Tag Archives: sponsorship

Can one sponsorship deal destroy over 100 years of brand building?

21 Dec

Arguably the most famous and most successful football brand has recently gave up what made them so special. ‘More than a club’ is what set FC Barcelona apart: it is what they stood for, how their club was ran, how fans connected with the club and each other, and it is how the brand was recognised the world over. It is a powerful idea, and at its most believable, has propelled FC Barca into the upper echelons of sporting power. It has enabled them to stand out, not just in Spain but also on the world stage.

Their recent decision to take a world record sponsorship fee in exchange for shirt exposure has seen them pass over the rights to the sacred jersey. This has meant one of the last remaining traditional assets of the modern game has finally passed over to the money men. Football is not quite the game it once was, and it has not been for some time; commercialization has long been hammering at its purity and former innocent core. What magnifies the importance of this announcement is that Barca were always perceived as, ‘more than a club’, they did things differently, with a purpose and for the purity of the shirt. They are seen as a symbol of Cataluna, with their army of fans entitled to part ownership in the club – as a result the shirt belonged to them . The recent decision to sign over the shirt to the not for profit Qatari Foundation is a final stake in the ever increasing chasm between football supporter and club.

Not much is left that is untouchable anymore in the game of football. The traditions built up over years are almost completely gone. Nothing is untouched by the commercial juggernaut. It seems all we have left are the cathedrals that the clubs call home, but as fans of new builds such as Arsenal will testify, it is not far from becoming an all-out sell off.

Shirts are an obvious source of revenue. For big clubs they are attractive properties, providing vehicles for sponsor partners to gain awareness on big European stages, as well as in domestic competition to create accelerated awareness and activation through the vast media and digital coverage it brings. Barcelona have long been lusted after by the corporate world for their reach and ability to cross national boundaries and transcend beyond their sport into pop culture.

For decades they had managed to maintain what the shirt stood for and kept it special for their fans. Their gesture a few years back to pay UNICEF for the right to wear their logo on the Barca shirts was genius. It proved the point that they where ‘more than a club’, seeing their role far beyond the action on the field, they understood the impact they could play in the world. Their decision to take £25m per season off the Qataris proves that they are just like any another club; the money is useful and it will enable them to continue to compete against their commercially driven rivals. The bigger issue is whether it was worth dismissing the Barca brand for all it’s worth, by striking this deal, ‘more than a club’ is no longer believable. The rich history that took over 100 years to build into this defining thought and propelled Barca above its peers has been seemingly broken down overnight. Unfortunately, that seems to be the shortsighted nature of football management these days.


Reaction to Sponsor behaviour depends on where the consumer lives

21 Dec

Really interesting post from Sponsor Crunch (sponsorpitch.com).

They have recently done a survey on consumers attitude towards BP and their continuing association with sporting property. It is most interesting to see how the American and British consumer differs. The Brits, who clearly associate BP as a British firm, are a lot more forgiving of BP and their recent endeavors off Americas coastline. In contrast, the Americans are more cynical.

One thing they do have in common; they see the value that big business like BP can offer properties who are not-for-profit or self generating in nature. What should be learned from this survey? Well, consumers are actually quite forgiving, especially if you are linked with sponsoring / giving money to organizations which exist to put right what you have been doing wrong.

Anyway, see for yourself here:

Source: Sponsor Crunch


Cricket, no longer playing with a straight bat

23 Apr

Well so far I haven’t written anything about cricket so I thought I would take this opportunity. (more to come in the next month)

Cricket is really starting to understand its role within the world. The new Indian Premier League looks more like the start of a glitzy American league or when the FA reinterpreted how a national football league should look when they launched the FA Premier League.

Sponsorship money is coming in from all angles, pink balls are being used in games, a new form of the game (20/20) is taking the world by storm and the ECB signed a big deal with adidas and have just released 3 kits. 3 kits you say!

Imagine if the FA had done that with the national soccer team, think of the uproar. A shirt for test match play, a one day kit and a 20/20 kit have all been launched for fans of the English side. Now, I think they look great but I’m not sure of the need to bring these all out at the same time. For one you wont get as much impact for individual kits and secondly I would imagine some confusion will exist with fans and customers about which shirt is which.

I think it is an opportunity missed by both the ECB and adidas. That said, if they plan on adopting a football model and changing the shirts every season, like some clubs, then its no big deal for them – it just hits the poor old fan in the pocket!`

Nike countine to show up

23 Apr

Nike announced last week that they are currently spending $3.4billion on sponsoring atheletes and teams around the world.

Anaylsts attributed this to the growing importance of soccer as a category and the desire of Nike to become the number one brand. In order to get there they have to compete, not just with best products but by being seen on the best teams and athletes around the world.

If you want consumers to buy your brand then you need to be performing and being constantly visible on the world stage is a prerequisite for any of the top brands. Nike recently signed the French national football team from rivals adidas, giving them a very impressive roster of teams wearing their product and prompting the questions from the city analysts.

As a consumer looking to Nike as a brand that will meet your needs, you certainly have a very believable propositon in place

Check out the full article.