Sport has the power to eternalise
Sport is a strange concept. Why does a person running across a white line, a ball rippling the net or a super-car reaching the finish line spur so much emotion?
When sport is broken down into its arbitrary form, as above, it may seem strange that it has such a strong influence on people from all walks of life, but when taking a closer look at some of the most iconic moments in history, it’s clear to see how much sport truly means to us all.
As sport has developed, brands from all industries have understood the importance of being a part of these magical moments and harnessing the power of sport.
In this feature, we highlight some of the businesses who have eternalised their brand through recent sporting history.
Samsung and Chelsea’s 2012 Champions League title
Founded in 1905, London-based Chelsea FC have a strong and important history, largely centred around their historic stadium, Stamford Bridge. Despite its rich history, the club’s greatest successes have come in more recent times, with the most famous of those successes coming in 2012.
The 2012 UEFA Champions League final saw ‘The Blues’ take on six-time champions Bayern Munich. Having defeated one of the greatest teams of the modern era in Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona, Chelsea’s dream of winning their first ever UEFA Champions League title was made all the more challenging by playing the final at Bayern Munich’s home stadium.
A thrilling game, largely dominated by Bayern Munich, saw the German giants take the lead in the 83 minute before a last-gasp equaliser from Didier Drogba brought the blues back into the fold. After a nerve-wrecking extra-time period, which saw Bayern Munich miss a penalty, Chelsea won their first ever UEFA Champions League title on penalties.
Korean electronics brand Samsung had featured on the front of Chelsea’s shirts since 2005, with ‘The Blues’ doning the brand’s logo as they won 15 major honours in 10 years, but the memories from the club’s first ever UEFA Champions League trophy are ones which will live on forever.
Carlsberg and ‘The Miracle of Istanbul’
The 2005 UEFA Champions League final between Liverpool and AC Milan is one of the most iconic football matches in recent times.
As Europe’s premier club competition, the UEFA Champions League final is always one of the biggest spectacles in the footballing calendar. The 2005 final in Istanbul took this already momentous occasion to new heights, as Liverpool became the first team to ever overturn a three goal deficit in the final of the competition.
Having conceded after just one minute of play, Liverpool were losing by three goals at halftime as their fans feared their hopes of winning Europe’s greatest prize for the first time in 21 years were gone.
A truly remarkable second-half comeback saw Liverpool score three goals in 16 minutes before they went on to win the resulting penalty shootout in one of the most dramatic finals to date.
At the centre of all this drama were Liverpool’s long-standing shirt-sponsor Carlsberg. The Danish brewing company had featured on the famous red Liverpool shirt since 1992, seeing some notable highs such as the cup treble in 2001.
However, for most football fans, the brand will always be remembered for its prominent position in the ‘Miracle of Istanbul’.
Omega, Seiko and Usain Bolt’s world records
As the oldest sporting competition still being practised today, the Olympic Games is one of the true pinnacles of sport.
Arguably one of the most popular sports at the games is Athletics. An ever-present at the Olympics since before 776 BC, Athletics’ crown-jewel are the running races, where people from around the world tune in to find out who the fastest person on the planet is.
The 2008 Olympic Games In Beijing was the second most watched in the competition’s history, with over 3.5b people tuning in. On August 16, eight days after the memorable opening ceremony at the “Bird’s Nest” stadium, audiences were treated to one of the greatest sporting moments of all time as Usain Bolt broke the world record for the fastest 100m sprint in history.
As the world watched in awe, Bolt’s record numbers were transmitted across the globe, with one brand’s ingenious sponsorship placed at the fore-front. As the official scoreboard sponsor for the event, watch manufacturers Omega received unprecedented brand exposure through the new world record time.
Exactly one year later, Bolt broke his own record again at the World Athletic Championships in Berlin. This time, Omega’s competitor Seiko reaped the rewards of sponsorship as their brand was placed alongside the famous 9.58 seconds - a record which stands to this day.
Bibigo and record-breaking LeBron James
North America is home to some of the most popular and entertaining sporting leagues in the world. Featuring the most well-known sports organisations and athletes on the planet, many of the leagues are famous for producing mesmerising moments which forever etch themselves into sporting history.
Few leagues epitomise the value of star-athletes quite as much as the NBA. The league has been a hub for some of sport’s biggest stars for decades, producing legendary stars on the court and attracting world-famous names off of it.
Perhaps one of the league’s biggest stars is the LA Lakers’ forward, LeBron James. Having won four NBA titles, two Olympic gold medals, four most valuable player awards and appeared in 19 NBA All-Star teams LeBron is one of Basketball’s all time greats.
In February 2023, LeBron took this greatness to new heights as he surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s 39-year record to become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, with 38,390 points.
Having become the La Lakers second-ever jersey sponsor ahead of the 2021/22 season, Korean food company Bibigo will now forever be associated with one of the most iconic moments in sporting history - as ‘King James’ rewrote the history books.
Sponsorship in sport to raise awareness and grow your brand
Sponsorship in sport has been around since the ancient Greek and Roman times, with members of the higher-classes sponsoring sporting events to demonstrate a city's prestige and their own social standing.
Today, organisations from every corner of the world tap into sport’s captivating and engaging nature to build a stronger connection with their target audience and have reaped the rewards for their investments.
As reaching and engaging with the new generation of consumers becomes more and more challenging, sport's platform has become more important than ever before.