Meet the woman behind Manchester City's slick image

Nuria Tarre, chief marketing officer for Manchester City FC, discusses the strategy behind the Abu Dhabi-owned superclub success story
Meet the woman behind Manchester City's slick image
Manchester City FC has been on a winning streak since Abu Dhabi United Group purchased it for £210 million in 2008. Manchester City's revenue was the fifth highest of a football club in the world in the 2017–18 season at £452 million. Photo by Clive BrunskillGetty Images
By Alicia Buller
Sun 07 Apr 2019 03:46 PM

As chief marketing officer (CMO) for City Football Group – the powerhouse behind Manchester City FC – Nuria Tarre has one of the biggest jobs in the beautiful game.

The club has been on a winning streak since Abu Dhabi United Group purchased it for £210 million in 2008. Manchester City's revenue was the fifth highest of a football club in the world in the 2017–18 season at £452 million.

“We have a global business in football,” Tarre said, speaking at the recent Advertising Week Europe event in London.

“Fandom is very similar across the globe. Football generates passion," she said.


Since her arrival to the City Football Group in 2015, Nuria Tarre has blazed a sports marketing trail.

As well as its flagship Manchester-based club, the City Football Group also owns parts of clubs in the US, Australia, Japan, Spain, Uruguay and China. The company's aim is to own a team on each continent, each with "City" in its name.

Tarre said it’s important to be ‘agile’ in sports marketing.  “You can’t influence the outcome of the game, so the buildup and momentum is important,” she said.

“But every big tournament has the opportunity to be a tipping point for Manchester City and we always want to see if we can capitalise on that attention.

"It’s easier when we win [to promote ourselves] than we lose, however, in business nothing is guaranteed, even when we win.”

Since her arrival to the City Football Group in 2015, Tarre has blazed a sports marketing trail.

It was Tarre who commissioned the groundbreaking ‘All Or Nothing’ Amazon Prime documentary, for which Manchester City was reportedly paid £10 million for no-holds-barred video access.

The documentary "showed the power of authenticity" when telling stories, said Tarre.

“It was intrusive and disruptive when it was done, the players forgot they were being filmed,” she said.

Female footie

Building on Manchester City’s legacy of supporting women’s football, the CMO is pushing for development in this area.

Manchester City’s women’s team was the first FA Women’s Championship team to make all its players full time professionals and has enjoyed great success over the last five years winning five trophies and securing a place in the UEFA Women’s Champions League for the last three seasons.

Currently the female Manchester City team only pulls in around 4,000 to 5,000 spectators for a women’s game, Tarre said.

“The future of football fans is women and I’m not saying this just because I’m a woman. There is an opportunity for growing the women’s game,” she said.

“In 2014 we launched the female team and 2016 we created a women’s academy. We need more brands and clubs doing this… we hope it will be infectious,” she added.

“There is truly an audience for women’s football because fans are looking for more, and looking for more content.”

Tarre said by combining the marketing of men’s and women’s football it’s possible to ‘elevate’ women’s football. “It’s all football,” she added.

The CMO recently relaunched the Manchester United app to offer more access to women’s football content.

“There is a huge opportunity for brands trail blaze and support the women’s game… brands have the opportunity to tell a different story that hasn’t been told before,” she said. “The development of women’s football is a journey and brands need to see it in the same way.”

Tarre’s growth strategy for Manchester City involves ramping up interest in men’s football in markets where the sport is growing; growing demand for women’s football; and growing the overall female audience for football.

“It’s still a journey of growth and building success. We have 125 years of history but our consistent success is recent. We are very good at keeping ourselves busy and coming up with new ideas,” she said.

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