Up Close And Personal: Sleeve Partnerships As Part Of The Recipe For Success In Football

Germany is home to just shy of 24 million football fans – a huge target audience that can be tapped into with a sleeve partnership.

And a strong presence at a club doesn’t just open up new target groups: it also offers the opportunity to generate additional revenue and sales in the medium to long term. With sport as a platform and sleeve sponsorship specifically, companies can establish and grow their brand awareness nationally and, in part, internationally, thanks to the emotions associated with the sport. If you’re thinking about a premium partnership with a football team, you might first consider a sponsorship that involves putting your logo on the chest of the jersey.

But since the 2017/2018 Bundesliga season, there has been another opportunity for companies to get their name on the jersey: sleeve sponsorship. Positioning a logo on the left sleeve of the jersey is a good way to engage with sponsorship. The “little sister” of chest sponsorship doesn’t just give pro clubs more financial opportunities: it also gives medium-sized companies a great opportunity to show their presence at a club and its fans.

What can be achieved with sleeve sponsorship?

Depending on the goal, sleeve partnerships can also be expanded to include other sponsorship assets – such as perimeter advertising or the promotion of a club’s up-and-coming talent. The integration of a brand into a club on various channels leads to a substantially clearer perception and advertising presence. A presence on sleeves, in particular, expresses closeness, connection and a particular status to fans.

Alongside the primary sponsorship on the front of the jersey, sleeve sponsorship is the only option that offers an extension to traditional media. The sleeve sponsor’s logo is visible in every image and video where the club’s jersey is seen. This form of sponsorship also involves a great deal of proximity to athletes.

Best Case: Popp Feinkost x HSV

Popp Feinkost and Hamburger SV show just how well a sleeve partnership can work. The food producer has been present on the left sleeve of the club’s jersey since the 2017/18 season and recently extended their contract to run until 2024. Despite the club slipping into the second league in 2018, brand awareness, sales and turnover have increased. While general awareness of Popp Feinkost sits 41 percent for football fans, this figure 67 percent for HSV supporters. 43 percent of Hamburger SV fans buy products from Popp, showing that the partnership with HSV enhances the regional preference for their delicacies. The proportion of repeat purchases is also substantially higher for HSV fans than football supporters in general.

The Hamburger SV and Popp Feinkost: It simply fits. The regionally anchored partnership has become a success for all parties involved, so it is no coincidence that it is one of SPORTFIVE's Success Stories, where the formula for its success is presented in even greater detail.

Best Case: Hyundai x Hertha BSC

Another best case is the collaboration between Hyundai and Hertha BSC Berlin. In 2018, the South Korean car manufacturer wanted to expand its reach in Europe through sports sponsorship. Its goal? To make the brand visible with a presence on jersey sleeves and boost awareness among a large target audience.

The partnership was expanded with numerous other logo placements, including with LED bands, cam carpets and actions in the direct vicinity of the Olympic Stadium. Hyundai was on the sleeve of Berlin’s club for four seasons – and saw numerous successes. Their brand awareness and support figures increased continuously.

Low barriers to entry

Sleeve partnerships aren’t just a successful marketing tool for international companies: they are perfect for medium-sized firms, too. The barriers to entry are lower than for “big” sponsorship on a jersey chest and make it easier to step into the world of sports sponsorship. Success is sure to follow. In other words, they have the best prospects for companies wanting to start their sponsorship journey.

Beyond the Match
The SPORTFIVE Magazine

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