The England football team’s goalless draw against Costa Rica yesterday evening marked the end of a disappointing campaign for the national side. As English football fans mull over what went wrong and what should happen next, retailers and brands still need to focus on maximising the opportunity.
While England’s early departure is not great news for retail, there are reasons to remain optimistic.
First, Savvy’s research has suggested for some time that shoppers’ expectations of the national team were modest. While many had expected to qualify from the group stages, expectations were considerably behind those seen at the last World Cup. Hopefully this will limit potential for negative sentiment.
Second, the appeal of the World Cup goes beyond the national side. Football is an international game – particularly in England, home of the global brand that is the Premier League. Football fans continue to be attracted by the biggest stars in the game, and hopefully will see many more highlights of top-class skill in remaining matches.
Third, the finals have broader appeal. We know from the past that excitement builds as the finals approach. Many shoppers with a moderate interest in football will make the effort to tune into the biggest games in the competition – and hopefully spend a little extra on the drinks, snacks and other goodies that make a night in front of the TV or with friends a little more enjoyable.
Finally, it’s worth remembering that this is the first of a number of events this summer that shoppers are getting behind. Wimbledon is underway, the Tour de France starts in the UK next week and Glasgow hosts the Commonwealth Games in July. Crucially major sporting events continue to benefit from the halo set in place during the London Olympics, with many shoppers fearful that they’ll miss something special if they don’t tune in.
In conclusion, retailers – especially supermarkets and sports stores – still have a lot to play for this World Cup (though expect sales of England shirts and flags to slow a little!). In our analysis we see England’s early departure as more of an opportunity not gained rather than an opportunity lost.