If you sponsor a sporting organisation you would normally assume positive association would follow from the members and supporters of that club, who benefit from the income you contribute. When it comes to top level football the dynamics change.
Your name or logo emblazoned on the chests of footballers is often the source of resentment. For some, the income you contribute is irrelevant, you are defiling a sacred relic (the pseudo-religious sentiment is tangible). The same is true in every land where football is taken seriously.
In this light Tennent’s name on the Celtic jersey this season has been fascinating. Instead of being blazoned across the chest, as it was last season, it has an understated position below the club badge. They and kit manufacturer, Nike, have gone one step further this week with the release of the 125 Anniversary Strip, where the logos of both companies are white, embossed on a white shirt. They will be impossible to see on television and obscure in almost all photographs.
Television coverage and media photographs are two of the three principle reasons companies pay money to put their name on a shirt. Both have staying power which lasts years; CR Smith are still benefiting every time a period Celtic goal or photograph is featured.
The remaining key benefit to having your name or logo on a shirt is the affinity you build from fans walking the street with your brand.
Tennent’s are a Scottish brand with very little reach even in England, so it doesn’t really matter to them if the Portuguese TV watching public clocked their name on Wednesday, their entire European exposure will be close to meaningless, but the affinity benefit from understating your place on the shirt is worthy of respect from fans who will wear the shirts. And buy the brand.
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