"Football's bad image scares away sponsors" - PC Trends

“Football’s bad image scares away sponsors” – PC Trends

Companies are increasingly hesitant to associate their name with Belgian football, points out this professor of strategy and innovation at KU Leuven.

1. Belfius has announced its intention to stop sponsoring football. Does this decision surprise you?

1. Belfius has announced its intention to stop sponsoring football. Does this decision surprise you? It has been a clear trend for several years: financial institutions sponsor football less and less. The events that led to the “clean hands” operation (investigation into suspicions of fraud and corruption, editor’s note) but also the resurgence of hooliganism last year have given Belgian football a bad image and some companies no longer want be associated with it. 2. Football remains the number one sport in Belgium and Belfius sponsors two of the most popular clubs (Anderlecht and FC Bruges). Is it really an image problem? After the violence in some stadiums last year, there are now fewer spectators. Families are reluctant to come with children. Football is no longer “the” popular sport it used to be. It is interesting to observe the evolution of the profile of companies investing in football. Football was “the” popular sport par excellence and it was financed by the big breweries or car manufacturers. When it evolved into a kind of consumer sport, we saw the arrival of companies active in telephony, internet or banking. And today, it is not Belfius that sponsors FC Brugge directly, but its private banking subsidiary (Candriam)… 3. As we have seen in recent days, it takes a lot of money to transfer vouchers players. Could the withdrawal of sponsors jeopardize Belgian football? Yes, and the new sponsors that arrive don’t always bring an image that everyone wants to be associated with either. I am thinking of sports betting companies and maybe tomorrow cryptocurrencies. In the short term, it may save the finances of some clubs, but is it good in the long term? Restoring the image of Belgian football is the great challenge of the new president of the Pro League, Lorin Parys. In the meantime, the situation can benefit others. Belfius has a sponsorship budget and the means that will no longer go to football will go to other sports or to cultural actions. The bank made it clear that it would continue to finance the national hockey team. This could, why not, benefit women’s football which currently has a very positive image.


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