Don’t share football on social media?! The Premier League misses the point.

Football’s back. The Barclays’ Premier League season has kicked off today as the self proclaimed best league in the world proves it’s worth again. Despite making millions, Premier League bosses want to clamp down on the sharing of the beautiful game on social media. What’s that all about?

Well, if you like your football (or soccer if you have to) and you’re on social media platforms like Twitter or Vine, you may have seen a whole lot of short clips of some rather spectacular goals over the course of the year. These are retweeted and revined thousands of times.

Check out my favourite goal from the 2014 World Cup (it’s too good not to share!)

If there was ever a subject to show the power of social media to fuel people’s passions, it’s football (don’t get me on to how England have disappointed over the years **sob**).

But the Premier League aren’t too impressed by this. They made £2.7 billion income in the 2012-13 season but they feel hard done by.

Fans of the beautiful game (who fill the pockets of the Premier League top dogs week in week out) are being told they are breaking the law if they share clips of goals online. These are not full HD 3D clips with insightful commentary. They’re grainy wobbly 3-6 second clips taken on a phone, recording that moment between a fan and their team.

This is what the Premier League’s Director of Communications, Dan Johnson, had to say to Channel 4 News about this all yesterday:

“You can understand that fans see something, they can capture it, they can share it, but ultimately it is against the law…It’s a breach of copyright and we would discourage fans from doing it, we’re developing technologies like gif crawlers, Vine crawlers, working with Twitter to look to curtail this kind of activity”.

This is pretty old school. A company making £2.7 billion a year needs to have a more modern attitude to communications.

Social media by its very nature is about people sharing stuff: opinions, frustrations…and goals. If anything, it’s this groundswell of passion that fuels the things that make money for the Premier League: TV rights and ticket gate receipts.

So is Dan right to play the letter of the law to the fans who are funding his employer?

Well, I don’t think so. The first thing that industries do in the face of social technology is get all litigious: try and use the law to try and stop an unstoppable force. As the music, film and photographic industry are learning..it’s better to embrace social technology behaviour than send the lawyers in.

Princes Leia had it right in Star Wars…

I’d expect to see more goals shared on social media this season. The recent comments from the Premier League will probably help.

Dan and the Premier League should embrace social media for what it should be for business: a foundation of brand awareness and fanatical interaction that gets people buying into products they want to fully experience.

BTW the season has already started with a shock: Louis Van Gaal’s Manchester United getting their renewed swagger tripped up by Swansea.

It’s surely going to be another amazingly entertaining season. And a very profitable one for the Premier League..thanks to the fans.

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