An interesting partnership with a unique goal.
As English Premier League teams begin selling sleeve sponsorships, there are two clear standouts at this point.
First, Tinder became the official sleeve sponsor of EPL giants Manchester United.
Now, the Angry Birds logo will appear on the Everton jersey sleeve as they signed a deal earlier this year with games giant Rovio Entertainment.
For those who don’t know what Angry Birds is, it is a mobile game in which the user essentially slingshots birds at pigs. If that doesn’t sound intriguing, I don’t know what does. There are 16 versions of the game and an Angry Birds movie.
With teams beginning to steer away from traditional sponsorships, it begs the question, why? Why Tinder and Angry Birds? Well, with the jersey sleeve, teams are turning more towards entities that provide increasingly important captive digital audiences.
Angry Birds has upward of 80 million monthly active users with over 3.7 billion game downloads, 450 million of those coming in 2016 alone. The reach of Angry Birds in the digital space opens Everton to a whole new world of potential fans.
Not only has the app been incredibly successful, but the Angry Birds movie generated about $350 million in box office revenue worldwide and opened number one in 50 countries including the US, UK and China.
This partnership will allow Angry Birds to get a ton of worldwide exposure, while giving Everton the opportunity to run unique promotions to the app users and convert the Angry Birds audience into Everton supporters.
Dr. Charles Campisi, Assistant Professor of Sport Management at Baldwin Wallace University, weighed in.
“The value of the sleeve sponsorships to the sponsors like Angry Birds and Tinder is readily apparent. The global exposure of EPL teams, specifically in the ManU/Tinder coupling, is substantial and it keeps Tinder, Angry Birds, and any of the other names and brands in front of millions of people on a continual basis. The value to the teams, other than in direct revenue generation from the sponsorship fee is a little more challenging to decipher. The inclusion of the Everton brand/logo in the Angry Birds game could provide exposure to new fan bases and lends itself to some additional in-app integration on multiple levels, which would be very beneficial. However, the Tinder/ManU partnership, while potentially providing some interesting activation opportunities, appears to benefit Tinder much more than it would benefit ManU.”
Another noteworthy jersey sleeve sponsorship is that of Crystal Palace and Chinese football app Dongqiudi. Since its creation in 2013, Dongqiudi has garnered over 30 million downloads and is the number one football app in China. While this is not quite as unique as the two previously mention, it is yet another club that will look to reach a previously untapped digital audience.
These are the kind of “thinking outside the box” ideas that will benefit these clubs immensely. This goes to show that it pays to be innovative and willing to try something different.
Many clubs have brought on traditional sleeve sponsors, and there is nothing wrong with that. They will likely bring value to both the clubs and sponsoring organizations. However, the clubs that are getting innovative are drawing a lot of positive attention.
While these are ultimately soccer jersey sponsorships, this type of thinking can be extremely beneficial in everyday life. We constantly have to find ways to stand out, so looking at something like a simple sleeve sponsorship and analyzing the effects can be inspiration to start being more creative, especially if things are not going as planned.
This piece has been presented to you by SMU’s Master of Science in Sport Management.
Front Office Sports is a leading multi-platform publication and industry resource that covers the intersection of business and sports.
Want to learn more, or have a story featured about you or your organization? Contact us today.