In April 2018, Manchester City and Tinder announced what could be considered an groundbreaking partnership in the Premier League marketing sector.

As the online world expands and social media seemingly takes over, clubs are looking for more and more contemporarily innovative ideas to tap into a younger fanbase, thus expanding their ‘brand’ globally.

Internazionale’s TikTok exploits have proven particularly successful in this sector. Well, the Serie A giants are not the only ones thinking ahead when it comes to fan recruitment.

Even the term ‘fan recruitment’ is enough to make us older football supporters shiver at the concept of such an apparently shallow and superficial means of gaining followers. Yes, I said “followers”. They are the fans that clubs want to spread their name in the online world. More followers equate to more marketing sway in this day-and-age. Your father or grandfather who has been going to the games since the 1970s? Well, he’s not that important any more because he doesn’t have an online presence.

Manchester City, of course, is not the only club doing this. Needs must, therefore, to keep those revenue streams flowing, teams have to move with the times in order to remain relevant.

When City’s owners CFG announced the affiliation with Tinder, the hopes of both parties were clear from the quotes surrounding the occasion.

Speaking to Forbes, Tom Glick, Manchester City’s Chief Commercial Officer commented: “Tinder and Manchester City are an ideal fit, and this partnership is the perfect opportunity for us to interact with our respective communities. Tinder is one of the world leaders in engaging a diverse millennial audience and exceptional digital campaigns. As a Group and set of clubs which places great digital content at the heart of our fan engagement activities, Tinder is a natural fit for us.”

Clearly, the avenue to a young “millennial” following played a huge part in City’s decision to go ahead with such a deal. Another huge factor, as mentioned above, was Tinder’s ability to create fantastically interactive digital content which would help Manchester City’s fan engagement levels no end.

A perfect example of such brilliant digital content can be seen in the YouTube video created by Tinder including three Manchester City players – Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling and Benjamin Mendy.

The idea behind the video is that normal guy, Ben, is helped to prepare for his Tinder date by the three City players.

Sane works with Ben on his Tinder profile and online image. Sterling helps him to get suited and booted for the date, assisting with all things style-related. Then Mendy is the man who shows Ben some moves for the dancefloor.

David Wyler, Tinder’s Head of Partnerships, explained to Forbes that: “Tinder is the world’s leading app for bringing people together and sports are a huge part of people’s lifestyles around the world. We instantly recognised that we are two organisations that are well matched in terms of our culture, our outlook on the future and saw that this is a place where we can engage young fans around the world. We operate in over 190 countries and in more than 40 languages, so when we considered a sports partnership, it needed to have the same international footprint with fans all over the world.

“It was clear that City is committed to connecting with millennials around the world, and that is central to our mission at Tinder to stay relevant among this audience. We knew that City could deliver in all the ways that are important to our organization, and that is a huge benefit to both us and our users.”

City launched the multi-year Tinder deal by flying a giant sky-blue blimp over the Etihad Stadium last April. Tinder is to sponsor both the men’s and women’s teams at Manchester City along with their CFG sister club, New York City FC.

Tinder’s aim is to work with City’s teams to create ‘exciting and unique experiences for Tinder users and football fans’. Through the partnership, City supporters can gain exclusive access to games and fan activations.

It still remains to be seen how this deal will play out in the long run. However, in a marketing sector where innovation is key, keep your eyes peeled for further ideas from the Premier League’s top clubs as they try to stay ahead of the curve.

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