Rangers marketing director James Bisgrove is widely heralded as a man who has helped pull the club’s commercial activities back on course – but he’s not done yet.
The ex-UEFA marketing professional has upped the Gers’ partner portfolio from 10 to 30 in the last 18 months and as a result is increasing commercial revenue into the club.
In a revealing interview with Off the Pitch, Bisgrove detailed the club’s achievements to date but also their ambitions for the future.
As the club enters the “final phase of its recovery period”, Bisgrove is targeting Rangers establishing themselves alongside European royalty like Ajax, Dortmund and FC Porto.
Bisgrove acknowledges that Rangers are “not there yet” but stresses that the club is “on the way back as one of the biggest clubs in Europe”, even with the financial hurdles it must overcome.
“Firstly, we have to acknowledge the variations in the broadcasting landscape and the very big differences in these revenues,” said Bisgrove.
“If you end bottom of the table in the English Premier League you will receive around €100 million. If you end up winning the Scottish Premier League you would receive around €4 million.
“I guess that tells a story about what we are up against, and it also tells us why qualifying to Champions League is so important for us due to the revenues we could receive.
“But we benchmark ourselves to the top European clubs. And, in the short term, I am not talking about Real Madrid and Barcelona, but perhaps the likes of Porto, Ajax and Dortmund.
“We are not there yet – but we are on the way back as one of the biggest clubs in Europe.”
As part of the club’s resurgence in modern football following a near-decade of financial difficulties, Bisgrove has also praised the work gone into Rangers’ international profile beyond British or even European borders.
Without having access to the broadcasting deals of down south, which not only offer more money but bring more exposure, Rangers have gotten creative over how they’ve increased their profile.
The club has started a range of academies across world football and announced link-ups with the likes of Indian Super League side Bengaluru and US club Orange County Soccer.
Bisgrove claims that there is tangible progress being made in the international regard, something which is evidenced by MyGers sign-ups across the world.
“We are pursuing this international strategy because we don’t have the automatic global profile like English Premier League clubs, who are being exposed to viewers all over the world several times every week due to the broadcast landscape,” explains Bisgrove.
“[These partnerships] give us a wider base and a platform to grow our wider commercial revenues.
“In the last 9 months, we have signed up nearly 30,000 MyGers members of Rangers around the world. And this is a paid membership that ranges from 15-50 pounds a year.
“Obviously, we have fans in the Middle East or in Australia because they have a Scottish connection, but we also see members signing up in new territories as we re-ignite our profile internationally.”
These are heady ambitions indeed as the Gers look to climb back to the top of the global game and become a force to be reckoned both on and off the pitch
The club are certainly on the right track, with a team of leading football analysts ranking the Gers impressively in their latest Euro Club Index.