We see sponsorship encroaching more and more into football, it started off as an easy earner that saw sponsors billboards on the sides of pitches, then onto the front of the shirts themselves, the arms, the backs, the players boots, we’ve seen stadium naming rights being sold, substitutions being sponsored and with Financial Fair Play beginning to take hold sponsorship roles are more and more prevalent as shown by the Wayne Rooney Derby deal.
Derby are showing themselves to be at the forefront of working through loopholes having sold their stadium to themselves (Essentially), now the Wayne Rooney deal is littered with little loopholes for example he’s a player coach which means only 50% of his wages are outside of the calculations for FFP plus the number 32 on his back has been suspected to form part of the sponsorship deal from 32Red which is quoted as being “record-breaking” which suggests to me as a layman that the money that was secured as part of the Rooney signing clearly helped fund the deal.
In America, sponsorship is huge, to the point it’s more than infuriating, it’s the equivalent of what Cambridge Analytica were doing on Facebook, football in the UK has largely avoided a lot of this but FFP has forced it to become a necessity, before long passes will be sponsored. I know from a short-term point of view there’s no problem in this as there will be some cash floating about and at the end of the term the money can be renegotiated, but if sponsors are being used to afford big signings the next step will be for them to dictate them too.
Sponsorship deals going the way they are is football selling its soul, before long the Premier League will be an independent franchise and players will spend three-month spells at clubs at the expense of casino’s and airlines, all the while the lower leagues will be diluted and essentially an afterthought of the football world. I hope this is just an apocalyptic view but it does look as though the signs are there, we might all be too short sighted to see it though as long as we get that big name signing or manage to push into the Prem!