The dimension of soccer as a mass sport has reached unimaginable levels. From its conception by the English (although its origin dates back to China centuries ago), it has captivated both the youth and adults throughout its history. Now, The exaltation from its devoted followers has become a niche market that moves 500,000 million euros per year.
Sport has been a part of human history since ancient times; whether as an instrument to exert power, influence, or entertainment, its socio-cultural character has always been present in all kinds of civilizations over time.
Qualified as a mass activity, it is able to attract million of people, either to participate in an active manner (athlete) or passive (as a spectator). Its presence has been seen reflected in a multitude of events along history: Olympics, roman circus, medieval tournaments or as an exclusive occupation for ruling classes in modern times.
It has not been since the middle twentieth century until now, when this kind of activity has acquired a different dimension, beyond a social or healthy purpose.
Its pass-time quality has been the one that has had the most impact, becoming one of the most profitable business in the world; nowadays, soccer in the western world is the maximum exponent.
Thanks to globalization, soccer’s competitive qualities has been boosted, and the resulting economic benefits, multiplied. Considered the king of sports, the big brands find in their competitions and sport entities a magnificent showcase to use as their presentation platform.
The 20 soccer clubs with the highest turnover in the world have accumulated 8,300 million euros in revenue during the 2017-2018 season. Thus, the capacities of these companies to generate such figures are based on activities during matches (tickets sales), broadcasting rights and derived commercial activities, such as merchandising, tours and sponsors. Before such figures, the big brands see an opportunity in advertising.
First, investing huge amounts of money, they achieve visibility and differentiation from competing companies; Secondly, the brand image benefits, since they allow companies to reinforce their values by relating them to healthy life style habits; lastly, advertising results to be very profitable, as massification of the media, together with the number of followers, make it specially effective.
The numbers speak for themselves: in the top 10, the company Fly Emirates is positioned as the leading patron of European soccer, with a total investment of 178 million euros in 2019. Some clubs and sport entities that benefited are Real Madrid (with 70 million just in 2019), Arsenal, Paris Saint Germain or the A. C. Milan. Russian gas company Gazprom follows with an expense of approximately 80 million euros. Third place belongs to Nissan, with 72 million euros of investment, followed by Heineken (69 million euros), PlayStation (63 million euros), Mastercard (60 million euros), Chevrolet (59 million euros), Volkswagen (59 million euros), Santander (59 million euros) and the Japanese Rakuten in last place, that sponsors the F.C. Barcelona with 55 million euros.
The ranking is led by Fly Emirates, since it is the company that dedicates the most money to the business, although the largest presence is dominated by the automotive and services industry.
Finally, it is fit to highlight the central focus of these investments; brands bet in the most part on the five European big leagues, as well as the Champions League, given that they are the ones that offer the best sport results in terms of number of followers, massification, fame and investment by the clubs.