Personal experience
Gambling on
the cotton field
Sleepless nights, emotions and speed: the experience of reviving the Pakhtakor
press service.

In 2018 we did an interesting job 一 reorganizing the press service of the Uzbek soccer club Pakhtakor.


Spoiler: we did the task so well that after 3 years the club continues to work according to our molds. And we were also able to promote the club's social media exclusively through organic outreach.


How we worked and what we did 一 read below.


BACKGROUND.


In 2017, the club changed owners. They wanted to make radical changes in everything 一 this also affected the work of the press office. It was functioning, but there was a need to improve the quality of its work. The club needed new fans and for this - interesting content and progressive match coverage.


PR-manager Marat Aksanov, art director Sergei Zabaluev and press attache Bekhzod Nazarov teamed up to reform Pakhtakor's PR service and bring its work up to world standards.

Art Director - Sergey Zabaluev

PR-manager - Marat Aksanov

PREPARATION AND WORK PROCESS.


The work started with preparation of the strategy, because at that time there was no one to compare it with in Uzbekistan.


We started to work closely with different soccer clubs, Krasnodar being one of them. We discussed approaches and shared experiences in photojournalism and art direction. In addition, we studied the work and experience of the press offices of other soccer clubs from the CIS countries and the European Union.


The changes had to concern:


  • text style;
  • content;
  • the format of the feed.

The guideline we created was the basis for the start of the renewal of the club's visual image.


On the basis of it we developed:


  • Own presets of photos processing with adaptation to different coverage of soccer fields.
  • More than 20 variants of post templates for social networks.
  • Styling of billboards and scoreboards.
  • New layout for match programs, booklets and brochures.
  • Design for club vehicles.
  • Identity.



We created an expanded logo of the club - with the inscription "Pakhtakor Football Club" in Helvetica font.

Expanded logo

HOW CONTENT WAS CREATED.

Instagram page (the social network is banned in Russia)

First we created a visual image, and then we started working directly on the field. This part of the work was the hardest - we set ourselves strict time limits in order to increase the amount of quality content and cover the matches in full.

We were able to bring the speed of the press office to a whole new level. Now it took us 15 minutes to write short reports from the field. Of course, all content was written in three languages: Russian, Uzbek, and English. In addition to the main material, we published storizm with the arrival of the team to the stadium, from the locker room before and after the match, trying to convey to the fans the players' emotions that do not get caught by TV cameras. We shot live broadcasts on social networks on a regular basis. And after the match we went back to the footage, processed it, wrote press releases and prepared interviews. On average we shot about 3,000 shots per game!


On match day, the press service started work early in the morning and finished well past midnight.


The pre-match preparation of the press service reached a whole new level. The week before the game and right before it, we started to prepare a huge amount of content:


  • interviews with the team,
  • interview with one of the players,
  • interviews with the head coach and his staff,
  • statistics of past matches,
  • material about the internal life of the club,
  • material about the academy of the soccer club,
  • material about futsal and youth team matches,
  • material about training of the main team,
  • video from trainings.

It is worth noting that we began to pay close attention to photos with the emotions of players and coaching staff. Showing their fighting spirit close-up and communication with each other.

One of the highlights of our work were the match programs. In the '90s they stopped handing them out, but we brought that tradition back with a new pitch. We had time to print the programs 10 minutes before kickoff, so they had up-to-date information about the starting lineups of both teams.

Match Program

WHAT DID WE CHANGE?


  • We developed a full-fledged club's identity.
  • We brought the press service to European and Russian standards.
  • Increased engagement in "Pakhtakor's" social networks, increasing the audience by 500%.
  • Increased the fanbase of the club.

RESULT.


In one year we were able to create and streamline a fully functional press service without huge budgets for advertising and equipment. Club owners were satisfied with global changes.


Our work has become an example for many sports press services in Uzbekistan. Others adopted Pakhtakor's experience and asked us for advice.


Even now you can find photos taken by our team on the club's Instagram account.


Having created a working mechanism of the press service we left Pakhtakor in a year. It was time to move on.


Marat Aksanov (PR-manager), Sergey Zabaluev (art-director), Bekzod Nazarov (press-attache) worked over the project.


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All the rights to the materials in this article belong to their legal owners (FC Pakhtakor) and are intended for information only. All materials are taken from open (public) sources. The presence of materials in the article in no way claims to indicate our copyright to these materials.