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Football is not enough... why Wolves are looking to follow in the footsteps of Red Bull

Wolves will explore projects in motor racing, music and fashion as they look to follow the Red Bull model and boost their global brand.

Football is not enough... why Wolves are looking to follow in the footsteps of Red Bull

Chairman Jeff Shi has claimed marketing the club on the back of football alone is “not enough” if they want to match the revenues of the Premier League’s elite.

During an Ask Wolves Q&A session posted on the Wolves official website, general manager of marketing and commercial growth Russell Jones compared the club’s vision to that of Red Bull.

The energy drink company owns two Formula One motor racing teams and several football clubs including RB Leipzig and RB Salzburg.

Jones explained: “We think of ourselves probably more of the Red Bull model than we do as a traditional football club.

“If you asked someone 20 years ago what Red Bull were, they would have told you a caffeinated drink that gives you wings.

“They’re now a three billion dollar sports and entertainment business with verticals in motor racing, extreme sports, a record label, a gaming company and that’s our vision.

“Our vision is to take Wolves global and build a brand and a fanbase and, off the back of it, a commercial revenue that can then support our football club to really push on.

“For us, it’s not just about necessarily a football club, because I think if we only focused on us being a football club, then it’s going to be really hard to start to drive these revenues that these other clubs do.

“So we’re now starting to develop our esports projects, we are starting to develop projects in motor racing, music, fashion, and so on.”

The club’s management board insist those projects will not distract away from the primary goal of building a strong team on the pitch. Instead, they are aimed at giving Wolves the edge over rivals also looking to break into the top flight’s elite.

Last year Wolves entered into a partnership with Gulf Racing which saw their Porsche car kitted out in club branding for a virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans race.

Together with the University of Wolverhampton, the club also has an esports team which competes in tournaments around the world. A high end fashion range was, meanwhile, launched in Shanghai to coincide with the 2019 opening of a Wolves megastore in the Chinese city.

Wolves have seen their commercial revenues rise to around £25million-a-year under Fosun’s ownership. Yet it is still dwarfed by the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham.

Shi said: “You have to get attention from the world. Revenue and profit will come after that, but to do something important you have to make the people around the world know you, be aware of you.

“Only by Premier League football is not enough; you have to promote Wolves as a brand across the world.

“People can have many other chances to know you. If they start to know you, then you have a chance to get more revenue or to get a bigger fanbase.

“Now we’re at the first stage: we’re trying to get awareness from around the world. I think it’s night and day compared with five years ago.

“Five years ago, in China, there were maybe 100 fans. They knew Wolves maybe from some games, some mobile games.

“They knew Wolves, but they’d never heard of Wolves really. But now it’s night and day. So we will keep doing this.

“In my view, it’s very important to find a way to let the people around the world know you – not only football fans, all people should find a way to know you. That is our job.”

Jones added: “We know we are in a competitive peer group, so when we go to market for partnerships, we’re going to be talking to the same types of companies as Everton, West Ham etc.

“From our perspective, to be able to tell different stories, that when you partner with Wolves, you can actually now partner with a motor-racing team, you can partner with esports, you can partner with this, you can partner with that, it’s a really exciting proposition and it’s very, very different to every other club.”

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