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Dissecting the Short-Lived European Super League’s Biggest PR Mistakes

By Matt Schwartz and Conor Febos

Even if you know nothing about the sport of soccer, PR professionals around the world can most likely learn from the incredibly huge mistakes made by 12 European club teams this past spring. After making international headlines for all the wrong reasons, what can communicators learn from the European Super League debacle? Check out this article by Access’s Conor Febos and Matt Schwartz at to find out.

Soccer is religion for tens of millions of fans globally, many of whom are hyper-aware of even the most minute roster moves, rumors and news tidbits that churn on a daily basis. So it should come as no surprise that when 12 European club teams announced what amounted to a planned tectonic shift in the sport’s landscape, the fan blowback was violently swift and loud — resulting in an instant PR case study that, while specific to sports, resonates industry-wide.

In the immediate aftermath, fans worldwide staged protests, member clubs issued apologies, a number of their executives were forced to resign and The Super League collapsed, leaving years of planning, coordination and goodwill in a heap of rubble.

On April 18, leaders from 12 of Europe’s most prestigious clubs announced the formation of The Super League, a brand new global soccer competition that would “provide higher-quality matches” and “significantly greater economic growth” for European soccer. The catch was that The Super League would upend one of the key pieces of the global soccer order by seeking to supercede the UEFA Champions League – a widely-beloved and venerated European soccer competition that brings together top teams from across the continent, and has been an annual fixture on the soccer calendar since 1955.

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