It’s no secret that companies fund sports clubs. In 2019, a staggering 30 billion US dollars flowed into various clubs in every conceivable sport worldwide as part of sports sponsorship. Yet the sport of soccer is still the measure of all things. Meanwhile, the gaming industry is also jumping on the trend – like CasinoSource.ie – and both sides are reaping the benefits of financially strong support. For marketing purposes, the sport is ideally suited because billions of fans actively support their clubs and visibility for sponsors is significantly increased. Regardless of whether it’s shirt advertising or banner advertising, without sponsors the clubs have little chance of surviving financially and achieving sporting success.
As already mentioned, the sport of soccer plays an overriding role in the topic of sponsorship. In terms of the annual investment sum (2019) of more than 30 billion US dollars, around 13 billion US dollars are invested in global socceralone. That is already a considerable sum. In racing – such as Formula 1 – the sum still amounts to 2.5 billion U.S. dollars. But the differences are clear here, and the extent to which soccer in particular plays an enormously important role for sponsors. Other sports where sponsors like to advertise their brand are basketball, Olympic sports and American football, each with around 2.2 billion US dollars.
They are followed by golf, baseball, rugby and ice hockey. Sponsors invest the least money in boxing and sailing. Tennis, on the other hand, receives around one billion US dollars in sponsorship money. Recently, online casinos and sports betting providers have also been investing as part of sponsorship, because the gambling industry has become established in society. Gone are the days when clubs and associations refused casino sponsors and even in America (especially American football) more and more collaborations between clubs and the gambling industry are taking place.
To illustrate the sums that flow in soccer alone, some deals are now presented. The Spanish club Barcelona refused to sponsor for a long time (until 2006). But now the retail chain Rakuten pays a whopping 65 million a year to the club. Other sponsors of the successful club include Nike and Qatar Airways. Barcelona is therefore not only the most successful soccer club of this century, but also one of the most profitable in terms of sponsorship. The financial backers are literally scrambling for a partnership with the club. But Real Madrid also finances its expensive players through marketing and sponsorship. Several brands have invested in the soccer club in recent years. With a value of about 3.4 billion euros, Real Madrid (as of 2021) is incidentally the most valuable soccer club in the entire world.
Since 2014, Adidas and Chevrolet have been considered Manchester United’s main sponsors. The club earns a whopping 187 million euros per year from these two sponsors, but they are far from being the club’s only sponsors. However, the world’s most successful soccer clubs also need financially strong partners to pay the horrendous player salaries. In addition, sums are sometimes transacted on the transfer market that would be almost impossible to manage without strong partners from sponsorship. Of course, the sponsors do not undertake this financial tour de force entirely altruistically. The visibility of the brands is increased and, in the medium term, the investment naturally pays off. So both sides benefit from sponsorship in the soccer business.
Around 70 percent of all professional soccer teams in the European TOP leagues are also financially supported by gambling providers. Soccer at European level is the most actively watched sport in the world. Here, the English Premier League takes the highest percentage of viewership. Many clubs have contracts with sponsors from the gambling industry. Why not? Many fans who support their club also like to invest in sports betting and place a bet on the victory of their team. It is interesting to note that in soccer there are certain tendencies for victory or defeat. There are clear favorites and outsiders. Therefore, results can be estimated, at least potentially.
Without financiers, the billion-dollar business in soccer does not work. Running a successful club requires large sums of money to be invested. Player salaries, training, huge amounts of other personnel and the maintenance costs for sometimes huge stadiums alone cost a lot of money. It is therefore all the more understandable that soccer clubs go in search of sponsors. For the most successful and well-known clubs, this does not matter, because sponsors – including those from the casino industry and betting providers – are literally lining up. Smaller clubs rely on a variety of sponsors and also gratefully accept offers from the gambling industry. As is alreadyknown, the best-paid athletes in the world are to be found in the sport of soccer. In soccer, capital is also partly responsible for success. The best players cost vast sums in transfer fees. But only the best players are a guarantee for success in the game.
What is generally a certain trend is also used by athletes. Not only in soccer do athletes market themselves as influencers. A typical example is PSG’s superstar Neymar. His income has long been derived from only a fraction of the – quite lavish – player’s salary. The new “digital heroes” from the sports industry generate millions in sales thanks to financially strong sponsors. So it’s not just the clubs and associations that benefit from advertising partners, but the athletes themselves. This is also important because sports careers are of limited duration. All social platforms are used intensively. The athletes and clubs do this at a high level.
It’s not done with the advertising partner’s logo on the jersey or stadium advertising. Meanwhile, sponsors are marketing their products and services through emotionality and storytelling. Current social issues also find expression in individual advertising in sports. The credibility of the advertising partners plays an important role here. Increasingly, the combination of sponsor and athlete or sports club is also important. These have to fit together. Not just any brand fits the soccer club. Here, strategists behind the scenes try to find harmonious advertising partners that fit into the club’s concept. This strategy is called “branding” and is being pursued more and more often.
Of course, it is also about addressing the right target group. On a sporting and financial level, attempts are made to find the right combination of sponsorship and club image building. Sponsors will continue to be indispensable for the sport in the future, and the two levels also harmonize splendidly with each other.