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Behind Sky Sports' Premier League title sequence: How do you advertise a global brand?

Virgil van Dijk, Sky Sports Premier League
(Image credit: Sky)

There’s plenty that’s new every Premier League season - new clubs, new faces on the pitches and in the dugouts and new shirts and match balls for the players.

Even the broadcasters don’t stand still. Sky Sports refreshes its brand to reflect the Premier League coverage, with a slick new title sequence and theme song. It makes sense, of course, to show the most recent champions actually lifting the trophy - but ideas for the sequence are flying about way before then. 

“Our initial concepting process for the Premier League titles usually starts early in the year around January,” says Liam Proniewicz, Senior Designer at Sky Creative Agency. “Previous years had involved leveraging our close contacts with the Premier League to gain access to the players for bespoke shoots for example. This year that wasn’t going to be possible. And in any case, we had different intentions creatively this year than we have had in recent years.”

Sky have the largest in-house advertising and creative agency. Sky Creative Agency delivers an extensive and varied portfolio of work across all of Sky’s content advertising, promotion, brand design and trading campaigns. Liam’s worked on rebranding Sky Sports to designing key art and delivering campaigns for Sky’s commissions productions. 

Sky Creative Agency has been responsible for everything from rebranding Sky Sports to designing key art and delivering campaigns for Sky’s Original Productions, among many other things.

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It’s a big team and one of the most important jobs is working out who actually stars in the new sequence. The likes of Marcus Rashford, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Virgil van Dijk are all front and centre for the sequence - which has more consideration go into it than first meets the eye.

“There are lengthy discussions between creatives and other stakeholders across the business about who we believe will be best suited to the sequence,” Liam says. “These reasons can span from who we believe is currently the best and most liked representative of a club, who is currently showing the best form, who represents a wider conversation on international level for example, or who simply can give us the best-suited shot aesthetically for our sequence.”

Premier League

(Image credit: Sky)

“Diversity is always at the forefront of the conversation. There is a huge wealth of diverse talent in the Premier League and it is absolutely critical that anything we produce represents that. We were also careful to ensure that all 20 teams were represented.” 

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The big influence for this year’s sequence was what Sky believed the viewers wanted to see. While Liam says that the aim was to remain fresh and current, Sky does have a legacy as the greatest and longest-running Premier League broadcaster. Nostalgia was something that the team tapped into with the ticker-tape style that Sky used to use - just as the likes of Nike and Adidas have updated old styles of kits, boots and balls. 

In creating this more photo-real style - in comparison to the last couple of years’ infographic-inspired titles - Sky have created a goosebump-inducing moment for Liverpool fans, featuring the liver bird. 

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“We are well aware of how much our viewers loved the gold ticker-tape sequence form years ago, and wanted to put a fresh spin on this,” Liam explains. “We wanted to tap into the glory of what it means to win the Premier League [and] we wanted a grand finish, a crescendo of tape and pyros that really celebrated the winner.”

“We feel the Liver bird scene at the end does that for the current champions. We paid particular attention to how we then attributed that Liver bird moment to the trophy ribbons on our final resolve shot. This is the reason for the reflection of the bird in the body of the trophy as it rolls back into place.”

Liverpool

(Image credit: Sky)

It’s a subtle moment that perhaps you might not have seen the first time - so what else haven’t fans noticed from the sequence? 

“Something our viewers might not have yet picked up on, is our attribution of gold ticker tape throughout the sequence,” Liam reveals. “Gold tape features on every team that have previously won the League, previously worn that gold Premier League crown, so to speak.”

“This is our reason for first establishing its connection with the Premier League logo at the beginning and the reason it wipes in over the shoulder of the current crowned manager, Jurgen Klopp. You’ll notice it as a subtle thread throughout the sequence until it finally comes to rest around the Premier League trophy resolve.”

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