Football is a popular sport all around the world, but over the past few years, one name - that isn't usually in the media has been going viral.
So, how has the third oldest club in the world overcome financial trouble and become one of the most recognised - former, non-league teams in the world?
One simple answer. Marketing.
Wrexham FC: From liquidation to promotion in 3 Years ... But how?
Ryan Reynolds, best known for roles in films such as Deadpool and The Proposal, and his business partner Rob McElhenney, most known for his work on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, made news in early 2021 when they purchased the Welsh football team Wrexham AFC.
Before being purchased by Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney in 2021, Wrexham AFC was in financial turmoil and faced collapse.
The club had been in financial trouble for some time, and it was announced in late 2020 that they were facing a winding-up order from HM Revenue and Customs due to unpaid taxes.
The Wrexham Supporters Trust, which controlled the club at the time, agreed to sell it to Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney in order to avoid liquidation.
The actors reportedly paid roughly £2 million to the club and agreed to pay off its debts, totalling millions of pounds. The deal was viewed as a lifeline for the club, which had previously faced an unclear future.
In this blog post, we will explore how SEO can be used in football to help clubs, players, and fans reach a wider audience, increase their online presence, and ultimately achieve greater success both on and off the pitch.
Whether you're a die-hard fan, a marketing professional, or just curious about how SEO works, keep reading to discover how SEO and football can work hand in hand.
The transformation of Wrexham AFC
How Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney are revitalising a club's future?
Since taking over the club, the pair wasted no time, quickly introducing strategies to modernise and strengthen the organisation.
One of the first changes the duo implemented was a new recruitment process for the club's staff. Reynolds and McElhenney aimed to create more professional work in order to recruit top personnel by hiring a new CEO and establishing new regulations and procedures.
They also formed a new advisory group comprised of industry professionals and former football players to provide insight and advice on major choices.
They allegedly spent millions of pounds on stadium renovations, such as refurbishing the pitch, installing new floodlights and sound systems, and rebuilding the stands. They also invested in the club's training facilities and equipment to create a better experience for both players and staff.
They have already made substantial improvements to the club's structure and infrastructure, and their commitment to community participation expresses that they are interested in creating a lasting legacy that will help the entire community as well as make the club successful on the pitch.
So, how have the pair helped the community as well?
Reynolds and McElhenney's commitment to interacting with fans and the community is one of the most exciting things they have introduced to the club. They are committed to involving locals in the club's operations and expanding chances for community involvement.
To do so, they've created a new programme called "Project Comeback," which attempts to help local companies recover from the COVID-19 pandemic by providing assistance and marketing them to Wrexham fans.
Local businesses have also been praising the impact the show has had. Welcome to Wrexham follows Rob and Ryan as they take over the club in a bid to transform it. One source told the Mirror how a fan last week landed in Heathrow and got a taxi almost 200 miles to visit the pub and the National League club.
"The pub gets an average of 20 to 30 overseas tourists every day. We had around 50 to 60 Australians in the pub this week. We’ve had over 1,000 Americans in the last eight weeks." Wayne Jones, 40, who runs the Turf Hotel, with his wife Shelley, 39.
Facts Tell, But Stories Sell...
As a marketer, you can never undervalue the power of storytelling, and what better way of telling the story of the Wrexham FC buyout than through a Disney+ series with a global audience.
On the 24th of August 2022, the TV series “Welcome to Wrexham” was released on Disney+, an obvious choice considering this is currently the streaming giant to beat.
The Disney+ documentary "Welcome to Wrexham", which follows Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney's journey to becoming owners of Wrexham AFC, further boosted interest in the beautiful game.
Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney's hit series about Wrexham AFC has raked in almost £4 million. Insiders claim that makers Disney have made a profit of £430,000 per episode since it launched on the streaming platform last year.
If we compare this with their rival, Netflix, who are losing subscribers at a consistent rate, Reynolds made the very smart marketing decision to go with the platform that is investing in creating new and organic content that users actually want to see.
Another brilliant marketing strategy implemented by the owners was the appointment of former England and Manchester United goalkeeper Ben Forster.
Foster's willingness to come out of retirement and join the National League side last month was rewarded spectacularly on April 10th when his injury-time penalty save sealed a 3-2 victory against title rivals Notts County.
Foster, who turned 40 at the beginning of the month, turned down numerous offers to return to the game after Watford's relegation from the Premier League last season. It's safe to say he's come out of retirement due to the club's popularity and to help with his own YouTube channel, The Cycling GK.
Ultimately the appointment of Ben Foster was a great marketing tactic which has helped the club on and off the pitch, as well as creating memorable moments for the fans and viral clips for the club!
Source: Sky Sports
How has social promotion played a role in Wrexham FC's promotion?
We often tell our clients not to underestimate the power of influence from other marketing channels when it comes to their SEO efforts, and this is made evident from the growth of the wrexhamafc.co.uk domain.
As we know, Reynolds and McElhenney bought the club in 2021, and having someone as
well-known as Ryan Reynolds backing the club brought more digital attention to Wrexham.
You can see this from the infographic below, which shows that Wrexham FC’s organic traffic increased from 78,000 to upwards of 1 million in just 2 years
... that is a 1310.26% increase in the UK alone!
Most remarkably, Wrexham FC has attracted a whole new demographic in the United States with an impressive jump from 16,000 people organically visiting the site in 2021 to 566,000 in March 2023.
Overall, since the third-oldest football club in the world was purchased by the two Hollywood superstars in 2021, the club has gained international recognition and new fans all around the world.
How Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney put Wrexham on the map through the power of social media
Over the past month, the social media presence of the football club has seen impressive growth.
Through a variety of engaging content, such as behind-the-scenes footage, match highlights, and fan interactions, the club has been able to attract a significant number of new followers across all major social media platforms.
This growth has not only increased the club's visibility and brand awareness but also provided an opportunity for the club to connect with its fans and build a stronger sense of community.
On the 5th of April, Wrexham AFC had 405,000 followers on Twitter, 533,000 on Instagram, 174,000 on Facebook and 828,000 followers on its most popular social media account, Tiktok.
At the time of writing this article, Wrexham AFC has 495,300 followers on Twitter, 763,000 on Instagram, 217,000 on Facebook and 1,100,000 followers on its most popular social media account, Tiktok.
Within a month Wrexham FC's social media channels has gained over 635,300 followers.
It will be exciting to see how their ownership of the club develops in the coming years.