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Best Partnership of the Year by SportBusiness Award – Liverpool FC and Standard Chartered

For the past 11 years the annual Globe Soccer Awards have recognised exceptional talent in world football with many of the game’s biggest stars travelling to Dubai to receive their honours.

Now SportBusiness has joined forces with Globe Soccer to create a business-focused award for the first time.

The award for Best Partnership of the Year by SportBusiness is designed to reflect the role of both parties in creating successful sponsorships, with the award presented to both the winning clubs and brands. It recognises deal-making, innovation, creativity and best practice in partnerships against key criteria. These are: Length of partnership and its enduring appeal; examples of creativity in activation to engage with key audiences; results against stated objectives.

Over the next few weeks we will take a detailed look at each nomination. Today we focus on Liverpool’s partnership with Standard Chartered.

Duration

Standard Chartered has been the main partner of Liverpool FC since 2010, when it signed with the Premier League club for four years, from 2010-11 to 2013-14.

It has extended the deal three times, from 2014-15 to 2015-16, 2016-17 to 2018-19 and 2019-20 to 2022-23, making it the second-longest sponsorship deal in Liverpool’s history.

Activation

The Liverpool relationship is used to target key markets for the bank in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. It has raised awareness and brand exposure, but also provided international markets with the means to engage local stakeholder audiences and deepen the level of engagement through a series of bespoke campaigns.

From the start, Liverpool was integrated in the bank’s corporate social responsibility programme ‘Seeing Is Believing’ a global charitable initiative aimed at tackling avoidable blindness in developing countries.

The campaign involves a temporary sponsor logo shirt swap, replacing the bank logo with the Seeing is Believing logo, for one Premier League match each year, which has helped raise more than about $500,000 from club-related giving over the sponsorship to date.

Other campaigns have taken Liverpool directly into key markets.

In the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons, the brand served as the Presenting Partner of the ‘LFC World’ experience, which gave fans a taste of Anfield stadium with recreations of iconic locations such as the Shankly Gates, the ‘This Is Anfield’ sign, and a version of the Anfield dressing room.

The ‘LFC World’ hubs visited Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Shanghai (China), Mumbai (India), Jakarta (Indonesia) and Dubai.

While Standard Chartered activations initially focused on personal banking services to first-time account holders in Asia, from signing the new deal in May 2018, the bank has further activated the sponsorship across its corporate, private and investment banking divisions.

In the 2018-19 season, it used the ‘Stand Red’ match day campaign to reinforce its partnership aims during the club’s Champions League-winning season.

The campaign targeted the bank’s key audiences – clients from retail, private and corporate banking, to Liverpool fans and bank employees – within the Asia Pacific and Southeast Asia region.

The ‘Stand Red’ campaign evolved over three phases during the 10-month season, including the launch of the Stand Red app – uniting fans worldwide around every Premier League matchday culminating in the Champions League final build-up – and ultimately victory – for Liverpool.

Results

As a stand-out activation, the Stand Red campaign played a pivotal role in the $38m total QI media value generated by the sponsorship across the whole 2018-19 season.

It generated 84.3m views across 35 pieces of content. Fan engagement levels were at an all-time high of 11.5 per cent (clicks, likes, shares, comments), by far surpassing the KPI of three per cent and 2017-18 result of 2.5 per cent.

The Stand Red app saw 123,000 downloads and hit 82 per cent of its annual KPI target in just six months. Average time spent by users on the app was 20 minutes. StandRed.com registered 300,000 sessions, a 61-per-cent increase on 2017-18’s digital campaign.

Twenty-six of the bank’s local markets leveraged the Stand Red Campaign content either within their social channels or through retail promotions, exceeding the KPI of 24.

The bank continues to drive the #StandRed movement in the 2019-20 season.

The full list of nominees is:

  • Liverpool and Standard Chartered
  • FC Barcelona and Beko
  • Juventus and Jeep
  • Manchester City and SAP
  • Real Madrid and Emirates
  • FC Bayern München and Audi

A panel of specialist SportBusiness writers and analysts as well as independent industry experts drew up the list of nominees using source information, including data drawn from SportBusiness Soccer, the recently-launched sponsorship strategy tool built around the most comprehensive database of soccer-based sponsorship deals, durations and values ever assembled.

The final three contenders will be selected from the shortlist and announced in early December, ahead of the Globe Soccer Awards in Dubai on December 29.

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