Sponsorship has been a huge part of major sporting events for a long time now, and while some may look at the likes of the Premier League, or La Liga as being nothing more than a corporate entity these days, it cannot be denied that the improvements made within the upper echelons of the footballing leagues, in particular, have brought some major boons for football teams and fans alike. Without the giant sponsorship deals that teams are now privy to, football would be almost unrecognizable to the industry we see today.
Going back 40 years, dilapidated stadiums, unsafe crowd control, and a generally lower standard of football across the board was par for the course even at the homes of the largest footballing brands. Now, thanks to the money involved in the modern game, much of which comes from sponsorship, a day out watching a team in the top tiers of any major footballing nation is a world away from the experience of the 1980s.
Improvements up and down the table
It is also worth noting that it isn’t just a few top teams that benefit hugely from the cash injection sponsorship has brought to the table. Top tier mid-ranged clubs have been able to use sponsorship money to help compete with the giants of the game in a way that they never could before. Commercial arrangements such as those between forex broker easyMarkets and the likes of Real Betis allow a club that many would consider to be a mid-table team, become a little more dominant in the transfer market and compete a little closer to the goliaths of Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Atletico.
It also allows for money to be ploughed into training the youth teams and bringing talent through the ranks that would otherwise go unnoticed. For teams that are on the peripheries of the legendary sides in their respective leagues, investment in the youth teams can be extremely lucrative. It is something that even top teams have utilized with great results in the past (we are looking at you Ajax of Amsterdam in the early ’90s), garnering not only trophies but also allowing for the creation a hugely rewarding transfer business model, where youngsters are brought in early, honed into their positions, and sold for huge profits a few years down the line. Sure, it might be difficult for mid-table clubs to compete with the top dogs directly in the transfer market, but by investing in youth and becoming the best club for young talent to shine, those in the shadows can still compete with the bigger names when fostering the next Messi or Ronaldo during their early years.
Let us not forget, that sponsorship is a two-way street. Yes, the clubs get vast sums of cash to splash on whatever area they think necessary in their club, but the sponsors themselves benefit from the huge reach that these clubs exhibit. Not only that, but brand loyalty can go a long way with sports fans who feel a kinship with the name emblazoned across their beloved team’s jersey. Loyalty to a team often spills over into loyalty to things that surround that team, sponsors included, and the longer those sponsorship deals last, the stronger the allegiance is felt by many fans.
Benefits for the giants, as well as the minnows
Overall, football would not be the spectacle it is today without modern sponsorship deals, and while it is tempting to concentrate on the giant numbers associated with the most lucrative sponsorship deals out there, forgetting about the teams who sit just under those legendary teams would do a disservice to the importance of investment for the mid-table clubs. If you are a team looking to get promoted to the top division in your country, the amount of exposure you are going to be privy to should you win that promotion is a huge draw for potential sponsors looking to get their name out there. The numbers involved when moving into the top leagues, where worldwide viewing figures can reach as much as half a billion for the big games, are astronomical. Newly promoted teams can demand a much higher fee from potential sponsors in the top leagues, as they know just how far afield any branding will be seen, and that extra money will allow improvements across the board, whether that be in stadia or the team itself.
For football fans across the globe, it has been a great boon to the sport they love, that sponsorship has developed in the way that it has. While ‘the beautiful game’ was always going to be a huge draw worldwide, the sheer volume of games on offer, the standard of football on the pitch, and the experience fans now have when watching live games, owes a lot to the modern sponsorship deals currently in place. Something worth remembering when some fans reminisce about ‘the good old days’. Yes, football of the past had some wonderful moments, but right now, football has never been so accessible, and of such a high standard. That, whether the football puritans want to admit it or not, is partly down to the companies who are willing to spend millions on sponsorship deals with our favourite clubs.