Last week Tottenham agreed to a sponsorship deal with American sports brand Under Armour. The deal will see them replace Puma as the shirt manufacturer for the 2012/13 season. It might seem like it a boring subject, but there are some interesting points to discuss.
As an American brand, and a relatively unknown one in Europe, Under Armour was keen to secure the sponsorship of Tottenham to raise their brand awareness. For this reason, they are apparently paying £10m a year, for the rights to make Tottenham’s training kit and replica shirts. This is twice the figure that Deloitte reported Puma to be paying for the same rights.
However, being a big American company on a mission of expansion, Under Armour will want to make a big impression. Here are three ways they might try to be different, and the reasons that Under Armour could split the opinion of the fans.
Firstly, Under Armour currently makes the kit for football clubs Hannover 96 and Estudiantes Tecos (Mexico). One thing to note about these kits is that they are both tight fitting around the chest. Tottenham fans might, here, think back to the Kappa kit of the 2005/06 season. While this looks great on a professional athlete, it doesn’t on the average football fan.
Secondly, the kits are innovative and not classic, with big blocks of colour contrasting each other. The colours that have been used so far for Hannover are new and futuristic opposed to classic shades. Estudiantes’ deal with Under Armour coincided with a rebranding of their club. This saw them change their club kit colours from White and Red to ‘Wine and Yellow’ with Under Armour. (Their new kit is pictured above). I hope Tottenham do not follow that path. I was never a massive fan of the yellow trim on the kit and I think a Tottenham kit should be a simple Lilywhite and Blue.
Thirdly, Under Armour produces American Football kits which feature the ‘E39’ technology. Basically, the shirts are fitted with a micro chip that is able to record heart-rate, body temperature and other vital statistics. Furthermore, it allows a coach to see exactly how fast a player is moving, how quickly they change direction and how many yards they cover during a game.
This helps managers in their analysis of players and also helps them in deciding substitutions. In football this information would allow viewers to know just how high Rooney’s heart rate is when he screams at a referee, or just how cool Berbatov is in front of goal.
Personally, I think that is ridiculous. It is invasive and unnecessary. It is an example of the extent of corporate influence in sport in America. I hope Tottenham don’t use it and I hope it doesn’t catch on in the Premiership. It would just be a distraction to the beautiful game.
I just hope Under Armour don’t try too hard to promote their brand before that of Tottenham. Most importantly, I hope Under Armour stick to the basics of making a football kit. Sadly, they have not done that so far and are unlikely to do it now.
But all in all, I don’t have a massive problem with the new sponsors as it is a good way for Tottenham to increase their revenue. If Under Armour are willing to pay £10m a year, that is a good thing. This will give the club more money to spend and shows that Tottenham, as a club, is becoming a bigger brand.
What do Tottenham fans make of the new deal with Under Armour? You can let me know at www.twitter.com/joeaustin8