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The Importance of good sponsorship in football

Many football leagues around the world look at the English Premier League for inspiration both in terms of the way the game is played and for the way it makes money.

After all, the more money a team makes, the more it can spend on players, wages and facilities, offering a better standard of play for fans and even adding facilities that make the club a focal point in the community.

Key to the success of the English Premier League is the sponsorship deals the league and its clubs make, highlighting the importance of such deals in the sport.

Based on figures from the 2013-14 season, the English Premier League featured seven of the 20 richest clubs in the world. The league itself had an audience of 4.7 billion viewers covering some 212 territories across the globe.

It has a huge presence the TV, in print media and online as well as in the stadiums in which the games are played – everyone knows that a game is part of the English Premier League when it takes place.

In recent years, one of the ways that the league has grown its presence and therefore continued to attract top sponsorship is through the use of social media.

The combination of the sponsor and the English Premier League together on social media has boosted both significantly – one example cites that when Barclays were the main sponsor, one in four conversations about the Premier League mentioned the banking giant.

This social media trend also extended beyond the UK. In the Middle East and Africa the mention of Barclays alongside the Premier League was significant, increasing the brand’s presence in these countries. This was important for the bank who were planning to extend operations in these areas at that time.

West Ham United sports scientist and training analyst Adam Crossley (Left) and technical football coach Josh Ewans (Right) during a training sessions for the Betway top 16 players at Nyayo Stadium. FILE PHOTO
West Ham United sports scientist and training analyst Adam Crossley (Left) and technical football coach Josh Ewans (Right) during a training sessions for the Betway top 16 players at Nyayo Stadium. FILE PHOTO

GOOD SPONSORSHIP

However, not all sponsorship can be termed as good sponsorship and the importance of the type of company involved in the sponsoring shouldn’t be ignored.

For example, fans of Newcastle United were unhappy when club owners agreed a deal with payday loans company Wonga. They were also unhappy at the owner changing the name of the stadium, long known as St James Park, to the Sports Direct Arena in order to promote his sports clothing stores.

One area of positive sponsorship has been the pairing of football and online betting. The sponsorship of Betway with West Ham United is one good example – the company have played a part in the long term development plans of the club since their move to the Olympic Stadium.

Betway have also shown their willingness to get involved with clubs in Africa in a similar way. Their recent sponsorship deal with Ashanti Gold in Ghana benefited the club in several ways. They received the funds they needed to continue to grow their success but also to enhance the facilities within their stadium, offering more to the local community.

Another example is camera manufacturer Canon who have been involved in football sponsorship since the late 1970s. They are currently the official sponsor of the Africa Cup of Nations as well as the Youth Football Championships and a number of other events.

Their ethic of using sponsorship to the philosophy of ‘living and working together for the common good’ has benefited football fans around the world.

There’s no doubt that good sponsorship is crucial for emerging leagues to take their place at the top level of football around the world. Bringing money into the game is good but it also needs to be in a way that fans are comfortable with and can accept.

But done right, these big name sponsors can bring a lot to clubs and leagues in the way shown by the English Premier League.