Modern sport cannot survive without sponsors, all sports fans are aware of that, but should controls be tighter? There are already calls for the betting establishments to have restricted exposure as we see players accused of fixing games, betting on results of games they have connections with etcetera. It will probably not be long before we see these companies promotion being scaled back by responsible administrators as we saw with the cigarette companies. After all gambling is also an addiction and can destroy many people’s lives.
In various codes of football we have seen teams switch their standard shirt as a promotion for various charities, and it may sound churlish to criticize such moves, but they are sadly becoming far too frequent. A club’s shirt is exactly that, the club’s shirt, not the sponsors.
In the 1990 FA Cup Final a very astute Richard Branson – he was not knighted then – saw an opportunity to maximize Virgin Atlantic’s exposure. The logos on the shirts of the players were restricted to a certain size, so Branson shrank the Virgin Atlantic logo so that he could promote his new service to Los Angeles. He squeezed into the space allowed “Fly Virgin to LA.” By the time the players walked out there was nothing that could be done to stop it.
Picking up the West Australian newspaper today there is an advertisement for long time supporter and sponsor of Perth Glory, insurance company QBE, with a headline “125 years and still kicking goals.”
QBE have been an excellent supporter of football in Western Australia and especially Perth Glory, but they surely realized that the wording of this advertisement would get the backs up of those very people they are targeting. You do not ‘kick goals’ in football, you score them, and there is nothing more annoying to fans of the round ball game than hearing terms from another code being used in theirs.
However, if you read the small print beneath the headline, it states that “Perth Glory will wear a special edition playing jersey on Sunday 23rd October” to commemorate QBE celebrating 125 years of business.
The picture shows Shane Smeltz wearing a sky blue Sydney FC coloured shirt with 125 above the QBE logo. We are not sure if this is the shirt that will be worn on Sunday, but if it is why are the club not playing in their traditional colours? Should a sponsor be afforded a change of shirt to celebrate their milestone?
As stated sport needs sponsors, and QBE have been a superb sponsor of many sports in Western Australia and on many levels, but what does that sponsorship entitle you to? We believe that the club whatever the code and the game must always come first, and administrators need to be careful how much leeway they give, those who support the various teams.