Roc Nation will work with Leeds on marketing that broadens the brand and increases commercial sales, the agency is also working with the club on promoting inclusion and cultural diversity.
Leeds United returned to the Premier League after a 16-year gap. Twitter @LUFC
London: Returning to the Premier League after a 16-year hiatus, Leeds are now assisted by the sports and entertainment marketing agency Jay-Z founded to develop the brand and global appeal of the English club to the north.
“Watching the team on the pitch – it’s extremely fun,” Michael Yormark, president of Roc Nation Sports International, told The Associated Press. “It’s great entertainment.”
While Leeds have collected just 10 points in their first eight games, there have been some thrilling performances – including in the opening weekend’s 4-3 defeat to defending champions Liverpool.
With the charismatic Marcelo Bielsa in charge, the team’s offensive intention helped them win neutrals with football style.
“It’s just a really fun team to watch whether they win or lose,” Yormark said. “They play very fast football and they are never out of the game because when you can score goals you can always come back.”
Roc Nation is working with Leeds to target in particular the expansion of the club’s profile in the United States and China, also drawing on memories of the team which won the English league in 1992 and reached the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2001.
“We have this generation that knows and remembers a lot of us,” Leeds director of football Victor Orta told the AP. “It is true that we have to have a new generation which I call the FIFA generation, because often we do not appear in the video game and now we are in the video game.
“I’m sure now the under-18s are starting to get to know us. And this is the generation we need to have, not only in England but outside England. This is our challenge, our goal.”
While Roc Nation will work with Leeds on marketing that broadens the brand and increases commercial sales, the agency is also working with the club on promoting inclusion and cultural diversity.
Ahead of Sunday’s home game against Arsenal, a mural was unveiled in Leeds featuring Kalvin Phillips, a childhood fan now on the squad, and two former stars of the South Africa squad. Albert Johanneson was the first black player to make an FA Cup final when Leeds played at Wembley in 1965 against Liverpool. Lucas Radebe was Leeds captain for nearly a decade at the club which ended in 2005 – a year after the team were relegated from the Premier League.
“Our connection with South Africa is really amazing,” Orta said.
Yormark was on the Elland Road pitch in July to see the second-tier Championship trophy harvested as Leeds secured promotion to the richest league in the world.
“Especially now during the COVID period, we all have to find hope somewhere,” said Yormark, an American who has lived in England for 13 months. “And in Leeds, they find hope through their football club.”
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