Football is one of the most popular sports when you consider just how large the overall fan base is, and one of the main reasons for this is that everyone can grab a ball, a couple of friends and have at it. Most similar activities that resembled football we know of today were enjoyed in ancient China as well as Mayan territory. As time went on, England based schools start to implement physical activity programs which initially included a lot of football, with Thomas Arnold being the pioneer of this approach.
Today, due to the sheer amount of emotion and interest people exhibit towards football, it has become a business sport to be blunt. All large companies are looking into providing their sponsorships to successful teams, leagues and national championships, working toward worldwide brand recognition. Typical example of this would be that Lionel Messi’s fans usually prefer Adidas shoes, while Cristiano Ronaldo’s fans prefer Nike gear. With such marketing techniques it is easy to link a certain big brand with a certain player or team.
A sponsorship by definition is a commercial relationship where both parties have certain benefits, where the sponsor provides financial support to the sponsored athlete, while the sponsor gets media attention. Both parties are presented with strict contracts that need to be followed entirely throughout the contractual date.
With this concise article we would like to provide you with an overview of world’s most significant sponsorships that are supporting the best football players in the world.
Possibly the most resonating name in the football ecosystem is Adidas. This brand has been linked with FIFA and world championship events ever since 1970s at the Mexico World Championship when they officially became a sponsor and designed a ball. Adidas has remained the main sponsor of FIFA World Championships up to today, with the last one being held in Russia in 2018. Regarding the UEFA European Championship, Adidas has been a presence since 1992, when they introduced the Etrusco Unico ball.
Nike is one of the leading manufacturers of sporting equipment in general. Generally speaking, Adidas and Nike wouldn’t be as successful one without the other. Nike is currently holding 39 contracts with national football teams and 3 additional contracts with teams representing certain areas of certain countries. Nike holds the lead when it comes to most successful football league teams, coming in with 220 contracts. Some of the most popular athletes sponsored by Nike are Falcao, Higuain, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Cristiano Ronaldo and in the past Neymar, who recently lost his sponsorship.
Even though Puma doesn’t resonate as much as Nike and Adidas do, it is still one of the biggest sporting gear manufacturers in Europe. Puma has signed contracts with 14 national teams, with Switzerland and Italy being some of their largest, while they have 112 football club contracts as well as 6 national football leagues. In terms of player sponsorships, Puma sponsored Suarez, Marco Reus, Sergio Aguero, Romel Lukaku and others.
Macron is an Italian sporting gear manufacturer giant. Contrary to the previously mentioned brands, Macron is not involved in manufacturing of football specific gear such as football boots, goalie gloves or similar. Out of national teams Macron has signed contracts with 15 of those and it is recognized as an official clothing provider for 4 football leagues.
Many different individual companies from a variety of industries, whether food, aeronautic, or automotive have recognized the potential of getting involved into sponsorships of football teams and individuals. Almost all major football clubs are being sponsored by a certain automotive company, which cuts deals for vehicles they make for the players or members of the board. Citroen for an example, has a deal with London based Arsenal, and even though Citroen is not the main sponsor, the club and its members have major perks. Other growing industries, like the betting and casino industry, are also joining the ranks, where brands like bet365, Raketech or Aloha Sharka are getting involved in sports club sponsorships on markets where regulations allow it.