Media and political scrutiny of football is at its highest level since the 1980s, when the headlines were dominated by hooliganism and disaster. Two decades on we sit on top of the curve, with England’s top league arguably the best in the world and unprecedented amounts of cash pouring in.
The people grabbing most attention are inevitably the new breed of billionaire owners, the predictably outspoken managers and, above all, the superstars with the world at their feet. But, as the bible for the communications industry, PRWeek feels a duty to champion the professionals who have to cope with the ever-growing amount of communication involved.
As football has become bigger business, the heads of comms for the larger clubs now resemble the comms directors for blue chip firms or government departments.
Some of the stats in our feature this week speak for themselves. How many corporate comms directors hold weekly press conferences for more than 100 journalists? And how many public sector press supremos take a call from every national paper, every day?
Quite apart from the media attention, the focus is shifting into the more strategic areas of PR, such as internal comms, community relations and CSR.
And most tellingly, Chelsea – whose owner Roman Abramovich is a well-known figure in international political circles – is the first club to have a PR man with public affairs in his job title.
Listening to these men and women, we get a taste for the calibre of communicator that the game is now attracting.
And we didn’t even get the space, this time, to look at the avalanche of business this is creating for PR consultancies.