The legal and contractual framework of a footballer’s image rights is a major issue. Many footballers have given their clubs, the national team and their sponsors permission to use their image rights. They are also paid a fee for this. Naturally, it is important for a social media agency to know of any agreements reached with clubs and sponsors.

Some social media agencies tend to ignore these agreements. On behalf of footballers they retweet actions of companies that are direct competitors of the sponsors who pay money to use the footballer’s image. A step further is the practical example when a social media agency proposes a sponsor deal to a competitor of the existing club sponsor or the national team, without asking permission. Particularly when a player’s commercial value is high, this may result in damage claims.

It is also important to assess how much time and energy can be expected of the footballer in the context of the collaboration. If a player has to spend a couple of hours every week answering questions of fans or taking part in events, a player may find this (too) tiring. Reaching good agreements is important. Ideally, the social media agency troubles the player as little as possible.

A description of the social media agency’s precise services is also relevant. An agency that simply makes a website and posts a number of profiles on social media without further follow-up is not ideal. It has to be clear what the social media agency does and does not do.

What is the agent’s role in all of this? He can act as a go-between to reach commercial or financial deals between player-social media, agency-sponsors, etc. He can also watch over the overview/planning . And finally, it is important he watches over the time and energy a footballer needs to invest and he must help to balance the costs/benefits.

For (potential) top players for whom the growth of their commercial value is also important, they must heed the following:

  • How does the agency see the player as a brand in the future?
  • What does the footballer’s current social media profile look like and what should it look like in the future?
  • What are the player’s long-term plans after his career?
  • What return on investment does the social media agency have in mind?
  • What is the player’s current commercial value?
  • What commercial value do we want to achieve in the future?
  • What is the agency’s business plan (communication and media plan, contacts with press and sponsors, charity, etc.) regarding the player’s brand?
  • Which milestones need to be achieved for this?
  • How do these milestones have an impact on the player’s financial value?

A professional social media agency that is familiar with (i) data and statistics and (ii) the impact of social media on this data and statistics has answers to the aforementioned questions.

One must not forget that building a profile and brand in social media by the player needs time. It is also important the agency is given enough time to achieve this. Trust in the agency is therefore essential.

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