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The Business of Football

Friday May 22, 2020

 Many Cogs Drive the Money-Making Machine.


 We all love the beautiful game. The drama, the passion, the skill and the magic are why football is the biggest sport in the world. When you strip everything back, it’s all about 11 vs. 11. However, in the commercial world, football is so much more than that. Over the last 50 years, football has evolved into a business. Depending on your perspective, that’s either a positive or a negative. There are clearly arguments on both sides. However, one thing that’s undeniable is that the commercialisation of the game has created new revenue streams. In turn, this has helped the game grow.


 FIFA research into viewing figures for the 2018 World Cup show that the tournament reached half the world’s population. As per the stats, 3.5 billion watched at least one minute of a game. This kind of reach has a trickle-down effect. Those tuning in to watch France beat Croatia might not want to visit and watch the Lambs take on Sudbury Town in the 1989 FA Vase final. However, it did inspire the next generation of players. When more people are exposed to something, there’s a greater chance of them developing an interest in it. What’s more, with the World Cup a glitzy affair, it has the power to captivate audiences and create a sense of excitement.

 Business is Booming for Football

 In other words, when something looks impressive, people are more likely to be impressed and, therefore, want more of it. Any aspiring footballer watching the World Cup or, indeed, any major competition, can’t help but be inspired. This, in turn, keeps fresh talent flowing into the game and the sport healthy. All of this is down to the commercialisation of football. Today, the sport is as much about glamour as it is competition. TV has clearly helped build up the business of football. However, it’s not the only player in town.

 The sports betting industry has had an unseen but significant impact on the game. In the UK alone, UKGC data shows that sports betting is worth more than £5 billion. Of that figure, online sportsbooks generate £2 billion. Reading through the online bookmaker reviews on, it’s easy to see why this is the case. Licenced operators such as 888sport and MansionBet offer all manner of incentives. From welcome bonuses and in-play betting to cashouts, these features are designed to make everything more interesting.

 Engagement Breeds Entertainment

 When you look at the data from, football and horse racing are highlighted as the major beneficiaries of this rise in online betting. In essence, what virtual sportsbooks have done is to add another layer of excitement to the game. Now, as well as the drama of a match, you can get a second level of entertainment courtesy of betting. On top of this, social media adds a third layer of interest. Today more than ever, we’ve got a deeper insight into the game, its fundamentals and its players, all thanks to social media. Our little space on the internet is filled with tweets and Facebook posts about what’s going on at Tamworth FC.

 Beyond this, football’s elite are now giving us a look behind-the-scenes. In the days of Pele et al, we never knew what the world’s best got up to on a daily basis. Modern-day equivalents, such as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, are all too happy to share their lives with millions on the internet. These innovations make us feel more connected to the sport. That, again, makes football more engaging and interesting. Then, when you tack on things such as sponsorship deals, you can start to see why it’s a business.

 All the cogs are turning in unison to power a giant machine. Yes, there are some aspects of the modern game, such as overexuberance and inflated egos, that aren’t great. However, football’s evolution from a simple sport to a business has had a lot of benefits, benefits that have helped the game at all levels. For that, we should be thankful.

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