They say that money talks. Can it talk its way into taking over football?
These can be small changes such as changing stadium names for brands (e.g. The Emirates Stadium). Or changing sponsoring competitions, for example, The Carabao Cup. Now every Premier League club has their own shirt sponsor, and even sleeve sponsor. However, should they be promoting certain brands and markets? For instance: Betting, Alcohol and unhealthy eating.
First of all, let’s look at the benefits. It brings in so much money and profit for football clubs and players with their boot deals, being sponsored by brands such as Nike, Adidas and Puma. This will bring in extra profit for the players being paid to wear their product and young fans inspired by a certain will want to buy the boots they’re wearing to model themselves on that specific player. For example, a young Manchester United fan might want to buy Adidas boots as that’s the boot Paul Pogba wears.
Secondly, the football clubs’ profit will increase from shirt sponsors as they are representing their company in the media because games are being shown all over the world on television and on the internet. However, it’s not just the shirts which generate sponsorship income for the club, however it’s in other places around the club. For example, the electronic boards around the ground. A company will pay the football club money in order to show their business on a billboard during the match, in the hope that they can attract more customers because they have seen their company on match highlights or live on television. Another example would be in match programmes, similar to billboards where a company will pay the football club to have their product in the programme for the thousands of fans to see and the players can potentially endorse to attract a wider audience.
This has a huge impact on where all the money football clubs get come from. 53% of Manchester United’s income in 2017 all came from sponsorships, that’s a total of $783million. A huge reason why Manchester United are ranked in the top 5 richest clubs in the world consistently.
However, there is a negative side that comes along with advertisement which causes controversy and long-term problems. One such problem is betting, which is promoted heavily before matches and can result in heavy gambling addictions which can lead to mental health problems and even suicide. Sky Sports are a company renowned for their betting before the match, at half time and even after the match. Tempting customers into making a bet which could result in an addiction if they do not gamble responsibly.
This continuous advertising was heavily publicised during the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where viewers experienced more than 90 minutes of gambling adverts. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair came out to vent his frustrations about the amount of betting commercialised by saying “One of the only downsides to this brilliant World Cup has been the bombardment of gambling advertising on TV and social media that thousands of children will have been exposed to.” With all this advertisement from an early age and influence on others around them, children and young adults may fall into gambling habits. In 2017 it stated that 12% of 11–15 year olds gambled the week before. This could have been sparked from anywhere but the likely options are from seeing family members place a bet and excessive advertisements on gambling to win big money. However the younger generation need to be protected from gambling sites and advertisements to stop any future problems happening to them, instead of tempting them into doing it.
It’s not just advertisements that cause gambling to be promoted but because of teams having a betting sites sponsor on their shirt such as Newcastle United being sponsored by FUN88 and Stoke City being sponsored by bet365. This sponsorship is shown on television and nationwide and worldwide promoting the company, as well as gambling, but it influences young supporters of the club to take an interest in something that they shouldn’t be associated with.
Secondly, other topics are being promoted which shouldn’t be promoted at all in the football industry such as unhealthy eating. One such example would be the new sponsorship to the EFL Cup being changed to the Carabao Cup. Carabao is an energy drink from Thailand which promotes an unhealthy lifetyle by promoting energy drinks. Another example is McDonalds sponsoring the FA community for grassroots football. This promoted their brand which is good for them as they’ll receive more profit, but young players who want to be professional are being introduced to things energy drinks from an early age, which can be damaging for them in the future as they could get addictive leading to other factors such as; lack of sleep, obesity and lack of confidence. This isn’t what England as a country needs for their future generations with the likes of Jadon Sancho, Declan Rice and Callum Hudson Odoi all looking promising. But with sponsorships promoting the wrong things should we be concerned that we might not have as many younger players coming through as a result?
So, sponsorship is fantastic for football, because it generates more money into the game, which results in high profile transfers like Neymar’s transfer to PSG and can invest in new facilities such as stadiums, like West Ham have done moving from the Boleyn Ground to the Olympic Stadium. However, if gambling and other bad influences are being promoted as much as they are then it could lead to horrible consequences for football fans such as depression, even suicide. So, what I would propose is that they still continue betting adverts but not while the game is on. This will mean that the message still gets across and company’s make their money, but people won’t be as tempted to bet having seen an advert watching the pre-match build up.