Branding’s influence in Football

by Omar Khan

Brand Harvest Consultancy

Soccer UEFA Champions

Branding in football today is commanding more importance than it ever did. The sport itself has become a platform to make a brand more visible and attractive to the world. And the perspective is two-fold; brands trying to promote themselves through teams and players and, teams and players themselves trying to build a brand of their own.

Every brand/team/player today is trying to build popularity not just for the sport, but individually for themselves as well.

Paris Saint-Germain, after being bought by Qatari owners and becoming one of the richest football clubs, apart from buying several world-class players also bought David Beckham – a player well past his prime but commanding a huge fan following all over the world. A buy purely made to sell shirts and merchandise, in my opinion.

Branding helps build popularity for the team or player beyond the sport. Why would otherwise Manchester United, who have a huge fan following in Asia, start their soccer schools, stores and cafe’s all over the continent?

Players like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, etc. feature so prominently in the branding activities of the brands they endorse, that only few of their fans will not start liking the brand they’re associated with, too.

For instance, Nike, who has a brand ambassador in Cristiano Ronaldo, is willing to fund his return to Manchester United from Real Madrid; just so that he would be playing in a Nike kit at Old Trafford (Real Madrid wear Adidas kits). And it is unsaid truth that there would be a lot more people who would love to see him at Manchester United than at Real Madrid. While few would not be aware of the astronomical figures it would require to bring him back.

With such huge money, popularity, fame, glamour involved with the sport, it is apparent why brands are taking and will continue to take maximum advantage of the oppurtunities that it offers. Only time will tell us how much role would the sport have left to play in the sport.

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