Sponsorship Look Back: AS Roma's three-year sponsorship deal with Qatar Airways

DOHA-

In April 2018, Serie A club Associazione Sportiva Roma entered into a three-year sponsorship agreement with Qatar Airways.

It was described by the football club as “the largest the club has ever signed” though the actual financials were not made public. However, the agreement with Qatar Airways was reportedly worth €40M ($48.8M) for three seasons, according to Elvira Pollina of REUTERS.

The deal saw Qatar Airways become only the seventh shirt sponsor in Roma’s 90-year history. The first team played without a main sponsor since 2014, when the Roma Cares charity occupied the main space on the front of the club’s gameday shirts.

The deal will last until the end of the 2020-21 season, both parties announced.

Airline sponsorships are among the most valuable in sports. Having an airline as a sponsor, especially in world football, is viewed as a sign that your club is among the elite. Roma claim their deal with Qatar Airways is the largest-ever sponsorship deal signed by the club and one of the biggest ever agreed by an Italian soccer side.

Some other notable examples of clubs that have airline sponsors include Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan Arsenal, SL Benfica, Hamburg SV (Emirates Airlines); Manchester City, New York City FC, Melbourne City (Etihad Airways).

This season Roma have played in shirts without  a sponsor. That will change for their Champions League semifinal against Liverpool
Roma played most of the 2018 season in shirts without a sponsor. (AFP Photo/MIGUEL MEDINA)

The deal became public a day before Roma’s biggest games for decades, the first leg of a Champions League semi-final against Liverpool at Anfield. The team’s shirts for that match (the secondary white shirt) were the first time the sponsorship was carried.

“We are delighted to announce this historic partnership between AS Roma and Qatar Airways, two great brands with global ambitions,” said Roma’s president Jim Pallotta.

“Today’s announcement is the result of discussions behind the scenes for more than eight months with Qatar Airways… and comes at a significant time in the club’s history, on and off the pitch.”

“With a new stadium due to begin construction late this year and the team in the Champions League semi-final for the first time for 34 years, it’s an exciting time to be a Roma fan. He added that the club would “be proud to wear the Qatar Airways name on our shirts.”

Qatar Airways’ boss, Akbar Al-Baker, said: “We are very pleased to announce this new partnership, which will see Qatar Airways become the official shirt sponsor of AS Roma through the 2020-21 season. “AS Roma is one of the most successful and well-known football clubs in the world.”

Commercial Ties Between the Countries

The deal was entered into at a time that there were increased commercial ties between Doha and Rome. For example, in October 2017, Qatar Airways purchased a 49 percent stake in private airline Meridiana, which has now been rebranded as Air Italy.

An Expanding Sports Portfolio

The sponsorship agreement with Roma was the latest in an increasing line of sporting sponsorships announced by the 100 percent state-owned Gulf airline.

The airline is also one of the shirt sleeve sponsors on Bayern Munich’s kit as well as the German giant’s official airline.

Qatar Airways also sponsors local club Al Sadd, whose captain is former Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez, and will be a FIFA sponsor of the 2022 Qatar World Cup.

It has also ventured into other sports, including a sponsorship deal with Aussie Rules Football club, Sydney Swans.

Qatar Airways was the shirt sponsor for Barcelona — the team Roma knocked out in the 2018 Champions League quarter-finals — for three years, in a commercial agreement which ended in 2017. That deal paid Barcelona $45 million per year. For some Barcelona supporters, it proved controversial because of Qatar’s human rights record, particularly with regards to migrant labourers helping prepare for the 2022 World Cup in Doha. Qatar Airways has also been criticised for its treatment of workers, notably by the International Labour Organisation for “discrimination” against female staff. When the sponsorship agreement ended, Barcelona’s entered into its current sponsorship with the Japanese electronic commerce and online retailing company Rakuten.

More About Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways is the national airline of the State of Qatar and one of the aviation industry’s big success stories. Operations began in 1994 when the airline was a small regional carrier serving a handful of routes. The airline was re-launched in 1997 under the mandate of His Highness The Father Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, who outlined a vision to turn Qatar Airways into a leading international airline with the highest standards of service and excellence.

Qatar Airways has since become one of the fastest growing carriers in the history of aviation with unprecedented expansion averaging double digit growth year on year.
The airline has developed under the dynamic leadership of Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, appointed in 1997, who has been instrumental in turning Qatar Airways into an award-winning carrier and the best in the world.
Under Mr. Al Baker’s stewardship, Qatar Airways has matured into a leading force in regional and global aviation, earning many admirers around the world for its excellent standards of service.

The airline operates 206 aircraft to more than 160 destinations worldwide.

Qatar Airways A350-1000 | Photo: Qatar Airways

Inter Miami linked with major sponsorship

MIAMI, Fla. (January 20, 2020) —

BREAKING: Inter Miami is currently the only club in MLS without a shirt sponsor for the 2020 campaign but the lack of a sponsor is likely to end very soon. Sources expect a major agreement to be announced in the next few days.

Read more about this over on Inter Miami Hoy.


Inter Miami's players have unique hydration needs. Fortunately they now have an official sports drink.

MIAMI, Fla (January 15, 2020) —

BODYARMOR Sports Drink today announced a multi-year partnership with Inter Miami CF, establishing the brand as the team’s “Official Sports Drink” starting this upcoming 2020 Major League Soccer season. Details about this new agreement can be found on Inter Miami Hoy by clicking on the link below or by going to intermiamihoy.com.

“BODYARMOR is America’s new leader in sports hydration and they are a great fit for Major League Soccer – the League for a new North America,” said MLS senior VP of Business Development Carter Ladd in statement.

“BODYARMOR believes in the future of Major League Soccer and is committed to joining us in our ongoing efforts to elevate soccer’s popularity to even higher levels in North America. BODYARMOR’s rise and momentum mirrors that of MLS, and we are excited to kick off the partnership at the Leagues Cup final and look forward to working with them for many years to come.”

A premium sports drink with potassium-packed electrolytes, antioxidants and coconut water made with no artificial flavors, sweeteners and no colors from artificial sources, BODYARMOR is now the No. 2 sports drink sold in US convenience stores nationwide and on track to eclipse $700 million in retail sales by the end of 2019.

RCD Mallorca and Konami Announce Partnership

The agreement will see the gaming conglomerate, famous for the Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) video game series, sponsor the team for the remainder of the season

PALMA DE MALLORCA (December 21, 2019) —

Real Club Deportivo Mallorca, the oldest football club in the Balearic Islands, has announced that a sponsorship agreement was signed with Konami that will run until the 30th of June 2020.

The deal will see the inclusion of Los Bermellones in PES2020, alongside the much bigger clubs like FC Barcelona, Bayern München, Juventus and Manchester United, while Mallorca players Take Kubo, Aleix Febas, Salva Sevilla, Iddrisu Baba, Cucho Hernández and Lago Junior underwent 3D facial scanning at the Estadio Son Moix to ensure their likenesses appear in ultra-realistic graphics.

Later this month the rest of the squad will receive the same treatment ahead of an update scheduled for the 16th of December in addition to the inclusion of the Estadio Son Moix in the renowned videogame. Here is the official videoclip released by Konami. Putting it in basic terms, it’s pretty cool.

Video Courtesy of Konami

Partnership Activations

To activate the partnership, Konami said it will run campaigns in all PES titles that will allow gamers to sign six Mallorca players for free. The club and Konami will also jointly run a number of event activations.

Maheta Molango, RCD Mallorca CEO, had this to say about the new agreement:

“For us, this is so much more than a sponsorship,” Molango said at the announcement’s press conference. “We are making a step into the digital world, which is now not only a possibility for clubs but a necessity and what better partner to do that with than Konami. In addition to this, Japan is more than Takefusa Kubo, who is the most relevant player in his country. There is a very important history between RCD Mallorca and Japan with Yoshito Okubo and Akihiro Ienaga. Together with Take, that’s three of the seven Japanese players to have scored in La Liga.

“Lastly, it’s an honour to share this space with E Football PES2020 with clubs such as FC Barcelona, Juventus, Manchester and Bayern Munich. All of this is an honour, people recognise the hard work and brand, which is a step that we are very proud of.”

“For us, there is no better ambassador in Japan than Konami, with good values and a serious brand that thinks globally and that is the key to penetrating the Japanese market. It’s a mutual benefit for the two of us.”

Hosoda Manorito, Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer Marketing Producer was equally enthusiastic:

“It’s an honour to be at RCD Mallorca’s side now that there are a lot of Japanese people who follow the club because of Take Kubo,” Manorito said at the live-streamed event. “Seeing Kubo triumphing outside of Japan makes us proud as fans from the country. That shows all the children that it is possible to reach the elite of European football.”

m1

Anuncio oficial en castellano:

El club más antiguo de las Islas Baleares, RCD Mallorca, es el último equipo en unirse a la familia PES

Konami Digital Entertainment B.V. ha anunciado a los aspirantes de la Liga Española, al RCD Mallorca como su último Club Partner para eFootball PES 2020.

Gracias a este anuncio, los jugadores del RCD Mallorca podrán ver sus caras y tatuajes escaneados en 3D, recreados en la última versión del juego. Las nuevas caras de los jugadores que se incluirán son:

  • Salva Sevilla
  • Manolo Reina
  • Lago Junior
  • Ante Budimir
  • Aleix Febas
  • Cucho Hernández
  • Takefusa Kubo
  • Iddrisu Baba

Para celebrar esta última edición de la familia PES, se lanzará una nueva campaña de jugadores de regalo que comenzará el 16 de diciembre en todos los títulos de PES*, recompensando a los usuarios con los siguientes seis jugadores del RCD Mallorca:

  • Salva Sevilla
  • Lago Junior
  • Aleix Febas
  • Cucho Hernández
  • Takefusa Kubo
  • Iddrisu Baba

*Incluyen eFootball PES 2020 (PC / Consola / Móvil), PES Club Manager y PES Card Collection.

El acuerdo oficial entre KONAMI y el RCD Mallorca también contará con un aumento de eventos locales y activaciones entre las dos organizaciones.

Maheta Molango, CEO de RCD Mallorca ha comentado: “Este nuevo acuerdo con KONAMI es un paso adelante para el club en tres aspectos. En primer lugar, para continuar con la digitalización del RCD Mallorca, creemos que alinearnos con KONAMI es fundamental para avanzar de esta manera y adquirir nuevas oportunidades. Además de esto y en el contexto de nuestra expansión en Japón más allá de la inmensa contribución de Take Kubo, una afiliación con el conglomerado de entretenimiento del país es esencial para nuestro mayor crecimiento. Y, por último, nos sentimos honrados de que una compañía como KONAMI, consolidada y con gran atractivo a nivel mundial, quiera impulsar nuestro proyecto para su crecimiento en un mercado tan estratégico como el fútbol español”.

eFootball-PES2020_RCD-MALLORCA_Campaign_EN

Jonas Lygaard, Senior Director Brand & Business Development de Konami Digital Entertainment, B.V. ha declarado: “Siempre nos hemos sentido orgullosos de nuestra capacidad de forjar relaciones duraderas e impactantes con clubes de fútbol de todo el mundo. El anuncio de hoy de nuestra asociación con el RCD Mallorca nos presenta nuevas y emocionantes oportunidades para relacionarnos con nuestro público español”.

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Court Sides With Liverpool In Lawsuit Over Kit Supply Contract

Nike will be new kit supplier beginning with the 2020/21 season.

Liverpool join Chelsea and Tottenham as top tier EPL clubs with Nike kits

MIAMI, Fla. (October 28, 2019) —

Liverpool FC have won a legal battle with Boston (MA)-based New Balance in the London Commercial Court and are now free to sign a new deal with Nike.

Pending an appeal by New Balance, it brings to an end the ongoing dispute surrounding which apparel provider would outfit the Premier League side’s kit from the 2020/21 season, which has been unclear since the start of the year.

Liverpool home shirt | Photo: Liverpool FC

Liverpool had made clear their intentions to switch to Nike once their partnership with New Balance, which dates back to the 2015/16 season, expired and had held extensive talks with the brand. The club rejected New Balance’s offer of a matching clause proposed for the existing contract over the summer.

New Balance took the European Champions to court over their alleged refusal to honour a £45m-a-year deal (€50.9, $55.9 million), which expires in May 2020. They alleged that under the terms, the footwear firm is entitled to renew its sponsorship if it matches any competitor’s offer, and that Liverpool had breached the contract by not renewing the contract.

New Balance World Headquarters in Boston, MA

Opening the firm’s case last week, Daniel Oudkerk QC said the key issue was whether New Balance had matched “the material, measurable and matchable terms of a third-party offer.”

Liverpool countered that New Balance had not matched Nike’s offer, which includes a commitment to sell licensed products in at least “6,000 stores worldwide, 500 of which shall be Nike-owned”. Guy Morpuss QC, the lawyer representing the Premier League club, set out to show New Balance’s claim it could distribute the club’s kit to 40,000 stores was “a myth”, and that the company had “grossly overstated” the number of stores to which it could distribute. Moreover, Liverpool argued that Nike could deliver far greater total revenue than New Balance could, reflected by Nike reportedly agreeing to pay the Reds a 20 percent royalty on net sales of Liverpool products.

Nike reportedly agreed to pay the club UK£30 million (US$36 million) per year, compared to the UK£45 million (US$58 million) New Balance currently pays. However, it would also promote the team through other high-profile athletes and influencers, including tennis legend Serena Williams, basketball star LeBron James and the musician Drake. Nike would also distribute the new kit through an estimated 6,000 global stores, compared to New Balance’s 3,000.

Chris Davis, New Balance vice-president of global marketing and sports marketing, and Kenny McCallum, New Balance general manager of global football, were both cross-examined extensively during Friday’s proceedings.

Davis’ testimony Testifying in court basically admitted that the company had made “errors” on the number of retail outlets initially planned.

Liverpool’s legal team argued that this was evidence New Balance was unable to match the terms offered by Nike. New Balance would have to double their number of stores, especially in the Far East, where their actual outlets were much lower than planned. Other evidence presented by the club’s barristers was the fact that a large number of New Balance stores sold only the company’s footwear and not replica kits.

Giving his ruling in London, Mr. Justice Teare of the High Court ruled in Liverpool’s favour, finding that “the New Balance offer on marketing was less favourable to Liverpool FC than the Nike offer.” A full written statement from the judge will follow but he told the court: “For the reasons given in the judgment handed down, the claim from New Balance is dismissed.”

In his ruling, Mr Justice Teare said: “Liverpool FC is not obliged to enter into a new agreement with New Balance.”

The court also heard that Liverpool spent more than £555,000 on the case, with 20% to be paid by New Balance.

Liverpool will now move ahead to finalise a five-year deal they have agreed to in principle with Nike, who have apparently already spent nearly UK£6 million (US$7.7 million) on kit design. Liverpool and Nike have worked together for the past two months. [The Reds claim Nike’s offer to them, which they apparently had accepted in principle in August, amounted to a legally binding obligation to contract with Nike.] The two sides have already agreed on designs for the replica kits and training kits for the 2020-21 campaign, while Nike have reserved factory space to manufacture 2.9 million units over the course of next season and have already invested more than $5.8 million in fabric.

While the possibility of an appeal of the court’s dismissal is possible, the relationship between New Balance and Liverpool is irretrievably damaged, and even if New Balance won on appeal, forcing Liverpool to work with them for another five years is not going to happen. The only question would be damages owed by Liverpool for breach of contract. A New Balance spokeswoman said the firm was disappointed, adding: “We believe strongly that we matched the competing offer and would have delivered many more years of record-breaking kit sales.”

Jordan Henderson and Mo Salah celebrate in Liverpool’s 2-1 victory over Tottenham at Anfield on Sat. Oct 26, 2019.

Inter Miami CF Select Heineken As Top Draught Pick; Announce Multiyear Sponsorship

Dutch brewing giant continues to invest in soccer and now has sponsorship agreements with 11 MLS clubs in addition to league-wide deal.

Club Internacional de Fútbol is positioned to become the first global team of Major League Soccer.


“We are proud to welcome Heineken as the founding partner of our growing Inter Miami CF family and look forward to making history together as we kick off our first season in MLS.”

Jurgen Mainka, Chief Business Officer, Inter Miami CF

Miami, Fla. (Monday, August 5, 2019) – Kenneth Russo

The teaser ad went live on last Friday on Inter Miami CF’s Instagram and Facebook accounts, complete with announcers speaking in a distinct Miami accent, asking the question, “What will Inter Miami CF do with their first “draught” pick?”

The promo was filmed last month right here in Miami, and, the theme was a nod to fans of more traditional “American” sports like American football and basketball, where there is always a buzz around what player gets selected with the first draft pick.

“The answer is that this pick might just be the best in the world and it’s used to doing well under the sun, which is so key here in Miami.” The ‘sportscasters’ also predicted that this pick was going to be European.

Who will be quenching our thirst for goals?

Who will play con el sabor this city deserves?

And correct they were.

Today, the club announced that Heineken will be the official beer of Inter Miami CF. The multi-year deal establishes Heineken as the first Founding Partner and Official Beer of Inter Miami CF, granting them signage, intellectual property rights, and retail activations. The brand will work closely with Inter Miami to continuosly elevate the fan experience in South Florida. The deal comes after Inter Miami appointed London-based KIN Partners in February as their exclusive sponsorship sales representation agency. As is the custom, no financial details about the partnership were made public. However deals like this customarily represent a multi-million dollar investment by the sponsor in the club over the term of the agreement.

At the announcement yesterday, at El Tucán in downtown Miami, the official commercial was shown for the first time. The is available on Inter Miami’s official website (www.intermiamicf.com) and on social media channels. It was filmed in July, 2019 at Toe Jam Backlot in Wynwood (Miami) and feature the club’s three official supporters groups, Southern Legion, Vice City 1896 and The Siege Supporters Club.

Present at yesterday’s announcement was Heineken’s Chief Marketing Officer, Jonnie Cahill, who said that Heieneken “could not wait” for Miami to join Major League Soccer. “After much anticipation and excitement around the return of MLS to South Florida, we are thrilled to play a role as Inter Miami CF’s first official partner, and look forward to celebrating many future firsts together,” Cahill said. “We are known worldwide as a devoted soccer brand, and through this partnership, we can’t wait to provide soccer fans across South Florida with the premium experience—and beer—they have come to expect from Heineken for years to come.” He went on to say that Heineken will be with the club every step of the way to make Inter Miami CF the most iconic club in MLS.

Inter Miami CF have established the Founding Partner level of partnership for partners who seek the highest levels of visibility, access to the team and experiences that can be customized to forge an unprecedented connection with Inter Miami CF fans throughout South Florida and beyond.

“Our goal at Inter Miami CF is to provide the best possible experience to our fans. With Heineken we have an excellent partner who not only shares our vision and passion for the sport but also understands the importance of being a community-first organization who engages directly with our core audience.”

“We have an excellent partner who not only shares our vision and passion for the sport but also understands the importance of being a community-first organisation who engages directly with our core audience.”

Jurgen Mainka, Chief Business Officer, Inter Miami CF

“Since 2014, Heineken has been an invaluable supporter of Major League Soccer and our clubs, so it is with great pride that we congratulate Heineken and Inter Miami CF on the announcement of their partnership,” said MLS Deputy Commissioner and President of MLS Business Ventures, Gary Stevenson. “Heineken has a deep history of forging authentic relationships with fans across the league through celebratory moments and numerous club partnerships. We look forward to working with both brands to engage fans in Southern Florida in innovative ways for many years to come.”

The agreement mark’s Heineken’s 14th club sponsorship in MLS, in addition to it’s league-wide partnership which is in the second year of a five-year extension signed in March 2018.

The Heineken’s Brouwery, Amsterdam, Netherlands
The Inter Miami supporters groups were featured in the creation of the commercial. Photo: Heineken
ReLATED

Real Madrid CF Will Not Seek Naming Rights For Estadio Bernabéu

Club will not seek naming rights partner for the revitalization of the Bernabéu Stadium; Has “great opportunities” in business without changing the name of the stadium.

Miami, Fla. (Thursday, July 25, 2019) – Kenneth Russo

What’s in a name? In the case of a famous one, a reason not to alter it.

One of the world’s most iconic football stadiums will not be adopting a corporate name. This news came from Real Madrid Club de Fútbol’s Global Head of Partnerships, David Hopkinson.

As reported in Spanish publication ReasonWby.Es, Hopkinson had been interviewed and asked about this ahead of the World Football Summit 2019. It was believed that Real Madrid would seek a stadium naming rights partner. He commented, “Anything is possible, but to put a corporate name on the stadium probably would be incorrect. There are places around the world that are iconic and must be respected.” (“Hay lugares en todo el mundo que son icónicos y deben respetarse”) He also added that Real Madrid enjoys an extraordinary assortment of income-generating opportunities that do not involve adopting a corporate name for the home of Los Blancos.

“Hay lugares en todo el mundo que son icónicos y deben respetarse”

While the stadium’s name is not changing, many aspects of the stadium will be. The club is planning a complete transformation of the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, which is expected to take until 2023 to finish.

Madrid’s ambitious plans for a “digital stadium of the future,” were made possible after securing loans totalling €575 million (£497 million/$641 million USD) in April, 2018 from two US-based financial institutions: Bank of America Merrill Lynch and JP Morgan. They will start repaying the loans in 2023 at a fixed 2.5 percent interest rate through 2049. The club will service an annual debt of €29.5 million per year on the project throughout the period.

Hopkinson, a Canadian, (and graduate of McGill University) was hired in summer of 2018, after having worked with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE), where he was the Chief Commercial Officer. MLSE is the parent company of Toronto Football Club (MLS), the Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL) and Toronto Raptors (NBA). Explaining the overall business strategy of Real Madrid, Hopkinson said that Real Madrid believes the more it is able to internationalise its business, reputation, and fan base, in the process making the club a global enterprise, the more opportunities the club will have with sponsors around the world.

“Cuanto más podamos internacionalizar nuestro negocio, nuestra reputación, nuestra base de fans, para globalizar este negocio, más oportunidades tendremos con patrocinios en todo el mundo”, detalló.

La renovación incluirá un techo retráctil, nuevos servicios y experiencias diseñadas para los fanáticos, que aprovecharán las posibilidades de lo digital.

The renovation will include a retractable roof, new services and experiences designed for fans, taking advantage of the latest in digital stadium technology.

While a football club can expect millions of dollars to have a corporate name on its stadium, in the case of Real Madrid CF, Hopkinson believes the benefit of not changing outweighs the increased revenue. Reaching that conclusion was probably also made easier by the fact that Real Madrid was looking for a naming rights sponsor but actually had difficulty attracting one. Potential sponsors were cautious to invest given the status of the stadium as one of the most famous in the world. It was thought, and altogether realistic to believe, that people would still refer to the stadium as the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu no matter what corporation sponsored the venue.

Video: Real Madrid CF

ReasonWhy.es: El Real Madrid no busca un nombre comercial para el estadio Santiago Bernabéu

Sports Pro Media: Oct. 2018: Réal Madrid Struggle For Naming Rights Deal


Photo Gallery (credit: Real Madrid CF)