In an interesting move Facebook has added its name to the small group of companies looking to replace Nationwide as the sponsor of the England football (soccer to those of you in North America) team. Those currently via for the contract that could be upward of £20 million now include: Facebook, Orange, o2 and Santlander.
It’s an interesting approach for Facebook, a company that traditionally hasn’t ventured into avenues such as corporate sponsorship, especially after Fabio Capello’s outright ban on players using social networking services prior to the World Cup.
Personally, I think this would be an incredibly brilliant move on Facebook’s part that could pay back multiples of what the contract might end up costing.
The reason why is simply this – football is the global game of the people. Outside of the US only cricket comes close to inspiring the passion that football does. In some countries you might as well shut everything down during events like the World Cup.
As huge as we might think Facebook is most of those numbers come from the US side of the service. This doesn’t mean that Facebook isn’t growing outside of North America – it is but not at a pace that gets Zuckerberg and company all tingly inside.
But being identified with a world class football club on the other hand could prove invaluable in expanding the company’s reach outside of North America. In this way Facebook’s attempt to secure the sponsorship deal makes absolutely perfect sense and could prove to be one of its smartest marketing moves to date if they win the contract.