Top Teams in Euro 2012 Group Stage. Media Views in Germany, Britain, Italy

We propose a new analysis about media impact of football Euro 2012, after our series about individual matches analysis (see some posts below, or click in ‘Categories’ section, under ‘Euro 2012’).

Now we conduct the analysis of the media coverage given to this sporting event since its start by 8 June 2012, till the end of the Group stage, by 20 June 2012.

For those not familiar with this sport event, UEFA Euro 2012 is the major football (soccer) event in Europe at national team level. It takes place every four years, and it takes place now as final tournament, in Poland and Ukraine.

There are 16 teams playing in this final tournament in Poland and Ukraine. There is a group stage each one with four teams. Two of them classify for the knock-out stages (quater, semis and final).

The teams qualified for the knock-out stage are:

Group A: Czech Republic, Greece.

Group B: Germany, Portugal.

Group C: Spain, Italy.

Group D: England, France.

Powerful football teams eliminated: Netherlands, Sweden, Russia, Croatia, and local teams Poland and Ukraine.

Sport mega events and place branding

The event receives massive media attention in Europe, and some broadcasting and media coverage outside Europe in countries with strong football tradition and fan base.

Organizing and hosting sport mega events plays a major role as city and country branding and rebranding tool. This is particularly the case for places with rather low international visibility or a poor brand profile: mega events can create a lasting positive effect in city and country brand… if things evolve correctly. Bad news during mega events can reach the status of afwul devastating news for the brand equity of organizing places.

We observed one of such incidents during this Euro 2012 that become a nightmare for country organizers and PR team: highly rival countries Poland and Russia played a decissive match, the day of Russia Day, to be played in Warsaw. Introduction went directly to natural conclusion: there were a number of violent clashes between hoolingans from both parties just beneath the stadium, with the presence of international press.

We proposed a flash media impact measurement of the clashes, that you can access here: Image Impact for Poland of Clashes Between Polish and Russian Fans. This was bad news for Poland branding.

The other cases that we have explored in this blog about Euro 2012 are the identification of top stars of a singular match based in the post game analysis of the images shown by the newspapers about the game. In some cases we have also proceed into a pre-game media coverage. As said, if interested, you can access the analysis of a particular team by chosing it in the ‘Euro 2012’ chapter of the ‘Categories’ section.

Now we study how the initial Group stage has been ‘viewed’ by the media in different countries.

We have conducted the analysis using the same approach applied in all previous cases about Euro 2012: through image content analysis of photos of news about the Euro 2012.

We count with a number of relevant items concerning media coverage given in each country, like the extent of images about violence and protests, the presence of official logos and sponsors, or images about fans, stadia and city views. We will eventually show the results about these elements in a future post in this blog.

Here in this post we restrict the analysis to the media coverage given in each country to each one of the 16 competing teams, in news published by local media during the initial group stage, between 8 and 20 June 2012.

Media coverage and sport business

We have monitored media coverage given in three big countries in Europe in terms of population, economic power and football fan base and tradition: Germany, Britain and Italy. Teams from all these three countries compete in the tournament, and all three have qualified for the knock-out stage of the competition.

We have shown in a previous post that our research center, MRI Universidad de Navarra publishes an annual report about media value in football, based basically in the same approach shown here: rankings are based in media coverage received by football players and teams during the season.

This is the post concerning the basic results about season 2011/12.

Football Media Value Report 2012

The figure below shows the list of top 10 football players 2012. Seven of them are currenly playing at UEFA Euro 2012.

As explained in that post, rankings about media value in sports are not just a matter of curiosity. It provides a relevant information in sport business, as media value of players and teams is the best tool to predict their commercial power.

In this sense, the media coverage that football players are receiving thanks to their sport performance and the success of their team has also direct implications in footballers’ media value, that stay after the competition ends.

As explained in the mentioned post about Football media value report, we find that in the last four seasons, top football player by media value according to MRI Universidad de Navarra eventually received afterwards the FIFA Ballon d’Or. Argentinian star Messi (FC Barcelona) is the most valuable player of the season. But number two is Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid). The Portuguese star is receiving tremendous media exposure thanks to his decissive contribution to team success. Added media value by Cristiano Ronaldo could have a crucial influence in changing the trend observed these last four seasons and be awarded as top footballer of the year.

Thus, media coverage analysis of Euro 2012 provides information relevant not only for football fans, but again for professionals and people interested in sport business.

Local media coverage

What is the expected media behaviour in a country concerning the coverage of a sport event where your national team is taking part? Of course, we expect a strong bias towards the local team, and eventually also towards direct rivals of the local team.

Finding this result will then not be a surprise, nor a very relevant result. But again, as always, things become more interesting and useful if we are interested in knowing the ‘how much’ about this bias: how much media attention takes the local team in the news and how much space is left to the other 15 teams? And, excluding media coverage provided to local team, which teams are most followed by the media in the different countries? Do all countries follow a common path? Finally, what is the picture emerging from the sum of individual biased views?

Let’s go for empirical answers based in the analysis of the case Euro 2012 for media in Germany, Britain and Italy.

Euro 2012 media coverage in Germany

We show first results about media coverage in Germany.

We present in the figure below the media coverage given to all 16 participating teams by German press. Values refer to the percentual share of the total media attention received by each team.

We have the first answer concerning the extent of media bias towards local team, applied to Germany: German team is the reference of one third of all images about the Euro 2012. This is more than three times than media coverage given to the secong team in the list. This is Spain, with 10% of all images. Among top 5 teams we find two rivals in Group B: Netherlands and Denmark. There was apparently less media attention to Portugal, the other team in Group B. We also find 6 teams qualified for next round among top 9 teams by media impact in Germany.

Media coverage in Britain

We move now to the analysis of media coverage given by British media.

There is almost exactly the same pattern in terms of media bias in Britain: media attention to local team reaches some one third of all photos included in news about the Euro 2012 by British media.

As for the teams behind, we find also here that the main reference is Spanish team, the current title holder and one of the leading favorites to win the championship. Quite surprisingly, we do not find a substantial increase of media exposure of England rival teams (France, 6th; Sweden and Ukraine, 14th and 15th). Media attention is focussed in top traditional football teams: Spain, Italy, France, Netherlands, Germany.

Media coverage in Italy

Our third case is news coverage in Italy.

Same story, once again. Bias towards local team is translated into a media coverage of slighly more than one third of total media coverage. Rival team Spain takes again leading positions, but the second place is taken by England. Portugal takes a privileged position in comparison with media in other countries. Almost all attention is focussed in Portuguese mega star Cristiano Ronaldo. Team rivals (Ireland, Croatia) receive a higher media exposure in Italy than in the other countries.

Comparative media coverage

We have observed some commonalities among the three cases selected. They can emerge more easily if we merge the three figures in one, as shown in the figure below.

We confirm the presence of an almost same image in terms of covering the local team. In all three countries media choose Spain as the leading reference. We find more variability concerning media coverage given to other teams. For instance, we find that Italy provides smaller media attention to Netherlands than in the other countries. France and Portugal are underrepresented in German press.

Among teams that reached the final eight teams, we find low media attention towards Czech Republic and Portugal. They meet together in quarter finals.

Combined media impact Euro 2012 Group stage

Now, the next step is to derive the combined result emerging from media coverage given in all three countries. Results are established by a simple average of the individual results, excluding media coverage given to local teams.

Results are purely illustrative and do no reflect a systematic and true ranking of media impact of teams. We have chosen just news from three countries. Even if they are big markets, the representativeness of the results requires to include Spain, Netherlands and eventually some other countries.

But the results we show below reach the goal we are looking for. They show a non representative but informative ranking about global media coverage received by each one of the 16 participating teams.

We find that the top ranked country in this fist stage of the competition is Spain, followed by England and France. Quite surprisingly, we find low valuations for the German team (just seventh position), even if they are the unique team obtaining three wins and being considered one of the favorite teams of the competition. We find that seven qualified teams appear among top eight teams by global media impact. This confirm as always in all our analysis the direct relationship between sport performance and media impact. This is also why media impact leads to commercial power.

The other conclusion behind the results of this ranking is that we confirm once more this so surprising and appealing result relying in our analysis of sport media value: national media coverage is always strongly biased towards local readers’ interests. But the sum of all strongly biased views, by adding news coverage from different countries, creates an emerging picture which progressively eliminates biases. The elimination of bias can be measured by the increase of the relationship between global media impact and sport performance, as this link is lower at national level.

This is also telling us that the calculation of rankings of media impact about brands that are global, like sport brands, requires taking measurements from all over the world; otherwise, result will be strongly biased and irrelevant. This is what we do in our reports and rankings about media value of football teams and athletes.

(more content coming)