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What: Boston-based sportswear company New Balance signed new sponsorship deals with Spanish soccer club Athletic Bilbao, and Ireland’s Football Association. With these two new deals, New Balance is replacing competitors Nike and Umbro as sports wear sponsor of the above mentioned soccer clubs.
Why it matters: The Irish soccer team has a large following among the many U.S. soccer fans of Irish origin.. In fact this Thursday the Ireland National Team is set to play Mexico in New Jersey’s Met Life Stadium.

New Balance, the Boston-based sports wear multinational company has broken into  one of Europe’s longest soccer sponsorships. The company announced that, starting September 2017, it will be the sponsor of the Irish National Soccer Team.  English sportswear supplier Umbro had been Ireland’s kit supplier since 1994. The deal includes a full kit, training apparel, and equipment for the Ireland’s international teams including its underage division.

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“The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) is delighted to announce this relationship. The Republic of Ireland jersey is recognizable all around the world and is synonymous with the passion that our players and our supporters are renowned for,” stated John Delaney, FAI CEO.

New Balance seems to have set its eyes on soccer. The American brand sponsors major clubs including Liverpool, Celtic, FC Porto, Sevilla, LOSC Lille, and the national soccer teams of Costa Rica and Panama.

In addition, starting with the 2017/18 season in the fall  New Balance will become Athletic Bilbao’s new kit, training wear and equipment sponsor for the next six years.

“We are delighted to embrace and share this new era for the Club, in which we face the tough task of defending our philosophy and moving forward based on our own approach to football. We feel that New Balance will become part of the history of our club, and are looking forward to working together on the challenges that await us in the future,” said Josu Urrutia, Athletic Bilbao President, in a statement.

By signing this new deal, the Spanish soccer club decided to end the relationship it had with Nike since 2013.The basque soccer club will show off its new gear during a friendly match against Georgia on September 2.

What: Uniform manufacturers, banks, cement companies, and casinos top the list of Mexican soccer sponsors.
Why it matters: Knowing what Mexican brands are targeting Mexican soccer fans also offers interesting clues about brand affinity of Mexican-Americans in the U.S. In addition, having the exclusive for making and selling team uniforms, or having your beer logo on a team jersey – in addition to selling the beverage at the stadium – are profitable investments for brands, even if sponsorship figures for Mexican soccer remain undisclosed.

descarga (7)Liga Mx, which according to statistics is followed by at least 60% of the Mexican population, has a series of sponsoring brands that are split among those which produce team uniforms, and those which stamp their names or logos on the garments used by the players on each of the 18 teams that make up the largest Mexican soccer league.

First are the brands that manufacture and provide the teams with their uniforms:

Puma leads the league with five teams (Atlas, Santos, Monterrey, Guadalajara, and Querétaro); Charly with three clubs (Veracruz, Puebla, and Chiapas); Nike with three teams (Pumas, América, and Pachuca); Pirma with two clubs (Morelia and Leon); Under Armour with two teams (Cruz Azul and Toluca); Adidas with two clubs (Tigres and Tijuana), and Umbro with one team (Necaxa).

The dollar value of the sponsorships is guarded with great secrecy, and neither the brands nor the teams generally divulge the numbers that grant them the exclusive rights to the manufacture and sale of team jerseys. With retail prices that range from 900 to 1,300 pesos, it translates into a very profitable business for sponsors.

 

Las marcas que visten a los equipos de la Liga MX
Marca Equipo
Puma Atlas
Santos
Monterrey
Guadalajara
Querétaro
Charly Veracruz
Puebla
Chiapas
Nike Pumas
América
Pachuca
Pirma Morelia
León
Under Armour Cruz Azul
Toluca
Adidas Tigres
Tijuana
Humbro Necaxa

descarga (8)But even when sportswear brands are globally renowned, industry experts say that the crux of the sponsorship business is not in who makes the uniforms, but in the brand that supports each of the teams – and whose logo appears on team jerseys – as is the case of beer brands in markets like Germany, Brazil, and  Mexico.

The relationship between beer and soccer fans does not seem to be a coincidence, since the three countries (Mexico, Brazil and Germany) are the most important beer producers. Beer has thus become the sponsor of such important sports events as the Super Bowl, Europe’s Champions League, Formula One, and Mexico’s Liga Mx.

When the Liga Mx championship was defined, the Tigres wore the Tecate brand on their jersey, while the América wore the Corona brand. As all the fans know today, the corona or crown, was taken by the Nuevo León team.

Liga MX Beer Brand Sponsors
Brand Team
Corona Atlas
Corona Santos
Tecate Monterrey
Tecate Guadalajara
Corona Querétaro
Tecate Veracruz
Corona Puebla
Corona Chiapas
_______ Pumas
Corona América
Corona Pachuca
Corona Morelia
Corona León
Tecate Cruz Azul
Corona Toluca
Tecate Tigres
Bud Light Tijuana
Corona Necaxa

But other brands also want the attention their product would get by being printed on a uniform. This is the case with cement companies that sponsor their own teams, such as Cruz Azul, Cementos Fortaleza (Pachuca), and Cemex (Tigres); banks such as Banamex (Toluca and Pumas), BBVA Bancomer (Monterrey), Multiva (Querétaro), and Compartamos Banco (Chiapas); and, most recently, casino chain Caliente.

In fact, Caliente – which includes the online betting site Caliente.mx – is the brand that arrived in mid-2016 and went on to become one of the main sponsors of Mexican soccer, with its support of four teams: Tijuana, Puebla , Morelia, and Chiapas, and is poised to increase its sponsorship efforts starting in the second half of 2017.

Debora Montesinos contributed in this article