It’s not often that football players put their head above the parapet and speak about fan engagement or fan experience. So it was a good thing to see when Robert Lewandowski spoke to the media in Germany about the very subject and his quotes are wise words indeed.

To recap, in a recent interview he said, “What’s happening in football at the moment is a fine line between regionality and globalization. As a club, as a league you have to grow if you want to keep up with foreign clubs and associations. This leads to a big question: Who is the target fan of a club? Do they live in Munich or in Asia or in America?

“Solving this conflict is one of the biggest challenges clubs face at the moment. And that it leads to frustration for those who have stayed loyal to their club for years is obvious. These people must never feel they’re being used.”

Robert poses the question, “Who is the target fan of a club?” before sharing views and questions on globalization and the conflict between local or global, asking if the fans who are closest to the club feel like they are being used.

The one saying I’ve enjoyed over the years is, “Think global, act local”. It really does hammer home the point that fans want authentic relationships with their clubs. They want to feel the club, team or association cares for them and the local community.

Those who attended #FES17 in July would have seen the work Miami Heat have done to ensure global audience growth, firmly based on local values and messages.

Ever since I have been in sport, the lure of hitting the global jackpot based on volume, while being able to answer the rhetorical question of “How many bikes are in Beijing?” has driven clubs marketing campaigns.

The world is a much smaller place today than it was yesterday and sports brands want to capture that market, but they should never do it at the behest of their core fan base.

The teams that get it right achieve success on both a local and global level, never changing their values or DNA. Their message and brand, based in the fabric of the community they represent remains.

We at Fanalyse are trying to create a network and more importantly a movement to ensure that fan values and fan business stays at the heart of everything we do. Being able to create authentic, intimate relationships that build affinity and drives revenues, both home and away is key.

In short, ensure that your backyard is right and is built on strong values and vision before you start to pursue the riches from afar. Well done Robert. You have once again hit the back of the net, but this time off the field.

Join us to help bring these issues to the forefront at our next summit, #FAS17, the Fanalyse Activation Summit at Anfield, Liverpool in November.

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