$132 Million for a Football Player? Sports Marketing says yes!
About ten days ago the deal for the buy of Gareth Bale was finalized and Real Madrid bought the Welsh player for the stunning amount of 132$ million dollars!
For days there was a huge media buzz and everyone was talking about the most expensive transfer in the history of football. Some condemned and criticized this action, others stood sceptical, but no one seemed to be really excited about it – that is except for the Real Madrid fans of course.
Even the new FC Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino said that: “Bale is a very good player, but the numbers involved in this transfer show a lack of respect to the world in general.” (source)
At first glance who could argue otherwise? Just take a look at the Spanish economy; people try to make ends meet with a just few euros every month while facing the problems and the fears of the economic crisis that is raging over Europe. Even the majority of the Spanish football clubs are experiencing debt issues – including Real Madrid – and here they are spending a fortune for one football player.
The weird thing is that Gareth Bale is not the sole example, just take a look at these numbers: Edinson Cavani got transfered to PSG for 64,5 million euros, 60 million for Falcao by AS Monaco, 57 million euros for Neymar by Barcelona, 94 million for Ibrahimovic by Barcelona and of course 130 million for Christiano Ronaldo by Real Madrid. So, Bale is another wagon on this crazy non-stopping train in the world of sports.
So it’s not something new, it has been going on for some time now, but who can explain or at least provide a reasoning for all these crazy bids and numbers?
Sports in general and Football in specific is a case of “winner-take-all” market. That means that there are a lot of people out there willing to pay more for a specific athlete they prefer over someone else. Add to that the existence of a small group of extremely wealthy people who are pressing the FC presidents to acquire the player they are interested in. All this makes the club presidents to go on out of control bidding wards and end up with huge payments.
Sports Marketing & Branding
But let’s go deeper: football is not just a sport, it’s also a product. The Premier League has the highest revenue of any football league in the world, with total club revenues of €2.479 billion in 2009–10 (Source). We can argue that Premier League is on the most expensive products in the whole world. The same goes for the players, they are not just athletes but brands of their own and one way to increase the value of your brand is by investing large amounts of money in it.
Football players are icons that are idolized by millions and millions of football fans who spend money on tickets, jerseys, kits, accessories and anything else that has a connection to the specific athlete they love. The brand grows stonger! Remember David Beckam? – a fine example of a real strong brand name, not just for his athletic skills. Christiano Ronaldo too!
At the moment Real Madrid has the highest brand value than any other team and it’s revenues are raising day after day. Still such a huge investment in just one person seems risky especially when Gareth Bale is not of the same “calibre” as Ronaldo or Beckam brand-wise. In any case the former spurs midfielder is one of the hottest names this year in the Premier League.
To conclude, we need to understand that unless new regulations and changes are introduced in the way the transfer system works, then you can be sure that Bale’s record transfer will soon be broken by a new top name.
Marketing Specialist at Galoo.
Specialization in: Public Relations, Communications, Marketing & Advertising with a great love for Political Science.
In my free time I am either socializing with friends, playing basketball or exercising.