Fabrizio Romano: the prophet of the football market
In part, his growing influence — he’s added five million social media followers in the past 18 months alone — can be attributed to his work ethic. When Romano isn’t submitting transfer stories to The Guardian or Sky Sport, he’s uploading them to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube, or he’s talking about them on his podcast or Twitch channel or in his latest role, accepted the year last, with CBS Sports. He discusses it with one of the club-specific podcasts he finds time to grace with his presence as a guest, or responds to his subscribers directly on social media. We are also talking about a book. During the transfer window, he says, he does not go to bed regularly until 5 a.m.
Whether it’s dedication to his craft or devotion to his brand, or neither – Romano has puppy delight talking about his passion – it worked. Often now the scope of the clubs and player actually involved in a given transfer is dwarfed by that of the person reporting it.
The fine line
Last summer, as Spanish side Valencia struck a deal to sign Marcos André, a Brazilian striker who had spent the previous season playing for La Liga rivals Real Valladolid, the club’s marketing and communications arm , VCF Media, was tasked with finding an unexpected and impactful way to announce it.
A transfer, after all, is a chance for a club to grab some attention, win some eyeballs and maybe win some new fans in what is now a global battle for commitment. Valencia not only compete with domestic rivals like Villarreal or Sevilla for this audience, but also with teams from Italy, Germany and England.
The problem, as far as the club could tell, was that there was nothing new in the club’s interest in signing Marcos André. There had been a series of stories hinting at the move for weeks. To reach the widest possible audience with their confirmation, VCF Media decided to do something a little different.
Once the deal paperwork was completed and the player passed his medical, the club contacted Romano and, with the blessing of Borja Couce, Marcos André’s agent, asked him if he would like to be part of the announcement. He agreed and filmed a short video to tease the affair. It ended, of course, with his slogan.