Why football sponsorship can make a positive difference despite a global pandemic

As we all struggle through this crazy unpredictable time, many things are uncertain in the world of football and, in fact, in the world itself. Despite the global pandemic slowly consuming our lives, sponsorship deals are still being secured between football clubs and companies all around the globe. These sponsorship deals are positively impacting both parties involved.
Football seems to be one of the few shinning lights during this pandemic with many fans tuning in to watch football weekly. Although fans are unable to physically get to games, which could be seen as a negative for sponsors, football teams are bringing in a huge amount of attraction from TV viewings and social media platforms.

With most fans not allowed into stadiums, they are instead watching the games on TV. This substitution still allows the official partners of clubs to gain immense attraction. There has been an increase of games shown on TV since the pandemic. Usually, British broadcasters are forbidden from showing matches between 3 p.m. and 5.15 p.m. to protect attendances. However, with no matches for fans to go to, this restriction has been waived temporarily, allowing BT Sport to transmit five live games simultaneously on Saturday afternoon. This increase of games has kept viewings of global football high.
Some of the recent major league games have had significant viewing numbers since the beginning of the global pandemic. For example:
Spurs' 6-1 victory over Manchester United drew 3.3m viewers.
Aston Villa’s 0-0 draw with Sheffield United drew in an audience of 2.7million.
Dortmund vs Schalke 04 drew in a peak audience of 652,000 viewers.
Although fans may be missing out on the onsite atmosphere of exciting matches, it is clear that sponsors are not losing out on audience viewings. While football matches are mainly been viewed through a screen, sponsors are still gaining from the benefits of pitch-side advertisements and jersey sponsorships.
Social media has become increasingly more influential in sport and thus a big factor in sponsorship. Most clubs have websites, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter accounts. These accounts give a platform for the clubs to promote their sponsors. These social media platforms have huge viewings and fan interactions. For example:

  • Juventus 4-1 win over Spezia highlights reached 9.4 million views in 3 days on YouTube.
  • PSG have 8.3 million followers on twitter.
  • Chelsea have a total of 48m followers and likes on Facebook
  • Valencia have 895,000 followers on Instagram.
  • Most clubs have official websites which will usually show all official partners of the club among club store, news etc.

Although these examples show mainly high-end clubs, nearly every club nowadays has these social media platforms and has respectable follows, likes, and viewings corresponding with their level and league. For example, Dundalk FC has an Instagram following of 25.9 thousand people.
With these platforms, sponsorship is still beneficial for both the clubs and the brands. The sponsor gets to promote itself as positive brand, increase its brand awareness and reach a wider demographic, while the club itself receives much needed funds in a difficult financial period for all football clubs, big and small!

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