Monday, December 13, 2010

Soccer Shirt Sponsors

While we are on the topic of soccer shirts, for a long time now European clubs have had sponsors names on their shirts.  For the first few years, MLS forbid the practice but over time, like many other things (the clock that used to count down, the shoot-out in the case of a tie, and so on) MLS has slowly converged to the world standard and now allows sponsors on shirt fronts.  Not all have them yet, but the Timbers scored a good one in Alaska Airlines.

Despite the near universality of the practice there was one club that stood out: Barcelona.  Until a few years ago their shirt was beautifully free of commercial messages.  Recently they have put UNICEF on their shirts but actually donate to UNICEF rather than take a payment.  However, apparently even Barcelona has bowed to the economic pressure and will now have a shirt sponsor.  Sad.

Reminds me of the first time a stadium naming right was sold: Candlestick Park in SF became 3COM park.  Seemed crass and ridiculous at the time, but very very quickly the naming rights were sold to just about every other stadium - even iconic ones like Mile High Stadium (though it was a new stadium).

Of course in Oregon we have our own anachronism: The Rose Garden.  I hope this does not go the same way Barcelona has gone, but I don't have a lot of faith that it won't.

HT: Freakonomics

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