The battle of football’s ‘global brands’ – in Morocco
Posted by John Beech on August 31, 2011
Last year I blogged on the case of merchandising in Kenya, noting that while clubs such as Arsenal undoubtedly had a presence there, there was little sign of any commercial activity which they were benefiting from. This summer’s trip to Morocco revealed a significantly different situation.
The overall impression of the top European clubs’ ‘presence’ is summed up in this graffito from Agadir:
And not necessarily in that order! What of course was not clear was whether the author was a Moroccan or a Spanish tourist. One suspects naturally the former as presumably a Spanish tourist is unlikely to have promoted both teams.
Certainly the sale of shirts and other merchandising was aimed at both residents and tourists.
[You can click on each of the images for an enlargement;
these four photos are from the souk in Marrakesh]
Observation would suggest that these items are largely aimed at tourists. For Moroccans there was really only one shirt of choice – a Barca shirt, with in particular a skew towards Lionel Messi, and indeed all items Barca, official or otherwise.
Moroccan national team shirts were popular (but significantly less so than Barcelona shirts). Although I spotted a couple of Arsenal shirts, and a single Rooney Manchester United shirt, the English Premier League was notable by its near absence. Which raises the interesting question of ‘why?’.
Sadly I was unable to obtain a Moroccan equivalent of the Radio Times, but it seems likely that Moroccans have better access to La Liga matches than to Premier League ones. It strikes me that Morocco is now a lost cause in the Premier League’s attempts at global merchandising hegemony. Could it be that pushing up the price of broadcasting rights to their perceived maximum is actually going to prevent any Premier League clubs becoming truly ‘global brands’? Once La Liga, Serie A or the Bundesliga has established itself as the league of choice in a particular country, I suspect it will be very hard to supplant.
And finally a promised mention of someone I met – Ken, a Welshman who lives in North London and is more than willing to spread the word: