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New Media Scores Big Returns for El Clásico Sponsors

3 minute read | April 2017

Spain’s two largest cities have long had one of the fiercest sports rivalries in history. Since before fans had radio, television, computers and mobile phones to follow every game, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona have battled it out on the field, earning the phrase El Clásico for any match they play. Today, El Clásico is consumed on smartphones, tablets, computers and televisions in more than 90 countries around the world, allowing the teams’ rivalry—and value—to grow.

With all the attention these matchups earn, the stakes for brands sponsoring a game are high. The last match Real Madrid and FC Barcelona played against each other in La Liga generated more than $42.5 million in media value for sponsors across platforms and screens.

Through a unified approach to media valuation, which considers all media platforms where brands and rights owners derive value, Nielsen Sports is able to accurately measure and analyze sponsorship and branded content exposure across any sport in any market. To better understand the potential returns from the upcoming El Clásico, we dove deeper into the total media value from the last match.

While many sports fans love to tune in live so they don’t miss a second, just under half of the total sponsorship media value from the La Liga game came from the live TV broadcast (43%, or $18.5 million). Other devices are also playing a big role in how these fans connect with the game, highlighting why sponsors need a multiplatform view of their media returns. Social media, for example, delivered the same amount of media value ($5.1 million) as Spain’s TV News coverage of the match.

“When we measure social media value in context, we can see with accuracy its growing worth. In today’s fragmented media market, brands and rights owners are grappling to understand the value of their partnerships, and El Clásico offers the perfect example of why unified measurement is so important,” said Max Barnett, Head of Digital for Nielsen Sports.

“The analysis also highlights the importance of social media for an away team as a tool to generate value for partners when there is no possibility for exposure through traditional in-stadium advertising inventory,” Barnett continued.

As the home team for the last El Clásico, FC Barcelona generated 87% ($37.4 million) of the game’s total media value, with partner brands appearing throughout Camp Nou stadium. Comparatively, 13% ($5.1 million) was generated for Real Madrid CF’s partners.

For the away team, social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube) accounted for almost half (41%) of all Real Madrid CF’s total media value from the last El Clásico, generating $1.7 million for sponsors. For the home team, the most valuable social media post on FC Barcelona’s Facebook Live page was watched by over 4.3 million viewers and generated over $186,000 for sponsoring brands.

“Video was a key driver of social media value for this match,” said Barnett. “Over 64% of media value came from video, which compares to European football’s average of 44% from this season to date. Facebook Live was also leveraged extremely effectively in the build-up, during and after this match, driving 27 million views from over five hours of content broadcast by the two teams.”

FC Barcelona’s Director of Digital, Russell Stopford, noted: “Being able to see the value our content provides fans and partners is essential to FC Barcelona, and social media is a key part of that. Understanding what that value is and, importantly, which media channels it comes from is also vital and becoming more and more important for us as our global reach continues to grow.”

Real Madrid will host FC Barcelona for the next El Clásico at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium on April 23.


  • All dedicated (Live TV broadcast, repeats and delayed broadcasts) and non-dedicated (sports panel shows and TV highlights packages) data comes from Nielsen Sports’ Football24 (monitoring more than 200 international markets).
  • TV News coverage, Online and Print coverage also comes from Nielsen Sports’ Football24 monitored in Spain.
  • Social Media data provided by Social24: Dec. 1-4 2016.

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