Real Madrid Football Club is today the richest sport team in the world and the third most valuable sport brand, according to the latest rankings (e.g., Deloitte, 2010; Forbes 2009). This scholarly commentary proposes the application of a relationship management model of building long-lasting relationships with fans as the main key of Real Madrid’s success. Results of this study highlight that, under the presidency of Florentino Pérez, a public relations approach has been integrated into every strategic decision including the recruitment of players with media appeal; the use of event planning, Internet, social media, promotional tours, and publications; and the display of Real Madrid’s own audiovisual media. The adoption of this model has proven successful despite poor sports results.
The author is with the Dept. of Communication, Central Washington University, Ellensburg, WA.