrative sponsorship deals in place until 2016, including a pounds 40m-per-season agreement with worldwide title sponsor Barclays, which runs until 2016.

Nonetheless, with negative perceptions seeming to permanently dog the Premier League's players, what can the competition learn from the Olympics in terms of brand image?

We asked Jim Slater, managing director of Costa Enterprises and a former director of Sunderland AFC, and Ben Kay, joint chief executive at RKCR/Y&R, which created the idents for the BBC's Olympic coverage.

PREMIER LEAGUE STATS

Barclays is global title sponsor of the Premier League in a deal worth pounds 120m that runs until 2016

Pounds 3.02bn - reported value of deals struck with Sky and BT for next season

Source: Premier League/media reports

DIAGNOSIS

Two industry experts on how the Premier League can boot out unwelcome brand perceptions

JIM SLATER, MANAGING DIRECTOR, COSTA ENTERPRISES (former director, Sunderland AFC)

The Olympics cast a long shadow over the Premier League this summer - perhaps the only person to emerge with any credit in British football was John Terry's lawyer. …