Football, loyalty and sponsorship


This is a quick post to follow up some conversations and debate over the past few days both in England and Brazil about football and loyalty. In England the debate has been more specifically focused on the loyalty of players – especially in the light of recent transfers such as that of Fernando Torres, leaving the club whose badge he kissed and claimed to support (Liverpool) to go to Chelsea. Torres made statements in the UK media subsequently that there was no romance left in football and that it is a business, for which he was largely criticised.
Here in Brasil the debate has focused more on the sponsorship of teams and more specifically multipe sponsorship by TIM of different clubs and of the more general trend of brands sponsoring for just a short number of games.
These are distinct debates with different cultural histories and references however there are some similarities. To me the question of values and loyalty is something which is debated at length – more focused on players than sponsors at present. My personal feeling is that brands which look at the short term may benefit in the short term with a very specific audience. However, i find it strange that many companies that invest millions of reals and pounds in other areas of their business do not adopt the same policies when it comes their sports marketing. This seems to be far more prevalent here in Brasil as opposed to the UK – though there are some very high profile examples from both countries where sports marketing has taken a longer term vision – Banco do Brasil or Macdonalds are 2 quick examples.
The big issue for me however is the limited investment in understanding football audiences and understanding the impact for different audineces for this new relationship with the game, it’s sponsors and loyalty both amongst players and sponsors. I would love to know what the impact of recent events will be upon younger football audiences – and how do they both judge and react to issues such as loyalty in football? Does anyone have the research to give us some kind of insight into this? If so i would love to know more!

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