Infographic Heaven

eco

For fans of the current craze for infographics (I’m not convinced that’s even a word, but we’ll let it go) it doesn’t get any better than this.

The Economist has created this neat illustration of the relationship between success and financial clout in the English Premier League.  It is a thing of beauty, despite my carping.

Wage spending (expressed along the x axis) correlates very closely with success (expressed on the Y axis but also as blue-ness and as size of the bubble).

Two issues emerge:

First – a ‘chicken and egg’ question still remains – does wealth drive success (as we are encouraged to assume) or does success over time lead to wealth. Or indeed are both driven by something else (history, tradition, fan base, being in the parlance ‘a big club’?)

Second – how amazing was Leicester City’s performance this season?  They are the only League Champions ever (and only the second team to finish in the top four) to have had a wage bill below the league’s median figure.  Truly a ‘rags-to-riches’ story.  They do trouser quite a lot of money now as a consequence, both as direct prize money and through participation in next year’s Champion’s League.  So expect them to move sharply to the right on this chart.  It remains to be seen if they will remain quite so high up on the other scale.

 

More woe for Coe

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Big sponsorship news today is that, according to reports, Adidas is withdrawing its sponsorship of the World athletics governing body IAAF, because of the recent doping scandals.  That’s quite interesting.  Adidas, who are the first name on IAAF’s list of global partners, appear to have broken their ties three years before their fixed term contract expires.  What’s more interesting is that this is the same Adidas who still sponsor FIFA to the tune of much larger sums, despite the fact that most of FIFA’s executive committee is either under arrest or under investigation for corruption.  How damning is that?  IAAF is now a more toxic brand than FIFA.  Wow.  That’s damning.

It does give an insight into what it is the sponsor is actually buying with these partnerships.  The difference here is that FIFA may have become a byword for malpractice, but football itself is still a hugely attractive proposition.  Nobody supported their team any less enthusiastically this weekend because of the governing body falling ever further into disrepute.  In contrast the doping scandal in athletics calls the sport itself into question.  If your favourite athlete won a medal at the last Olympics or World Championships, you may now be wondering whether that was actually legitimate – or was it drug-fuelled?  Some athletes are calling for their performances to be upgraded retrospectively because they were beaten in major championships by ‘drug cheats’ – even though the cheating only came to light later.  It’s all up in the air.

Add to that the fact that athletics is nowhere near as attractive as a commercial proposition as football, in any case, and you can see why Adidas has concluded the positives no longer outweigh the negatives to justify a marketing investment.

What a tragedy after the sport was in the ascendancy after the fabulous London Olympics in 2012.   Lord Coe, the new President of the IAAF, will need all his powers of resilience to get back into credit. For the moment, the future looks bleak.

Mike Ashley: marketing genius?

Let’s hear it for one of marketing’s great ideas that’s almost universally unrecognised.  Yes it’s the humble Sports Direct mug.  You’ve got one.  I’ve got one.  We’ve all got one, possibly several.  Every time you buy something (come on, you can admit it, we’ve all been there) from Sports Direct online, you get one of these oversized mugs, like it or not.  And even though it’s frankly rather ugly (and it tells the world  you shop at Sports Direct) your sustainability-driven conscience won’t let you throw it out. So you keep this tiny advertisement for Mike Ashley’s sports empire on show in your home for ever. The cost to him is about a quarter to a fifth of bugger all.  And your lovely home even gives Sports Direct a kind of genteel respectability.  It’s utterly brilliant.

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