Sponsership and Commercialism in Football
Should Football include Sponsorship? Do we really want loads of advertising forced upon us? Would our teams suffer without it? Are the Sponsors chosen really the associations we want with Professional Football and our Teams?
The mass potential reach of Football
Football is a massive sport, even before its globalisation thousands of people were seeing any one top flight game live at the stadium.
Average Attendances for Man Utd Over the Years
These figures show the increasing quantities of live game spectators. Companies recognised the potential for placing company names and slogans on the perimeter boards and shirts of the players. Therefore Manchester united kit sponsor 'Sharpe' between 1990 and 2000 were able to guarantee the projection of their brand name to 35,000 to 56,000 on average a minimum of 38x a year through people in the stadium itself, making it one of the most desirable and sought after advertising spaces in the world. Big clubs sign multi year deals with advertisers simply to put their brand name of the front of the shirt for multi million pounds.
When televised, games of significant importance such as cup finals, games involving our national teams in the UK (particularly England) and games between the teams currently residing within the top 6 places within the Premier league, reach audiences within the millions. This makes Football within the UK an even more lucrative advertising avenue.
This means that in addition to clubs getting greater TV revenue and higher gate receipts, they also are able to attract more advertisers and charge greater fees for the space. This once again widens the wealth gap between top flight clubs and those in the lower divisions.
Even the name of the League is Sponsered
Sponsorship continued to be included within the name of organisations and institutions within football, as previously mentioned, the it is the 'Barclays premier league' (Sponsored by the bank) and the 'Coca cola' championships (Sponsored by the popular soft drinks manufacturer). The domestic cups have been called 'The Carling cup' (The beer manufacturer) to name just a few.
Are these Sponsers ethical ? Especially when Football is a family sport
Barclays bank has no particular negative connotations, however Coca-Cola is a drink which can lead to tooth decay, diabetes, obesity and contains the drug caffeine and alcohol such as Carling has strong links with liver failure, hypertension, ulceration of the stomach domestic violence, depression and many other health and social problems, therefore is it ethically correct that these brands are rammed down the neck of fans of a family sport such as football. The association with such brands is not limited to cup and league names as Liverpool football club have famously held long time sponsorship links with 'Carlsberg' the beer manufacturer from 1992-2010. Between 2008-2010 this is said to be "7.3 million a year payment to Liverpool" (www.theguardian.co.uk), this suggests that they feel their sponsorship of football gives them enough increase in units of sale to justify paying 7.3 million a year but do we really want football to be potentially responsible for underage drinking and alcoholism. This an ethical issue that been brought about by the effect of media in sport and its hand in transmitting and globalizing the image of football to the millions.
The advertisements printed onto the side of the pitch itself are sometimes made to be 3D and some adverts on the digital perimeter board’s strobe, flash and scroll to better catch people’s attention; however this can detract from the viewing experience and may even distract on field players from the game itself.
Liverpools recording breaking Sponsership deal
Liverpool’s new 4 year deal with sponsors 'Standard chartered' is for around £80,000,000, working out at roughly £20,000,000 a year. This money is said to contribute towards the building of a new stadium (www.dailymail.co.uk). The expansion in stadium will allow greater attendances, this results in great intake of gate receipts, this funds better players, which brings better sponsor deals and so the cycle continues. However once again the wealth gap between rich and poor clubs lengthens greater as Blackpool FC's deal with sponsor wonga.com is merely 500,000, that's 40x smaller than Liverpool’s with standard chartered. Therefore here sponsorship can be seen to develop the national sport yet sometimes at the cost of their ethics and also at risk of equality and equal opportunities between clubs.