Personally, I don't watch a lot of football or even play it. For the sake of finding product opportunities, this can be both beneficial (unbiased view) and obstructing (missing insights.) So I try something like a "visual journey", starting on the playing field. From there I move outward, describing what I see, asking questions, and sprinkle in some ideas. Let's start at the center spot.

On the field

  • Can the turf be improved? Is it artificial or real grass? How is it produced and maintained? Is there an additional market for "football-grade" turf (fan's gardens, other sports)? Is there a market for old turf (hardcore fans again)?
  • Talking about fans and collectibles: what actually happens to the footballs after a game?
  • Players on the field may be in need for a manager or an assistant. If not full-time, maybe for selected services?
  • Players are not players forever. How to address their needs after their career ends? How to tackle this early on? How to prepare or support them for this new chapter in their life?
  • Players are role models, celebrities, influencer. How to monetize their shoes, jerseys, pants, tattoos, hair style, or lifestyle in general?
  • Players have to hydrate. Is there a way to use these drinks off-field?
  • Is there a way to sell fitness programs based on football training methods?
  • The match itself is a huge heap of data. Not only the final result but the whole game can be broken down to every move and every individual on the field. How to monetize this data for referees, trainers and their assistants, turf grass manufacturer, sports equipment manufacturer, or sports betting?
  • There's a ton of ads visible during a match. From sponsors on jerseys, over ads on the turf only readable at the right camera angle, to perimeter advertising and more. How to improve this? How about new forms of advertising? How about personalized or localized perimeter advertising?

In the stadium

  • Dress for the occasion. Put the logo of your favorite club on everything. Just look at the options Redbubble offers. If that logo can't be used due to legal issues, what material does the fan culture around that club offer? Is there a special slogan, a piece of history, a proverb, or a fan song you can use?
  • To get into the stadium, you need a ticket. How to improve getting a ticket or getting into the stadium?
  • As there is a market for all kind of collectibles, there is a market for old tickets.
  • No match without food and drinks. Can you offer something new or improved? Can "club-branded" beverages be sold outside the stadium?
  • Stadiums can be huge. Stadiums can be loud. (Which is part of the experience. If you've never been to live sports: do it. Just for that wow effect.) How to improve visibility and audibility at every seat?
  • What additional services are needed to host a game? Security, cleaning, assistance etc.?

Outside the stadium

  • It's all about the fans and the experience. How about organizing fan travel, fan meetings, or public viewing events?
  • If you can't attend in person, how to enable a better experience than television or radio? VR and AR are worth a look.
  • Are there any improvements for sport betting?
  • How to report news from a game, your favorite club, or your favorite league? Think about different channels like print, audio, and video.
  • How to tap into the rich history of your favorite club and monetize it?
  • I already addressed it above, but again: what can be sold or traded as collectibles and memorabilia?
  • Esports is big, will be huge, and is a topic of it's own.
  • How about fantasy football and football manager games?
  • Most larger clubs are already tapping into other sources of revenue or are offering services adjacent to their core business. Take some time to investigate, it's worth it.

This looks like a lot and I have the feeling that I still have only scratched the surface with the impulses.

When looking at the points I outlined above, don't only think about the major leagues and the big players. Think about the long tail. Think about both men's and women's football. Football is played by approximately 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies. And I guess this is only the official view on "organized" football, not considering the uncounted numbers of football areas all around the globe.

Looking at all the small clubs, what do they need from all of the above? What services and tools do they need additionally, which may be available or not, at an affordable price? Think of niche products for them. What about supporting players and clubs in developing countries?

Looking at lower leagues, imagine the potential of covering news on them. Imagine the number of shares and likes you get on information about your 12 y/o daughter's last game in her local league.

This post originally appeared in Basic Problem issue #16.

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