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The Boom Of Shirt and Stadium Sponsorship

Thu 29th Sep 2016 | Money & Finance

Nowadays, the football industry is one of the biggest markets on the planet.

Companies from all four corners of the globe are involved in sport sponsorship in one way or another; whether they are funding the club programme on a matchday, the official kit for the upcoming season or one of the stands at the stadium.

In fact, some of the bigger enterprises now sponsor entire stadiums – although renaming a ground can cause conflict amongst the fan base. You only need to look back at Mike Ashley’s decision to re-brand St James’ Park as the Sports Direct Arena to see how much uproar and negative energy a set of fans can create.

Because let’s be honest: football fans hate change. An alteration; on the pitch or off it, usually means that things aren’t working at the club and it is impossible to execute a solid long-term plan if changes are constantly being made. Having said that, sponsors are able to offer lucrative sums of money that can pay for future investment; after all, there are two sides to every coin.

And that is why the football industry NEEDS sponsorship. One of the ‘mega’ sponsors is 32Red – and they have supported several high-profile teams in recent times; including, but not limited to, Leeds United, Rangers, Aston Villa and Swansea City. In fact, they still sponsor Leeds and the latest home shirt looks very smart with the sleek logo on fine white cotton.

To be fair to Leeds, their jerseys in recent years have all been smart to say the least. Whilst the quality of their football leaves a lot to be desired at times, they can boast the fact that they have the nicest kit in the Championship; but where does this 32Red-inspired kit compare to other Leeds United jerseys? For us, it must rank highly.

Sponsorship, big businesses and football clubs go hand-in-hand; money makes the world go round. In a way, you could argue that some of the bigger clubs are greedy – they turn over colossal revenues and profits every year but do a limited amount of charity work. However, that would be both unfair and naive; Premier League football clubs do a LOT of events for the wider community and sponsors are also keen to get involved. As you see in the video below, football has had an exhausting relationship with sponsorship over the years but most critics finally seem to be coming around.

Another major company in the football industry is Emirates. The likes of Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain are sponsored by one of the largest and most successful airlines in the world – but so are Arsenal. And whilst Arsenal have stuck by Emirates for quite some time, it would be fair to say that many fans were – and still are – unsure about the longevity of such a sponsor.

When Arsenal left Highbury in 2006, most Gunners believed that their move to the Emirates Stadium would signal the beginning of a dynasty era for the club. Many bought into Arsene Wenger’s plan for the future but it would be fair to say that Arsenal have failed in their bid to blossom into an elite European club – certainly true for their on-field achievements in the last decade or so.

In this particular case, some fans claim that Emirates haven’t done enough to subsidise ticket costs or to sign ‘big-name’ talent. Arsenal, priced at 6/1 to win the title with 32Red and 188Bet, are one of the biggest clubs in England yet some supporters argue they are still treated poorly by the Gunners hierarchy. However, that isn’t necessarily Emirates’ fault – after all, they aren’t exactly in control of operations at the club.

Whilst 32Red and Emirates are very different corporations, they are both major players on the sponsorship front. When it comes down to profits and expenditure, there is no contest but on a football level, they are the same. Both sponsor a number of teams at the top level and both help their respective clubs to try and build for a successful future on the pitch.

It isn’t always a perfect situation for the fans but sports clubs NEED sponsorship – these are major businesses with millions of pounds at stake and supporters are beginning to realise just how crucial shirt, stand and even stadium naming rights really are.

Posted by: Aaron Gourley 

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