Soccer is pretty much the most followed sport on the planet, and it even is growing in popularity in the United States. Of all the teams in the world, Real Madrid are one of the few who have complete global appeal, and they are the biggest club. They make so much money from revenue as their products are available everywhere, but what makes them so popular? This is how Real Madrid became the biggest soccer club in the world.
Real Madrid were fortunate enough to be one of the best soccer teams as the world got more connected. They were dominating the Spanish league in the 1950s, and that is where they learned how powerful marketing could be. Suddenly the eyes of the world were on their television sets, and soccer was finding itself broadcast around the world.
Much like how the Boston Celtics are one of the best-known basketball franchises in the world, if you’re on top when the world begins to take notice, you get remembered. In the 1950s, Real Madrid started their reign at the top of Spanish soccer and were able to sustain that success thanks to revenue.
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Real were champions more often than not, and the gap between them and most other teams continued to grow.
A two-horse race
Throughout the history of La Liga, there have really only been two teams competing consistently, Real Madrid and Barcelona. Without their greatest rivals pushing them every step of the way, it’s likely soccer fans would have grown bored of La Liga.
Just look at Serie A in Italy, where Juventus dominate every season. The fact that Barcelona and Real Madrid push each other’s levels so high means the competition is always close. A league win for Real is another way for them to show the world how great they are.
Capturing the markets
Since 2000, when Florentino Perez became the president of the club, Real Madrid have had an aggressive marketing strategy. They find players who can come to their team from emerging soccer markets.
They brought David Beckham to the club in 2003 and instantly noticed a massive jump in their revenue. Beckham was a big player in the Asian market and Real knew they could bring him in to boost merchandise sales. They also implement a strategy where they take a large percentage of their player’s sponsorship deals.
For instance, when Beckham joined they earned €7 million ($7.9m) from sponsorships but after he was on their team, they were making €45 ($50.8m) million. That increased revenue allowed them to keep on buying more players at huge costs.
Another market Real have been able to tap into over the years is South America. Many of their greatest ever players have come from the continent, and because many speak Spanish there, La Liga is closely followed.
With Madrid’s dominance in Spain, South American players all dream of making it in La Liga, or playing for Real. That means some of the world’s best players grow up with a dream to play for Real and will do absolutely anything to make it happen.
European Cup and Champions League
Then there is the fact that Real Madrid have won the European Cup, now known as the Champions League, more than anybody. The competition is seen as the pinnacle in the sort by many, even more than the World Cup, and the fact Real win it so often means their fan base constantly grows.
They recently won the Champions League four times in five years, making sure nobody would ever forget them. Madrid have won it a total of 13 times, six times more than anyone else. They are seen as the biggest club in the world because they win the most important competitions the most often.
TV money rules
In modern soccer, money talks. Barcelona legend Johan Cruyff once said he never saw a bag of money score a goal, and while that’s true, the more money you have, the better your team is. There is plenty to be said for team spirit, but at the end of the day, the teams with the most money are the ones in place to maintain any success they have.
Real Madrid can negotiate their own TV deals from around the world, and that means they make serious cash. La Liga rules permit all clubs to negotiate their own TV deals, and at times Real have been able to earn as much as six times that of most others. That money can go straight into buying more players like Ronaldo, Kaka, Bale, Zidane, or Beckham.
Their global appeal means they keep on getting richer, and Spanish soccer is suffering a little because of it. In La Liga, the rich teams keep on getting richer while the poor ones keep on getting poorer. This disparity in revenue means teams like Real Madrid and Barcelona are always going to have the best playing rosters.
Real Madrid have grown in popularity as soccer became a global sport. They were able to bring success to their fans when soccer was emerging and have been cashing in on that ever since. Madrid has millions of fans all over the world, all ready and willing to buy more merchandise to support the team’s cause.