LINE’s ‘El Clasico’ Digital Stickers Engage & Monetise

Japan’s hottest social network LINE, a free call and messaging app that has now truly gone global, is a key driver of the exploding trend of digital stickers which have now themselves become a fan engagement (and revenue generating) opportunity for sports brands.


Among the world’s leading sports brands, two of the fastest to activative via Line stickers are the Spanish soccer giants FC Barcelona and Real Madrid.


Not only are the connecting with fans around the world through the channel, but they are even specifically leveraging their ‘El Clásico’ matches as a digital sticker engagement driver.


As the leading provider of sticker-based communications, LINE will continue its efforts, including the Creators Market, to extend the reach of our communication platform even further throughout the world.


The 1-to-1 and group enhanced messaging app – which also enables sharing of photos, calls, videos and games plus timelines – is best known for its expressive sticker-led communication and is being particularly embraced by Millennials (for whom it is Japan’s most popular social network).
Both Barcelona and Real Madrid have a digital content partnership agreement with Line to help the clubs enlarge, engage and monetise their fan bases.


Under the deal, Barca and Real operate Official Accounts on Line and users can add the clubs’ accounts as a friend to receive flash reports on the team’s match results, player news, and upcoming events.


Initially, simply by adding the Official Account as a friend, Line users could also download free Line stickers featuring the teams’ players.


This has been followed by sets of ‘paid stickers’ featuring the players’ various expressions and poses – thus monetising the partnership.
The paid for packs cost around €2 and can be bought via the app store for Android and iOS.


There are even specific stickers for the ‘El Clásico’ match between the two.


Players’ characters also appear in Line’s family apps, such as Line Game and Line camera and they are also featured in the original brand room of Line Play – a virtual avatar communication service.




‘One of the key goals of Real Madrid is to become closer to our fans and maintain a fluid communication,’ explains Real Madrid New Media Director Rafael De Los Santos.


‘Now days we are convince that this is one of the very best ways to keep and enhance this communication.’


The idea is that fans will be both driven to collect entire squad sticker sets, and perhaps swap stickers in the future, but also to show their passion and support for the clubs within their Line conversations.


Barca’s official Line profile has attracted more than 14 million fans from around the world.


It’s not just football clubs spotting the opportunity.


Sir Paul McCartney also recently launched a profile on Line and he attracted millions of fans to his official account within a few weeks.


McCartney rewarded his Line fans by releasing a set of free digital stickers.


Sir Paul’s stickers were initially free for six months and then he also introduced a paid range.


By introducing the Line Creators Market last year, the company not only offered individual users from around the world the ability to produce and sell their own Line stickers, but property owners, rights holders and stars to both engage and make money.


After passing a simple review process conducted at Line, creator stickers are made available for sale and purchase on the Line Store, as well as Line’s in-app Sticker Shop and on other sites.


Creators receive approximately 50%1 of all revenue from sticker sales.


Since the stickers market was introduced last year more than 270,000 creators from 145 countries have registered with the service.


These range from independent creators and local government organisations, to brands and charities, as well as sports teams and musicians.


There are now more than 30,000 sets of stickers in the market (worth JPY 3.59bn) and they are not all created for fun communication and creating connections, but also for driving brand and event awareness, as well as for positioning and engagement objectives.




Will branded digital goods completely replace the classic, physical sticker collections?


The experience of Panini at this year’s World Cup suggests not.


But it is certainly a growing engagement and revenue generating option.


There are now more than 10 messaging apps boasting more than 100 million users, Line being one of them, and more and more sponsors are now experimenting with activation across these either as well as, or instead of, the usual establishment channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


So it is inevitable rights owners and rights holders are increasingly going to use many more of them for activation.


Most have their own signature point of differentiation and for line it is the stickers are the main draw for users to Line (and a source of revenue for both Line itself and for its users).


Perhaps this is simply because stickers can be used in messaging to describe thoughts and feelings more easily and effectively that text.


Millenials certainly seems to like the simplicity, ease and quick creativity of communicating through images (a maturing space evolving from emojis, GIFs, to Vines and Instagrams).


So rights owners and holders alike who target the demographic look certain to increasingly use Line to maintain and grow a mobile relationship with their fans in Japan and beyond.


Indeed, since its launch in 2011, Line now boasts more than 560 million users and it has become a global service used in 230 countries (it ranks first in the free app category in 60 markets).


That’s a big potential platform to find fans from across a huge range of sports, music and cultural silos.




LineStore Real Madrid



StickerLine Shop Real Madrid


Line Store Barca



Barcelona Line Stickers



Line Website



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