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Manchester United at the BCCJ: Innovation and Regional Partnerships Key to Man Utd’s Success
Written by BCCJ
January 17, 2014
Member News, UK-Japan Relations
On January 17, Manchester United Football Club’s APAC managing director Jamie Reigle addressed around 50 guests at “Manchester United – A British Club’s Relationship With Japan” – an Inside My Company lunch organised by the BCCJ.
Speaking to 50 BCCJ members and guests at an Inside My Company lunch session, Jamie Reigle, MUFC’s regional director for APAC, said that, as well as striving for success on the pitch, MUFC had worked hard to set a strategy that would rival the world’s biggest corporate names. “We benchmark ourselves against the top brands in the world. We have transitioned from a local club to a truly global brand, through innovation”, said Reigle.
Manchester United FC has an estimated 600 million followers around the world – with 8 million in Japan – and engages with fans through social media updates in seven different languages. Innovation and strong regional partnerships have boosted MUFC’s global footprint.
The club’s Fan Viewing Parties, for example, are a new way to engage overseas fans, with events so far being held in New York, Jakarta and Dehli. The club’s strategy is to showcase football as a shared entertainment experience, with fans thousands of miles away from Old Trafford being able to watch the game together and hear club legends talk about the game onstage.
Despite being a global name, MUFC aims to localize where it can in order to boost interest and secure regional partners, said Reigle. In Japan, the club has teamed up with juice firm Kagome, to support the Japanese firm’s work in Tohoku, and with supplements and agricultural firm Manda.
MUFC is also looking at Japan’s love of computer games and is launching products to appeal to gamers.
Reigle said that the club’s regional partners were chosen based not simply on brand awareness but also on their core objectives – for example their committment to charitable causes. Japanese giant Toshiba, for example, supplies medical technology to the club and uses the partnership to support medical case studies in MRA technology.
Reigle went onto say that MUFC worked hard to ensure that sponsors and partners were given exclusive visibility at certain events. He added that data and analytics derived from surveys about fan behaviour were also a key component of commercial success.“Having a lot of fans is helpful, but the question is what are they actually doing? Are they engaging with us?” he asked.
Reigle spoke following a three course lunch at the Shangri-La hotel. During an active Question and Answer session he said he didn’t believe the club’s marketing efforts had yet reached saturation point.
Asked why the club was so successful, he admitted that, aside from its finely tuned marketing strategies, it was difficult to pin point only one reason. A respect for the club’s history shown through an annual investment of GBP10m in its ground Old Trafford, the development of “superstar” players such as George Best, David Beckham, and Ronaldo, and of course the team’s on pitch success were “difficult to replicate”, said Reigle.
Photos from the event: HERE
Forthcoming BCCJ events HERE!