An x-ray of a football game – the power of Cristiano Ronaldo’s image

Bárbara Silva | March 26, 2019

Building on the experience we are gaining from monitoring live sports such as F1 or MotoGP, this time we turned our attention to football.

The Champions League is one of the most valuable football championships in the world, transacting billions of euros in media rights alone. So, we turned to football, in a partnership with Eleven Sports. The emotions of football fans are a new currency that should be treasured by leagues, sponsors, advertisers and broadcasters. Understanding when fans are truly engaged, and what drives their emotion in the game allows companies to transform emotion into revenue, by betting on key moments, the right editing choices and the most engaging players and sports leagues.

Our first match was the Champions League match – Juventus vs Atlético de Madrid. And what a match it was!

  • Goals, goals, goals

What do people want when they buy a ticket or a PPV to a match? Feel emotion, passion, and adrenaline. And nothing drives emotion like goals! Goals are considered golden opportunities for sponsor appearance (image1) and are the right moments to launch banner advertisements or ad insertion. We now have data to back this up. Successful advertising should capture the high emotional states produced by goals (but don’t wait long, and do it immediately before the replay, when the arousal levels are still high).

Image 1

Detecting and analyzing replays also allows a focus on the best editing options. How many, which, at which moments. One key insight for sponsors: goal replays across the game are the runner up as the most engaging event. These are key opportunities for sponsoring referrals (image2).

Image 2
  • Cristiano Ronaldo, Cristiano Ronaldo, Cristiano Ronaldo

He is clearly the MVP in the world.  Let’s start with the obvious – Ronaldo is the 3rd best-paid athlete in the world (and the 10th highest paid celebrity on 2018), the most influential soccer player in social media (159 million followers on Instagram and 77 million on Twitter ), and the man of the League (121 goals).

Through the tagging of the timeline, we were able to detect each moment each player touches the ball. And Ronaldo really stole our hearts! Whenever he holds the ball the crowd’s emotion light-up. Again, an interesting metric for sponsors! It gets more impressing when we compare Ronaldo with other players (image3):

Image 3

No doubt he was crucial in this game (as he scored the three goals – plus one annulled) that won Juventus the qualifying round, but, judging from this, he seems to be worth every penny his sponsors invest.

Monitoring the reactions of fans to live events is a new and revolutionary way to measure football impact. These metrics allow advertisers, sponsors and media rights holders to move beyond hunches when producing events that fans love, and to complement audience ratings when assessing the value of sports as the ultimate vehicle for brand promotion.

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Bárbara Silva
Bárbara Silva


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