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Information Kit (PR 535) - Tarik Benfquih
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Information Kit (PR 535)

Creative Brief – News release
  1. The task is to attract journalists and influencers to cover the topic. 
  2. The goal is to produce widespread coverage of this news, increase awareness and fuel excitement, especially among Newcastle fans 
  3. This needs to be done because people who don’t live in Newcastle need to know about this. Soccer is a huge sport with fans all over the globe who want to keep up to date with the latest news. 
  4. This story should be told to sports fans all over the world, people who live in England and people interested in foreign investment. 
  5. People will listen to this story because it is intriguing. This happened and because of its magnitude, there are bound to be effects in both England and soccer all over the world. 
  6.  This story will get told in newspapers all over the world due to the money involved. Additionally, sports casters will cover it and will be the topic of discussion in many sports-focused YouTube and social media influencer’s videos.  Finally, it should get picked up by BBC sportscasters both on its radio and TV channels.

An oil spill in England? 

Royalty is back in England just in time for soccer season! No, not Harry, but the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman. 

            A financial takeover is underway in Newcastle, with the backing of a whole country. Newcastle United FC’s owners sold the club to “Public Investment Fund,” run by Mohammed bin Salman. This move came with quite a hefty price tag, with the club selling for 305 million pounds on October 7th, 2021. 

The Crown Prince’s family is estimated to be worth around $18 billion, while his fund is estimated to be over $500 billion (US). With this infusion in funding, the Newcastle Club is expecting some important but necessary changes.

“This is an exciting time for fans of the club, as they haven’t had any success in the Premier League since 1955. I’ve been waiting a long time for this,” says Newcastle legend and the all-time Premier League leading goal scorer, Alan Shearer. “I remember the days when I used to play there and those were some of the best days of my life. I just want to see the club succeed again, these fans and this city deserve it.” 

The cost of this takeover comes as no surprise to the football world, which has been seeing more and more money being pumped into teams from foreign investors. With this investment, here’s how Newcastle’s new owner stands among the other financial moguls of the sport. 

Richest owners of soccer clubs (US)

  1. Mohammed bin Salman (Newcastle FC) – $500 billion 
  2. Sheikh Mansour (Manchester City FC) – $23.3 billion 
  3. Dietrich Mateschitz (Red Bull Football Group) – $14.22 billion 
  4. Andrea Agnelli (Juventus) – $9.9 billion 
  5. Roman Abramovich (Chelsea) – $9.6 billion

The Premier League is a private company wholly owned by its 20 Member Clubs who make up the League at any one time. Each individual club is independent, working within the rules of football, as defined by the Premier League, The FA, UEFA and FIFA, as well as being subject to English and European law. Each of the 20 clubs are a Shareholder in the Premier League. Consultation is at the heart of the Premier League and Shareholder meetings are the ultimate decision-making forum for Premier League policy and are held at regular intervals during the course of the season. The Premier League head office is based in central London. The organisation has a staff of 191 people who deliver across a range of roles including football, coach development, community, youth development, safeguarding, broadcast, commercial, communications, digital, finance, legal, marketing and policy.

Creative Brief – Thought Leadership Piece
  1. The task is to inform soccer fans and the public about the latest changes to the sport.
  2. The goal is to raise awareness and to get people talking about foreign investment dominating soccer.
  3. This is necessary because if this trend keeps up, it will be impossible for smaller clubs and players that aren’t in the spotlight to have success. Only the biggest clubs and players with the most money and media attention will be rewarded for the effort they put into the game. 
  4. This should be directed towards fans of the sport and mainly fans of smaller clubs. These fans already have a tough time rooting for their teams against some of the best.
  5. The urgency of the issue and clear evidence backing it are the largest reasons to listen. Another large reason to listen would be that if no one puts a stop to it, it’s only going to get worse. 
  6. This story will be told on national sports newscasts. Also, this will lead to videos being uploaded to YouTube and that should spark conversation around the world because of both YouTube and soccer’s reach.  Finally, I would pitch it as an exclusive to one of England’s leading newspapers, which are still widely read throughout the country.  The Guardian would be the first one to pitch.  

Money and Soccer: A Love Affair

By: Fabrizio Romano

Once the world’s game, now just another investment 

5000-1 odds, .002%. That’s how much of a chance Leicester City had to win the Premier League in 2015. Their hometown hero and best player, Jamie Vardy, burst on to the scene at 27 years old after 10 long years trying to make it. Their other 2 best players had been purchased from the second division of French football for $200,000 combined! 

Guess what they did? The impossible…., they won the Premier League. Fans of the sport everywhere were left wondering who the next storybook team would be. SPOILER!! In today’s day and age, soccer is run by foreign investments, so that will NEVER happen again. 

It seems like not too long ago the sport we all loved to watch was so full of surprise and pure excitement. Nowadays, soccer is sadly run by the clubs with the most money. It’s not just small wage differences either, you have clubs that have spent over $1 billion in just the last decade alone. Some of these clubs like Manchester City, FC Barcelona, Paris Saint Germain, Chelsea, and Real Madrid have been running what seems like money schemes for years now. 2002 was the start of it all, with Real Madrid spending over $220 million on just 4 players! It’s sad that this is even allowed to occur when you have teams at the bottom of the league that don’t even cost as much as just one of your best players. They were coined “The Galacticos,” and as the price tag suggests, they were super successful, going on to win league titles and the coveted “Champions League.” Unfortunately, the trend followed when Chelsea saw their club be purchased by billionaire investor, Roman Abramovich, in 2003. Again, like Madrid, Chelsea too saw success by winning their respective league and the champions league as well. 

Perhaps the worst shock however was when Manchester City, and Paris Saint Germain were purchased in the early 2010’s by oil investors. While it’s not the slickest of nicknames, these soccer teams are now called Oil clubs, and rightfully so. What sense of pride do you get from legitimately buying your success? Manchester City alone from 2015 have spent over 1.5 billion dollars on their squad. How outrageous of a number is that? You could buy the White House twice with that amount of money, and still have $400,000 left to buy Leonardo DaVinci’s famous: “Salvator Mundi.” It just doesn’t register to me that sort of disparity would even be allowed in the sport. These clubs then go and scoop up all the best young talent from the other teams in the league. This is because their parent clubs can’t satisfy their increasing wage demands and desire to play for these teams at the top of the table. Whatever happened to being a hometown hero. We see it in sports all the time. Look at the Atlanta Braves: they just won the World Series with an Atlanta native (Dansby Swanson) and another player who’s been with the organization for just about half of his lifetime (Freddie Freeman). It’s these types of success stories that make the sport so enjoyable. So why has this happened to professional soccer? 

There are many people who advocate for the pumping of money into these clubs. First, they note that these clubs do help fund and connect their communities because they invest in youth academies for young kids to reach their dreams of becoming footballers, as well as investing in local soccer fields, too. Additionally, a result of these huge injections of money is the players and the influence that they bring. Perhaps the most stunning example was with footballer Mohammed “Moe” Salah. An Egyptian National and Muslim, Moe plays for Liverpool FC in England. Before he joined the team, the city had struggled with violence and specifically hate crimes against people that weren’t white or English. Within the first season of arriving, his performances on the pitch were so inspiring to the fans that hate crimes went down in the city by 19% and online hate comments about Muslims went down by over 50%. Lastly, people argue that money only elevates the game of football to a new level. This investment brought about arguably soccer’s best coach in its history, Pep Guardiola, to the Premier League. This attracted many other top-tier managers to the league as well, like Jurgen Klopp, Antonio Conte and Thomas Teuchel, and since then has elevated the Premier League into the most watched sports league in the world. 

While these arguments hold good value, that’s like saying “Yeah, well, that kid had enough money to attend Harvard, so he deserved to get in.” Simply put, money ruling soccer is not fair and takes the integrity out of the sport. Fans want to see the impossible, NOT the probable. 

Creative Brief – Tagline 
  1. The task is to create ad copy for the creative team to create OOH (Out of Home) ads as well as for digital screen promotion.
  2. The goal is to raise awareness to the sport of soccer and the current economic climate that is escalating. 
  3. This is necessary because there are younger audiences who don’t read newspapers or watch the news, so being able to access them through social media or a physical advertisement is huge. With England’s commuter culture (train and car), billboards are key; in the U.S. billboards still dominate in major cities.
  4. This tagline should be directed towards the general public. You don’t want to narrow your target audience too much because then you could drive people away from becoming potential fans. People who are interested in the sport will most likely be more engaged. 
  5. What will resonate well with viewers is that the tagline is simple, yet convincing. It invites people to find out more about the sport, as well as form their own opinions about how to potentially save it. Action conveys that they listened to the message. 
  6. This story will be told on social media ads, twitter posts, YouTube advertisements, billboards and can even be printed into flyers to post at bus stops and train/metro stations. 

Tagline –         Acknowledge Soccer.  

 #SavetheSport 

The tagline would remain the same on both billboard promotion as well as digital screen promotion. The only difference would be the image of the soccer ball. 

Billboard promotion – The tagline would appear in BIG, BOLD letters across a black backdrop. Under it would be this soccer ball, lacking a brand representation, but instead showing a plethora of flags, exemplifying that soccer is a sport for the whole world. Underneath it would be the hashtag #SavetheSport, which would give people a way to acknowledge, interact and start conversation about the sport and current climate within. With this easy to read and simple Tagline that’s only 5 words, it will be memorable and influential to people passing by it. 

Digital screen promotion – The tagline would appear in LARGE LETTERS, taking up two lines. Since the ad space is much smaller in a digital promotion, the image of the ball would be omitted, and instead the letters would be made up of all the different flags represented by the sport of soccer. At the bottom of the ad would be a space for the hashtag #SavetheSport, which will give the person a means to interact with the advertisement. 

Optional element – Podcast script (Conversational/Panel Podcast)

(a = Show host, b = special guest)

  1. Hello everybody! Today we have a special guest. He’s best known for his coverage of European soccer and his famous catch phrase “Here we go,” so without further ado, let me introduce Fabrizio Romano.
  • What’s up everyone? I’m super excited to be here today talking about some interesting topics.
  1. Fabrizio, it’s an honor to have you here. Perhaps we should start with the most recent news in the soccer world: Newcastle’s takeover.
  2. I can’t even go 1 minute without people asking me about this in the streets! This is quite the purchase, no? 300 million pounds, that’s crazy.
  1. Hearing the news, I thought I was losing my mind. My wife was quite upset because I spat my coffee everywhere.
  2. In all my years of covering football, I still didn’t see this coming. Manchester City and PSG had experienced huge financial backing around 10 years ago, but those are big name teams. I just don’t see why Mohammed Bin Salman would even be interested in Newcastle.
  1. Mohammed Bin Salman? The crown prince of Saudi Arabia?
  2. Yes, the purchase was made by “Public Investment Fund,” Bin Salman’s company. Although he owns the majority share of the club now, the idea is that Saudi Arabia will have no influence on the team’s decisions or finances.
  1. Interesting. Will he be switching things up at the club? Or is he just going to run with the current staff?
  2. So, sources have told me that he is already searching for a new coach and sporting director. Their lack of prior success was a huge factor in this decision.
  1. Does that mean we should expect some moves coming in January’s transfer window? My kids were school age the last time they purchased anyone memorable.
  2. I would hope so. How old are your kids?
  1. 37……
  2. *Laughs* Wow, okay.
  1. Anyway, it’s been a long time coming for Newcastle and the football world is happy that they can finally get their team headed in the right direction.
  2. If you don’t mind, I just want to pick your brain real quick.
  3. Go ahead, carefully of course.
  1. Do you think this investment is good for the sport?
  2. In what sense?
  1. I just mean, do you think these “foreign money mogul’s” coming to England and buying up teams should become the norm?
  2. Well, I mean I don’t think it should become the norm, but it should exist. Think about these low-income teams that really have no chance against the giants of the league.
  1. Yeah, but that’s the beauty of the sport, no? That any small team can beat any big one.
  2. That still can happen, this isn’t going to be an overnight transformation. It’ll take a few years in my opinion.
  1. How many years? Its 300 million pounds now, c’mon.
  2. At least 4-5. Think about how unsuccessful this club has been for 20+ years. They have to shake up their dressing room, establish new club values and find a new identity.
  1. What’s wrong with their old identity? They’re still the same team. Just with a new owner.
  2. Their old identity is what the owner is getting rid of with this purchase. They don’t want to be a losing club anymore and neither do the players.
  1. The same players that they’re going to ship off? I don’t know, I think that’s my problem with this takeover. It just means anyone’s expendable and shows no loyalty to the players anymore.
  2. You can’t forget this is a business before anything.
  1. True.
  2. Remember Suarez and Aguero? Two club legends for Liverpool and Manchester City respectively, and they just let them both walk. At a certain point the owners have to stop trying to please the fans and do what’s right for the future of the football club. It’s sad, but it’s the only way to keep a club successful.
  1. I would have to disagree Fabrizio. Look at Bayern, look at Barcelona. Two clubs that are loyal to their best players and were very successful because of it.
  2. Who are you talking about, Messi? He’s an anomaly and you know it. Bayern, who’d they keep? Their goalie?
  1. Barcelona has kept quite a few players. Busquets, Alba, Pique, Ter Stegen. And Bayern had all their glory because they retained their best players. Remember Ribery, Boateng, Schweinsteiger, Lahm, Robben? That whole core team stayed together and were able to achieve great things. Numerous champions leagues and domestic titles. That’s why I’m so against foreign investment in soccer. It doesn’t allow for a team to stay together and grow.
  2. So, you think it only leads to a higher turnover for players?
  1. A higher turnover and I would even argue that it leads to much less loyalty as well.
  2. How so?
  1. Well, think about it. If the player joins the club and knows that basically no matter how well he performs, he’s up for sale, that’s demoralizing. I know I wouldn’t want to stay at a club like that.
  2. On the other hand, think about the experience it could give you as a player. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has played in 6 different leagues, winning the title in 4 of them. He’s played everywhere from America to Sweden and knows everything about the sport. I know he’s not the typical soccer player, he’s more of a journeyman, but still.
  1. Yeah, good point. I read in the papers the other week that Man City’s Raheem Sterling wants to move from England for that exact reason. He pushed the idea that at age 25 he still has so much to see and learn and would love to leave home to go abroad in the coming years.
  2. Now imagine he wanted to do that, and clubs didn’t have the money?? That’s why I love foreign investment. It allows English players to go to leagues in Germany, Italy, Spain and vice versa. It’s just great for the sport.
  1. Well in that case, I can’t argue against you. You’ve got me there. I guess foreign investment is okay in soccer, but within reason. It’d be sad to see all these small clubs being purchased and having their history erased in the pursuit of keeping up with the best teams for only a few years.
  2. Of course! And I think that only the most desperate teams would allow their history to be erased in search of a takeover. It won’t be something that plagues the sport.
  1. I sure hope so. Anyway Fabrizio, thank you so much for coming on the show, that just about wraps up our time.
  2. Thank you so much for having me, I had a great time and I hope we can do this again.
  3. Anytime Mr. Romano, just shoot me a message and we’ll set it up. Have a great day everyone!