PwC: Digital can transform global football landscape

26 March 2015

Although the appeal of football remains as strong as ever, football clubs will need to adjust their business strategies to ensure the loyalty of their fans. With the world more and more interconnected and digitalised, football fans expect their football clubs to join the digitalisation in order to provide the full customer experience, research by PwC, International Football Arena and Exozet shows. In their research, the partners highlight 5 digital trends they expect to positively benefit those clubs embarking on the digital journey.

Football is the world’s most popular ball game with an estimated 250 million players* in over 200 countries worldwide, followed by its 3.3-3.5 billion fans. Its appeal is unrivalled and universal, however, the way in which fans engage with football has changed significantly over the past years. Fans are increasingly demanding digitalised engagement methods, as a result of the evermore technology-driven world, and especially the use of social media has increased rapidly in recent years. As a result of the digitalisation, fans can now interact with their club beyond the 90 minutes of playing time.


Although it is clear that fans desire a more and more technology-driven engagement, especially the ‘digital natives’, many football clubs are still taking a wait-and-see approach as deciding on which digital opportunities to embark on can be difficult. According to PwC, International Football Arena and Exozet, clubs can no longer refuse digital as it offers many opportunities for the clubs in addition to fan loyalty. In order to grasp these gains, football clubs will need a whole new business strategy for the digital age. In their joint study, titled ‘Football’s Digital Transformation - Growth opportunities for football in the digital age’, the three partners reflect on five key trends in the digital world and highlight their potential impact on the way football operations are run today. provides a summary of these five trends:

Digital Ecosystem
The first trend is a digitally integrated ecosystem which will, according to the researchers, provide the answer to growing expectations for personalised and hyper-targeted content. Fans are increasingly expecting personalised content with contextual relevance available to them where and when they desire. To accommodate this trend, clubs’ operating models will have to focus on four aspects: a strategic priority of digital transformation, an understanding of the scope of the data, the right intelligence to analyse the data, and an appropriate organisational structure within the club.

Crowdsourcing can offer a powerful tool when used as digital teamwork between the club and its fans. As fans are willing and wanting to engage with their club beyond the 90 minutes, clubs can make use of this by enlisting their fans’ help and expertise to solve issues and problems. According to the report, “listening to fans will open doors for business, financial and performance solutions which are effective in terms of cost and time.” In addition, will this tactic reinforce fan loyalty and take fan engagement a big step forward.

Football's Digital Transformation

Audience Development
To extent their audience engagement, football clubs will have to diversify their content portfolio and use multiple channels to communicate their club brand, engage with existing fans and gain new audiences. Especially the use of social media will be used more and more by clubs and players to target fans. Another major driver of engagement with and among fans, as the researchers explain, is the digitalisation of the match day, with fans exchanging experiences in the stadium via social media and digital gadgets. The report lists four factors key for clubs’ social media success: an overarching strategy, real communication and dialogue with fans, improved social media tracking capabilities, and increased engagement of sponsors.

Match Data & Wearables
The researchers expect that connecting teams, players and fans with match data combined with wearables will offer new business models; creating more fan engagement and expanding digital marketing strategies that football clubs and players will be able to exploit.

Transfer Market
Digitalisation of the transfer market will offer several benefits to football as it will “boost transparency, make transfer fees more rationable, and improve the overall quality competition between clubs.” It will democratise’ the market as a result of easier access to information and communication. The researchers list three trends that will drive this development: the increased use of analytics; the adoption of digital forms of personal networking and communication; and the progressive digitalisation of the marketplace.

PwC, International Football Arena and Exozet

The partners conclude that footbal clubs will need to adjust their business strategies and embrace digital to ensure the loyalty of their fans. David Dellea, Head of Sports Business Advisory at PwC and one of the others, explains: “In the digital age, football clubs need to develop new business models and marketing strategies if they want to remain competitive off the field as well as on. A growing generation of football fans has grown up in the digital world. And especially for these “digital natives”, a club’s digital offering will play a crucial role in determining whether they become fans of the club and ultimately remain loyal to it.”

* This was estimated by football’s governing body, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), at the beginning of the 21st century.


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Four ways digitalisation is transforming car brands and dealers

16 April 2019

From changing expectations from the customer to new stakeholders entering the industry, the digital transformation of global automotive industry means it is facing the wholesale transformation of its business model. In a new white paper, global consulting partnership Cordence Worldwide has highlighted four major digital trends that are transforming the relationships between car brands and dealers with consumers.

With digital transformation drives booming across the industrial spectrum, automotive groups are no different in having commenced large digital transformation programmes to improve productivity, efficiency, and ultimately profitability. Falling sales figures mean the automotive sector is facing an increasingly difficult road ahead, something which means companies in the market are even more hard pressed to find new ways to improve their bottom lines.

While it offers major opportunities, the industry’s move to digitalise is not without complications. It has triggered a series of major internal changes, which have presented automotive entities with the challenge of becoming a “customer-oriented” industry. A new report from Cordence Worldwide – a global management consulting partnership present in more than 20 countries – has explored how automotive companies are navigating the rapidly changing nature of digital business.

New business models

The level of change likely to be wrought on the automotive industry by digitalisation is hard to overstate. Automation could well lead to significant reductions in the number of accidents, higher vehicle utilisation and lower pollution levels, while leading to a $2.1 trillion change in traditional revenues, with up to $4.3 trillion in new revenue openings arising by 2030.

As a result of this colossal opportunity, it is easy to see why almost all automotive groups now have digital departments, with generally strong communication within the digital transformation and the customer approach. The changes to society which this may have are potentially distracting automotive firms from the change it is leading to in its own companies though, according to Cordence’s paper.

The automotive market is dead, long live the mobility market

Because of this, the sector’s business model is set to transform over the coming decades. With digitalisation speeding up the appearance of concepts such as car-sharing, a subscription package model will likely become more palatable. At the same time, car and ride-sharing models will cater to the sustainability criteria of millennials, who will rapidly become one of the automotive market’s leading consumer demographics in the coming years.

Antoine Glutron – a Managing Consultant with Cordence member Oresys, and the report’s author – said of the situation, “These ‘old school industries’ are now working on creating new opportunities, but in so-doing are facing challenges and threats: new jobs, new technologies, new ecosystem of partners, necessary reorganisation, different relationship with customers, and even new businesses. The customer approach topic is in fact a real challenge for car companies as it implies changing their business model and adjusting their mind-set to address the customer 4.0: from product-centric to customer-centric, from car manufacturer to service provider.”

Digital customer experience

In the hyper-competitive age of the internet, even top companies face an uphill challenge when it comes to holding onto customers through brand loyalty. Digital disruption has resulted in changes to consumer behaviour, which is forcing a range of marketing strategists to reconsider their old, possibly out-dated strategies. As modern customers wield an increasingly impressive array of digital tools and online databases, they and are now able to quickly and conveniently compare prices, check availability and read product reviews.

The automotive sector is no exception to this trend, according to the study. In order to adapt to the needs of the so-called ‘customer 4.0’, car companies will increasingly need to change their business model and move away from product-centric companies to customer-centric ones, from car manufacturers to service providers.

Glutron explained, “As an automotive company, you can no longer expect customer loyalty simply with good products; you must conquer and re-conquer a customer that “consumes” your service. The offer now has to be global, digital and personalised. Your offer has to be adapted to this customer’s needs at any given moment. A key issue related to data control is to build customer loyalty by creating a customer experience 'tailored' throughout the cycle of use of the 'car product': purchase, driving, maintenance and trade-in of the vehicle.”

One way in which the sector may be able to benefit from this desire for a tailored experience is via connectivity. Consumers are generally positive about new connective features for automobiles, and many are even willing to pay upfront for infotainment, emergency and maintenance services. Chinese consumers, where the connected car market is set to hit $216 billion, are already particularly interested in paying a little more for navigation and diagnostic features in their future new car. This can also enable automotive companies to exploit a rich vein of customer data, enabling them to rapidly tailor their offerings to consumer behaviour.

New automotive segments

Digital transformation has also brought with it the rise of completely new application areas. As mentioned earlier, the most well-known example is the autonomous or self-driving car, where the last steps forward were not taken by major automotive groups but by technology companies such as Tesla. While this may have given such firms the edge in the market briefly, a number of keystone automotive names will soon be set to take the plunge into the market themselves, leveraging their car manufacturing prowess and huge production capacities to their advantage.

Before companies rush to invest in this market, however, it is worth their while to remember that the readiness and uptake for such vehicles differs greatly geographically. For example, following a study published in 2018, 92% of Chinese would be ready to buy an autonomous car, compared with only around 35% of drivers in France, Germany and US. Meanwhile, the infrastructure of different nations will also be significantly less accommodating of the new technology.

Use digital for steering thr activity

Elsewhere, Cordence’s analysis has suggested that hooking the cars of tomorrow into the Internet of Things is also likely to see a rapid change in the business model for car maintenance, providing real-time diagnostics for problems. This presents chances for partnerships to improve the connectivity of cars, especially with tech companies; for example, PSA partnered with IBM for a global agreement on services in their vehicle. Meanwhile, data could also be sold to other parties with an interest in this data, such as the government, which could use it to manage traffic levels, or ensure that only adequately maintained vehicles take to the road.

Glutron added, “With the increase in the amount of client data and connected opportunities, the recommendation is to set up data-centric approaches. The value is now in the customer data. The general prerequisites are to rework the data model and the Enterprise Architecture and generally build up a data lake including data from all sources (internal and external, structured and unstructured).”

From automotive to mobility

Relating further to the idea of connectivity, the report claimed that automotive firms must now adjust their models in line with the provision of end-to-end mobility, rather than treating the sale of a car as an end point in their relationship with the customer. In order to realise this transformation, transformations are likely to become more and more important.

A network of partner companies means automotive firms can provide a global mobility experience. As the vehicle is increasingly connected to its environment, new partners can also be cities, governments, and other service providers within the global mobility services industry in which the car brands want to take part.

According to the study, the target is clear. Companies must look to a holistic transport service, offering to move customers from A to B in a unique and pleasant way – otherwise they might as well take public transport. At the same time, they should extend the services reachable “on-board” (especially the enhancement of the connectivity between the car and smartphones or other connected devices), and reach high standards in terms of user experience (online sales, online payment, customised experience during and after the use of the car).

Concluding the report, Glutron stated, “These mobility market transformations could be considered a threat for the car manufacturers. Quite the opposite: if they take up the challenge and review their business model so that they become the service provider – communicating no longer to a driver but to a ‘mobility customer’ – they can then take advantage of their expertise and their position as a historical player. The most convenient means of transport are cars, and building a car is highly-skilled work.”