Paul Reynolds, MD EMEA and operations director at MassiveMusic, looks at the Premier League’s audio strategy

Harry Kane Tottenham football Premier League

It’s been thirty years since the Premier League launched - arguably the most exciting league in the world. It’s provided fans with some of the most emotive and recognisable moments in footballing history, far too many to start reeling off.

Football fans can immediately recall a favourite goal, controversial booking or career-ending foul. Ask them what the logo is and chances are a lion springs to mind. But if you ask a fan to recall the Premier League’s anthem, they might be a bit slower to respond, despite the fact it’s heard every time teams walk out at a fixture.

Leveraging the disruptor status

From its inception, The Premier League has behaved like all good challengers should - it’s experimented with styles and genres - from compositions to popular songs depending on the era. But, as it enters its third decade as an established and grown-up brand, is it time for it to settle on a sonic strategy that is rooted in its values and legacy, and stick with it?

As a music and sound agency that has worked extensively with brands in and out of the world of sport, including the Premier League, we’re continually asked to replicate ‘something like the Champions League anthem’ in briefs. It’s understandable - it’s one of the greatest rousing and recognisable sporting anthems ever created and emotionally engages both fans and players as they prepare to take on a game on the greatest stage.

But, what’s been refreshing to see is that the Premier League didn’t do this.

Instead it’s provided us with a really varied range of anthems to listen to over the years. From the licensing of Kasabian’s popular Fire to the electronic dance track which accompanied the 2004-07 seasons, as well as a sprinkling of the more traditional orchestral type pieces here and there. The league should be applauded for its bravery with regards to how it has had fun with its sonic identity over the years in its quest to find a sound which satisfies the plethora of stakeholders and challenges that a brand as all encompassing as the Premier League has to do.

The sound of legacy

The Premier League is a quintessentially English brand but is also the most watched sports league on any continent at any one time during the season. Its challenge over the past few years, as it’s become more globally lucrative, is to appeal to a truly global audience. Additionally, in an era of fragmented licensing, the league itself is now having to compete to be foremost in fans’ minds above an array of broadcasters who now have the rights to matches and who have their own sonic identities. It’s critical the Premier League has a sonic identity that uses the insights procured over the last thirty years of experimentation to ensure it’s sound resonates best with fans and stands out amongst the crowd.

Liverpool FC Premier League title winners

Capturing a cultural phenomenon in a sound

So how can the League achieve this? If the last thirty years of sonic experimentation have taught the Premier League anything, it should be that the anthems that resonate best with fans are those which are heavily focused on reflecting the values and cultural zeitgeist that is the Premier League. Values that were so emphatically defended in the enormous backlash that came in response to the announcement of the launch of the Super League. This passion from fans is the sort of sentiment that its sonic identity should seek to encapsulate. But must also make sure that this sound reflects the genuinely innovative and progressive cultural movement it represents.

This is similar to the challenge MassiveMusic faced when creating the sonic branding for the brand Philips, a brand with a huge number of touchpoints and a presence all over the world. They opted for a  sonic strategy to unify the brand experience and catered to all its users without it sounding generic. Together with the brand, we transformed its sonic identity across the board with a future-proof strategy, radically changing the brand recognition and helping to put consumers’ experience at the core of the business.

So what next for the Premier League? For all the twists and turns we see each year there is an opportunity for the Premier League to properly put down some deeper roots in its sonic brand - one that will encapsulate the emotion, drama, legacy and future, embedding in the hearts and ears of new generations of fans for years to come.

For example, how could it really use all its touchpoints more effectively with sound? How will new generations of football fans experience the game? How could the Premier League sound in the metaverse? There is a great opportunity for the Premier League’s next sonic identity to be an enduring celebration of the amazing impact that it has had and continues to have on our culture, which has far transcended the sidelines of any stadiums. I know I’m excited to see how the next thirty years pans out as we experience the ongoing excitement, anticipation, joy and heartbreak the Premier League offers across new platforms and experiences.


Paul Reynolds is MD EMEA and operations director at global music and sound creative agency MassiveMusic