Ron Gordon vision realised as new Scottish Football Marketing group driven by late Hibs chairman set to 'revolutionise' game

Late Hibernian chairman Ron Gordon has been hailed as the driving force for a new commercial organisation which aims to put narrow interests aside and “revolutionise” the promotion of Scottish football for universal gain.

The creation of Scottish Football Marketing has been announced by the Scottish Football Association, Scottish Professional Football League and Scottish Women’s Premier League.

The three organisations described the new venture as a “centralised commercial hub to revolutionise the promotion and marketing of the national game in Scotland” and harness a “compelling and unified brand”.

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The move was one of the key pillars of the SPFL’s strategic review which was driven by Gordon, who died last month, and involved Aberdeen, Celtic, Hearts and Rangers.

The late Hibs chairman Ron Gordon was a driving force behind the new Scottish Football Marketing group. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)The late Hibs chairman Ron Gordon was a driving force behind the new Scottish Football Marketing group. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)
The late Hibs chairman Ron Gordon was a driving force behind the new Scottish Football Marketing group. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

The report, undertaken by Deloitte, set a target of raising the money distributed to clubs to £50million. The 42 clubs last season received a combined total of £29.7million.

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: “Ron was a big believer that by working together Scottish football could be much more than just the sum of its parts.

“He did bring a real freshness, I think to the whole of Scottish football. He saw the value from his background in the States and the franchise-driven model for the whole of the game coming together for the mutual benefit.

“The MLS has Soccer United Marketing, and this isn’t a wholly dissimilar concept. This is about employing some really top-line commercial people to drive the commercials of the game for everyone.

“One of the things Ron should be renowned for is his desire to always look at the bigger picture.

“As we know in Scottish football there has been a number of folk over the years who have perhaps allowed narrow club interests to get in the way of what might benefit the whole of the game.

“That was never the case with Ron, he was absolutely focused on doing what was best for the game as a whole and this announcement is the best manifestation of that.

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“When we brought the SWPL into the SPFL stable, that sort of co-operation a few years ago would have been relatively astonishing. But the creation of the SWPL last season barely raised a ripple of surprise and that’s perhaps a measure of the way the game is pulling together.”

When asked what Scottish football’s key selling point is, Doncaster said: “It’s madness. There is passion, drama and excitement at every turn.

“By working together we can tell those stories more effectively, we can engage particularly with younger audiences and work with partners who want to be part of that fantastic experience.”

Answering the same question, SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell said: “It’s definitely mad. It’s consumed at a level that would be unrivalled anywhere across Europe.

“We launched a commemorative kit for our 150th (anniversary) which isn’t on sale yet and it has had over 5 million views on social media That’s everybody in the country looking at a football strip.”

Maxwell believes the new organisation can help the game reach new audiences.

“The world is changing at an incredible rate,” the former St Mirren player said. “It wouldn’t have been that long ago that nobody would have thought of a Netflix coming along and doing an ‘All or Nothing’ or ‘Drive to Survive’, or ‘Full Swing’, and all those series that are hugely entertaining and brought in new fans.

“I have never watched an F1 race in my life but I am now on the last series of Drive to Survive and really enjoying it. When you think about TikTok sponsoring Wrexham, esports, the landscape is changing so quickly that we need to make sure we are right at the forefront and understanding what the opportunities are, and a team of highly-skilled individuals will give us the best chance to do that.”

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Fiona McIntyre, the SWPL’s managing director, added: “We are a relatively new organisation and I have seen first hand the benefits of us all working collaboratively.

“It puts us on the front foot. We have been pretty brave and bold already making the decision that the SWPL should sit under the SPFL. There’s a lot of bigger nations that haven’t got to that point yet.

“That has given us a real strong platform to go to market and look at different opportunities.”

A recruitment process has begun to find a commercial director for the new body.



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