Tough global economy or not, major brands around the world are continuing to see top-level soccer as a perfect way to connect with consumers and to branch out into new markets. In Europe, for example, corporate spending on shirt sponsorships in the top leagues has doubled since 2010 and now sits at US$900-million a year. Around 40% of that goes to the English Premier League, according to sports consultancy Repucom.
Spain, however, is not far behind and leading club Barcelona this week signed a four-year US$233-million shirt sponsorship with Rakuten, a major Japanese online retailer that now has ambitions to tap into a global consumer audience. “The deal with one of Europe’s most successful football teams signals Rakuten’s desire to gain global recognition for a brand that is already a household name in its home market,” reports the ‘Financial Times’ newspaper.
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