Last season I remember settling down on a Sunday evening to watch the smuggest man in the history of sporting television, Mark Bolton, present another episode of ‘Watch Barcelona batter the shit out of the opposition,’ but having to double take at what was in front of me. The opponents had William Hill on their shirts and all round the stadium, but as a Spaniard would you not be a little irked at having some Englishman’s name all round your stadium?
Of course since then Islamic ownership has put paid to William Hill’s shot at Spanish domination, but there’s plenty more fish in the sea for the online gaming firms, as has been shown by the Belgian government’s gaming arm thrusting itself onto the shirts of soccer club Standard Liege. Read more.
Obviously the move by gaming companies into this sector is rightly appropriate, seeing as much of the revenue made by these sites is through soccer, however, what goes on the shirt is not nearly as interesting as it could be. Instead of just leaving it with the company name on the shirt would it not be a lot more amusing for all involved to try and create the most innovative sponsor designs, and even have input into the design of the shirt?
I mean if Sepp Blatter had his way female football clubs would more than likely be forced to play in John Neyrot-esque kits made comprised entirely of body paint. Where’s the queue for prospective artists?
Blatter would likely let a lot of things go, as long as they pleased him, so what’s stopping the online gaming firms sticking a picturing a half-naked model on the chosen club’s shirt holding up a banner of x company?
The company name emblazoned across the front of your team’s shirt can be more synonymous than the badge itself in some cases, so if there’s a naked women on the front then it may sell even more shirts than they did before. Sponsorship companies could even suggest adaptations to the strip, or extra items to market in the club shop.
It’s probably against advertising rules completely, but could you imagine a team imposing compulsory gaming-company branded bandanas on all members of the team, complete with an airship circling the stadium with a flashing banner giving you the latest match odds (careful bet365, don’t want to be offering any more free money). Then you get to the club shop to buy the sponsor inspired jersey; a collage of betting slips, and poker chips all over the place. Try and find a team who clash with that!
Betting companies certainly beat some of the more benign sponsors in the league, but before you go spending that coinage let’s put it into perspective, with the most North West off all the Premier League clubs.
It’s time to spare a thought for fans of Premier League newcomers Blackpool, who’ve landed the sponsor from hell – Wonga.com, a company that specialize in short-term lending at a rate of 2689% APR. Borrowing £1 for 1 day will cost you £6.56. Now there’s value for money.