Unrecognised potential: training wear partnerships in football

More and more often, international football teams wear a different sponsor during training or on their warm-up clothing than on the classic jersey worn during matches. In Germany, the potential of this sponsorship has not yet really been recognised - though it offers numerous advantages for companies as well as rights holders. In this insight, we take a look at what sponsorship on training clothing of football teams can achieve. We look at the advantages for sponsors, successful partnerships abroad and the potential and opportunities for clubs in the Bundesliga.

More interaction through training wear

One of the biggest advantages with these training wear partnerships is the opportunity for increased engagement with fans and therefore higher reach that sponsors can get this way. Both clubs and the players themselves share photos and videos of training sessions, reaching countless people through their social media channels. It is these native prolongations that drive up the reach and provide content outside of match days that is particularly authentic. The local presence of the sponsors at the training ground also increases the visibility of the brand for fans and visitors.

Especially during the week, training formats on social media are a good way to create added value for fans. Exclusive insights, highlight clips or challenges in which players take part are formats often used by clubs - and the training clothes are inevitably in focus. If there is also a storyline running through the content that matches the values of the training sponsor, the added value of such a partnership can be even higher. In the case of the partnership between Manchester City and crypto exchange OKX, for example, Haider Rafique, Global Chief Marketing Officer, says: "The real grit and perseverance is built on the training ground. This is the way we want to nurture new users on our platform."

Training wear activations can also build bridges between the digital and analogue worlds and connect the fan with the players on the training pitch. Once again, ManCity does this well, with training wear sponsor OKX doing street art in Manchester, for example, or house music pioneer Oliver Heldens performing with Manchester City player Jack Grealish in the "Mixing in the Metaverse" DJ set. All of these activations pay into community marketing and connect fans all over the world with the team and the brand.

Best Case: Chelsea FC x Trivago

Trivago's cooperation with Chelsea FC is particularly successful in terms of training wear partnerships. With the cooperation brokered by SPORTFIVE, the travel website can reach almost 92 million followers through Chelsea's channels and another 190 million people through the footballers' accounts. While the main sponsor is only present on the social media channels on match days, Trivago is more or less permanently present during the week with its sponsorship on the training clothing. According to OMR, the market value of the advertising space on the training jersey could be as high as 40 million euros.

International football clubs and their training wear partners

Tottenham Hotspur & Getir

AC Milan & eFootball

Manchester City & OKX

Inter Milan & LeoVegas

Feyenoord Rotterdam & Jex

Real Betis & Corday

Potential for German clubs as well

While some clubs in Europe already work together with training wear partners, there is hardly a club in the Bundesliga that uses this potential. These sponsorships on training days are not regulated by the DFL and can be implemented according to the wishes of the club and the brand.

The situation is different on Bundesliga match days, but there are also opportunities for this type of sponsorship here. The additional advertising spaces are clearly defined in the regulations for training and warm-up clothing that will apply as of the new season. Depending on the item of clothing, there are different areas on which sponsors' logos can be placed. In addition to the equipment supplier, the sleeve sponsor and the jersey sponsor, an additional partner may occupy a space on the warm-up clothing. This gives the German Football League (DFL) and its clubs the opportunity to market two additional, different rights: the training wear partnership and the matchday clothing.

What are the options for rights holders?

Several possibilities are imaginable for a cooperation between companies and clubs in terms of training wear and warm-up clothing. For example, the two new individual rights could be packaged as a module and offered to the main sponsors as an upgrade. Potential new jersey sponsors could also be convinced to become main sponsors through the large social media reach that is added by this package.

Another option is to market training and warm-up wear separately from each other and from other rights. This allows rights holders to increase the number of partners and diversify revenue streams.

The merging of the two rights into one training wear partnership is also a possible option. This way, there is another main partner, so to speak, who mainly appears during training in the week, as well as in the warm-up and cool down on match day. This sponsor gets double media exposure through the social media activities of the players and the club during the week, as well as through the visibility on TV on match day.

Regardless of what companies and clubs ultimately decide on, the marketing of training and matchday clothing is a great potential that both parties should not let go to waste.

Beyond the Match
The SPORTFIVE Magazine

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