The mechanism of media value for sponsors

Case study: FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid El Clasico games. Research work: Nielsen Sports. Subject: Understanding of the game’s value to sponsors by measuring the value of each media platform.

The matches between the two Spanish rivals generate over $ 40 million (Rs 260 crores) media value for sponsors. Live broadcasts now account for half of that figure. This equation highlights the need for brands to understand the worth of different media platforms available to them.

The two of the world’s biggest clubs meet on Sunday in what could be the deciding tie for La Liga. Research specialist Nielsen Sports has attempted to provide a clearer understanding of the game’s value to sponsors by measuring the value of each media platform, according to a report by

The analysis revealed that the combined TV and social media value of the last El Clásico in December 2016 generated around $42.5m for sponsors. Live TV broadcasts accounted for 43% ($18.5m) of the total figure, with social media making up 12%. In Spain, social media delivered the same amount of media value ($5.1m) as the country’s TV news coverage of the match.

“With social media adding over $5m in total value to sponsors, this shows just how critical a medium it has become,” said Max Barnett, Nielsen Sports’ head of digital. Its value fluctuates depending on where a sponsor’s team is playing so rights holders must be able to adapt from game-to-game. As the home team in the last fixture, with partner brands appearing throughout the Nou Camp, FC Barcelona generated 87% ($37.4 million) of the total sponsorship value while Real Madrid made-up 13% ($5.1m).

The most valuable post for on social media was the “Full Time Final” video on Facebook live. It was watched by 4.3 million people and generated $186,000 for sponsoring brands. Real Madrid has the most Facebook fans of any sports team with 101.6 million. Barcelona is narrowly behind at 101.4 million. Only one other sports team in the world, Manchester United at 73.2 million, has more than 50 million fans on Facebook, says a Forbes report.
Barnett maintained that this “highlights the importance of social media for an away team as a tool to generate value for partners when there is no possibility for exposure through traditional in-stadium advertising inventory.

Such was the case for Real Madrid last time out when 41% ($1.7m) of the total media generated for their sponsors came from the club’s social platforms – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Between both teams the most valuable social media post was Barcelona’s ‘Full Time Final’ video on Facebook Live which was watched by over 4.3 million viewers and generated over $186,000 for sponsoring brands.

Facebook Live was leveraged extremely effectively in the build-up, during and after the last match, driving 27m views from over five hours of content broadcast by the two teams. Social media’s growing and fluctuating worth to sponsors has fragmented the media landscape, something which Barnett argues has left brands and rights owners grappling to understand the value of their partnerships and highlights why a “unified measurement is so important”.

Barcelona’s director of digital, Russell Stopford, agreed with Barnett’s emphasis on the need for a better understanding around social media’s value.

It is hard to ignore the money angle when these two clubs meet. Real ($3.65 billion) and Barcelona ($3.55 billion) are the second and third most valuable sports franchises in the world (only the Dallas Cowboys are worth more). Ronaldo ($88 million) and Messi ($81.4 million) were the two highest-paid athletes on the planet last year, according to a Forbes report.