The serious business of elite football

“Some people think that football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it’s much more serious than that.”                                                                   Bill Shankly

Background

Drawing upon the work that we did with the Norwegian Football Federation, the team at SDG and Norsk Toppfotball (NTF) is continuing to develop a new strategic and commercial platform that defines the future of the Norwegian league - its role, vision, values and promises that the new league will deliver to fans, clubs, players and commercial partners alike.

The way we watch and consume professional sport is changing. And with that change, commercial partnerships demand that those running sports respond to these new expectations and behaviour. This is especially the case with football. So how should NTF adapt itself to create a greater experience and service for fans, clubs, players, partners and, ultimately, society?

Process

As a long-term working partner of both Norges Fotballforbund (NFF) and Norsk Toppfotball (NTF), SDG helped identify and assess brand attributes and organizational insights that could be structured and utilized to meet such changes.

One such major insight was that change often means that one has to take stock of and celebrate what one holds, what one owns, so that a new more successful future can be more definitely determined by oneself.

Solution

With this in mind, a key finding was that NTF needed to take greater ownership of its brand so that they can control the stories, drama and characters that shape the brand’s success and future.

One of the first significant initiatives has been to create the brand platform and identity for a new league that doesn’t need to change with a sponsor – the first time since 1970 . Starting in the 2017 season, the all new Eliteserien will create a stage for NTF to truly own, shape and evolve its brand; creating entertainment, services and initiatives that meets the behaviour and expectations of fans and clubs alike, while in–turn creating stronger commercial propositions for its partners.

Solidifying the holistic vision that Norwegian football is taking to bring sporting and commercial success, the Eliteserien logo continues to build on Norwegian football history and heritage by incorporating the lion used in the 1910s and 20s, and now on the new national team crest.