European football governing body UEFA will no doubt be delighted with the quality of the on-pitch spectacle at this year’s tournament. However, Platini and co’s greatest delight will probably be reserved for their online profits.
According to the BBC , overall profits for Euro 2008 are about 35% higher than for Euro 2004, due in part to a major increase in ecommerce, and with a full week of the tournament still to go UEFA had reported 1 billion hits on its Euro 2008 website, far exceeding the total number of visits to its official site four years ago.
These impressive figures reflect the fact that European football’s governing body has now fully realised the commercial power of the internet. While in the past a website was seen as a secondary thought to pay lip-service to the online medium by an industry focused on broadcast revenue, now UEFA has cottoned on to the fact that a good website can deliver financially.
Take a look at the Euro 2008 home page , the commercial opportunities are everywhere. A sponsor’s banner adorns the top of the page in prime view. There are additional, dynamic adverts on the page and features are also sponsored (i.e. ‘Castrol Stats’) to add a further opportunity for companies to get their advertising in.
Then there is UEFA’s own revenue driving content. Naturally there is an online store, but the most interesting addition this time around is the Pay-per-view facility. This is a real departure for UEFA as it looks to take advantage of the modern broadband age. With this service visitors can pay to watch live games or replays streamed through the official website.
The live streaming in particular is interesting because it shows just how powerful the internet has become as UEFA is willing to irritate its traditional broadcast partners to pursue online revenues.
The internet has evolved past eye-catching novelty, past a begrudging support role, even past an established complimentary commercial endeavour. The internet is now a powerful sales tool in its own right, surpassing traditional mediums in many ways. UEFA has now appreciated this and it is reaping the rewards by maximising the considerable commercial potential of its Euro 2008 website.