- 04 Apr 2016
While the Premier League continues to surprise, delight and torture many a fan, there’s also a big PR game being played surrounding it all.
Here, Senior Consultant, and Football allergic Jane Williams talks about why she has taken notice of the League for the first time in her life.
I am going to start this post with a disclaimer; never have I ever followed football.
I cannot claim to know the ins and outs of ‘the beautiful game’, however being a person who lives on planet earth, it has been hard to miss the hype that is surrounding this season’s Barclay’s Premier League (we work in PR, it would be a crime to not mention the sponsor and full title just this once!).
There’s no better story than that of the underdog. Again, I’ll not declare to know anything about this particular underdog that is Leicester City, but ever since I can remember it’s been the ‘big dogs’ circulating at the top of the league for many, many years. Liverpool. Arsenal. Manchester United. Chelsea. But Leicester City? Looks like a bit of a fairy tale to me.
And not just for the club, even though for every win and notch up the League they get plastered over the sports pages and social media… but for the Premier League itself.
Everybody is talking about it. When I asked my friends who are much better equipped to comment on this than I am; would it be fair to say that this is the biggest surprise in recent years? They replied – Jane why are you talking about football? They then agreed that it was the biggest surprise, not just in recent years, but in history. According to BBC Newsbeat, the bookies had the Foxes at 5,000/1 to win the League last August, and they shared this list from William Hill of strange things that were more likely to happen than them winning the League.
You see? This really is a great story! Everyone is getting their share of the PR pie. I’m sure the Premier League’s PR team are positively gleeful. This was not a planned out strategy, implemented with the usual tactics we all know and love. That was left to Leicester. What has transpired for the League could never be planned, but they’re reaping the publicity rewards.
Usually with football fans ‘same old same old’ is what they want (unless your team is notoriously bad)… but we know as communicators that this is not what sells in the bigger picture.
So for the lapsed audience such as myself, well, we need these stories. We want to come in at the last minute and cheer on the underdog, who cares if that makes us glory hunters? I am definitely going to watch the match on Sunday so that’s one extra viewer interested, and I’d put money on me not being the only one.
We love an underdog! And the Premier League has been served one on a big shiny platter in Leicester City. They come across as a humble club with a humble manager, they’re relatable and that’s a win in itself.
Come Sunday, if they win against Man United, the title is theirs and with it comes the best piece of PR the League (and the club, obviously) could’ve wished for. No doubt it will be trending, be on the front pages instead of the back pages, and will experience peak TV and radio audiences; a PR dream.
So, who is going to win the League? That’ll be the League itself.