Academic journal article International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

Football, Sports Rights, Marketing and Journalism

Academic journal article International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

Football, Sports Rights, Marketing and Journalism

Article excerpt

In 2005 the Norwegian Football Association (NFF) sold its media rights for domestic football to TV 2 and the Norwegian Canal Digital for 1 billion NOK ([euro]127 million) for the period 2006-09. The annual value of this deal was increased by 300-400% over previous agreements, and in a country of 4.4 million inhabitants, the cost of these media rights is therefore breathtaking.

This acquisition of football rights is part of a media battle for future dominance within the TV and internet markets; in particular within the new digital terrestrial broadcasting net (from 2009) and for digital satellite platforms.

Sports Editor Bjorn Taalesen is responsible for TV 2 sports media rights and is the Editor of TV 2 sports news formats, including TV 2 Sporten [TV 2 Sport]. This double role means that opportunities knock. Taalesen is in a position to promote his own media sports rights in journalistic formats and thereby make a strong promotional instrument out of journalism. How does TV 2 promote its sports rights? And how does it deal with promotional interests on the one hand and publicist ideals on the other? These are core issues in the relationship between marketing and journalism.

KH: It has been claimed by TV 2, the NFF and the football clubs themselves that TV 2 is "the best sponsor of football". What does this mean from a marketing perspective?

BT: We are the largest sponsor of Norwegian football in terms of revenue for the Norwegian Football Association. This means that we are in a position to determine the degree to which general sponsors receive on-air publicity. Commercial sports sponsors will often measure their contract according to on-air exposure, and thereby are able to document the value of their sponsorship. It goes without saying that a TV company that occupies the position of largest sponsor retains a rather unique opportunity to substantiate the value of its contract. The more Norwegian football there is on TV, the bigger the commercial value. That's not bad from a marketing perspective!

I believe the effect of such an extensive television deal requires a professionalisation of the clubs. TV 2 has made specific demands of the clubs and their players with regard to what we expect in terms of involvement and appearance. An inherent supposition is that football makes itself available--in other words that it makes itself available for TV 2. This entails, for instance, that we demand that they are available for interviews in connection with televised games.

KH: How is the football deal working out?

BT: Even though we are still in the early stages, I can honestly say that our experience so far has been exciting and very positive. This entire contract has elevated TV 2 as an organisation and has accelerated a great deal of internal developments. The way in which we have taken on the challenges of web-TV, mobile phone technology and the integration of different platforms, and made all these features function together as a whole, has been surprising. Without this football contract it would have taken TV 2 a lot longer to get to where we are today. On top of this we have established a new [sports and entertainment] TV channel--TV 2 Zebra--in the market at record speed. Thanks to football, our developments have been sensational to a degree that is really unheard of in the television world. On many of these platforms--not least TV 2 Zebra--football and the contract itself have become the primary selling point. Without it, TV 2 would not have had the necessary marketing tools for carrying out these developments.

KH: How important are 'football profiles' for the coverage, and how are these promoted? Has TV 2 advised players and managers on how to deal with the TV medium?

BT: Building profiles is an important feature, as it is in all aspects of the TV sports business. We advise clubs, club administrators and players and try to make them understand our needs--and consequently how our needs also help serve their interests. …

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