Who is sponsoring sports teams today?
There are a variety of rules and standards that surrounding what sort of company can sponsor a sports player or team, as they will sell merchandise to young people and so the branding may have an impact. Some, like Andy Murray go for drinks sponsors likes Robinsons cordial, whilst others may go for airlines, or more likely today – gaming firms.
One of my favourite shirt sponsorship stories was always the Welsh rugby team that has long has had the Cardiff based Brains brewery as their shirt sponsor, but in order to side-step alcohol advertising laws for their matches in France during the Six Nations, they decided to just print the word “Brawn” on the shirt. It’s clever as it plays on the idea of rugby being a game of both brains and brawn, so even without their brand or logo on the shirt, everyone still knew the sponsor and if anything became an extra talking point and free marketing for the beer maker.
Clever advertising plays like the Welsh rugby ploy above are rare, however, as most companies that sponsor teams want their brand to be front and centre. Companies that rely on branding, such as airlines, car manufacturers, and financial services companies, have always been popular shirts sponsors, but since the loosening of gambling regulations on the early 2000s, some of the best online casino or betting sites in the world have become the most prevalent shirt sponsors of football teams in the UK.
For the 2019/2020 season, gambling companies are the most popular shirt sponsor on Premier League football shirts with half of the clubs opting to emblazon their shirts with the name and logo of some of the best sports betting websites. And even those, including all traditional top six teams, that do not have a gambling shirt sponsor will still officially partner with a gambling firm in a very lucrative licensing deal.
Beyond the front of the shirt, many teams are now adding extra sponsors to the sleeves of their shirts this season, with financial services firms (5) and gambling companies (4) similarly popular in this less prime advertising location. It is unclear why gambling firms have chosen to advertise less on the sleeve than on the main shirt, but it is likely they want the premium shirt real estate to convince football fans to make their in-game bets with them rather than the competition.
Photograph by Damonify / Pixabay