The intricate partnership between the sponsored and sponsors is over a century old but that doesn’t stop each of them making somewhat unfortunate choices from time to time
The logic of sponsorship in sport doesn’t escape me. Teams and events spend quite outrageous amounts of money in costs and overheads, recouping that money in any way possible is entirely in keeping with our capitalistic economic norms, and indeed the sponsors’ desire to be associated with popular or famous teams and events to gain them wider exposure or kudos is equally understandable. It is, on the face of it, a win-win situation, but for those of us just watching, it can be a little jarring.
Former DONG Cup In Denmark
• Sports Sponsorship well over 100 years old
• Danish Cup bets accepted at ComeOn! Sporsbook
One only need look at the logo splattered jumpsuits of Formula One motor racing drivers to know that we have little choice but to accept the situation. If the uber-rich circle-driving circus of posh boys we call F1 is willing to sully itself in this manner, cars treated like mobile billboards, drivers dragged out like freaks at an asylum to perform for their corporate masters at drinks dos and presentations, what hope do less fiscally backed sports have?
Not that this is a sudden development of the last few years or even decades. Wimbledon gained an “official ball” supplier as far back as 1902 and their “partnership” with Slazenger continues to this day as the visibility of the logo at Wimbledon 2015 will attest. For over a hundred years business has clutched onto any chance at association with public popularity, and sports have needed more funds than mere entry fees and ticket prices can reasonably bear.
Those in popular well publicized sports are sought after, gold medal winners, top goal scorers, winning drivers all having no problem finding sponsors willing to splash the cash gambling news
of their association will rub some of the sports star’s popularity or reputation off unto them. Those in lesser followed sports will have more difficulty in attracting sponsors and indeed may have to jump through a few more hoops to attract attention.
Does Money Call The Shots In Sport?
Despite the now well established nature of sports sponsorship there are still those that rail against it, typically trotting out some half-baked theory of capitalistic corporate tainting in which the money will change the very nature of the sport as the sponsors make demands for their money that compromise its basic traditions or culture. They paint an horrific picture of a future where the sponsors not only have huge sway over the sports they bless, but call the shots and bend the sports content to their will and needs.
If that sounds familiar it’s because it’s the basis of the superbly watchable 1975 sci-fi classic “Rollerball” in which a knee-padded James Caan becomes a popular hero in a society where individualism has been stifled by over-arching corporate interests. Of course in the movie the corporate control of the sport came to nothing, however dangerous they made it, Jimmy won through, and that explores the risk sponsors run as much as the damage they can do.
The manifest and obvious benefits are somewhat offset by the risks each side runs. Corporations and sports stars these days are equally capable of being embroiled in a scandal that will tarnish the reputation of the other, and indeed one can measure the severity of wrong doing in any scandal by the rapidity with which the accused is dumped by the other party as sponsored or sponsor. Of course this is slightly different when entire teams are involved, unless the scandal is really big.
The best example of team sponsorship is, of course, football where teams have long had their shirts laden down with logos for many years.
The sponsorship of Stoke City FC by Bet365 is well known, with teams across the premiership leagues of nearly every nation bearing the names of companies, as do the competitions in which they compete, and the stadiums where they play. This is as true in smaller nations as the larger ones.
From Bad To Worse
It is only recently, for instance, that the Danish version of the FA Cup competition was able to relax and once again call itself “The Danish Cup” having been through a long process of progressively worse corporate based name changes. When they called it the Giro Cup in 1990 I’m sure Danes didn’t notice the snickers from the UK where that word is used to denote unemployment benefit payments, but surely someone must have noticed their next choice in 1997 of Compaq Cup just made it sound diminished.
Danish gambling laws might be a tad odd, but they are by no means as amusing as the choice in 2000 to have the competition sponsored by the nation’s largest energy supplier, a company whose name quite ordinarily means Danish Oil & Natural Gas, but is unfortunately abbreviated to DONG. Denmark was stuck with the DONG Cup for four years, after which it sponsored by a tabloid newspaper whose app was banned by Apple for including breasts. Thankfully the deal with Ekstra Bladet ended in 2011.
So now the Danish Cup is just as it should be, at least in terms of name, harking back far more to its 1955 origins and the national nature of the competition. The first round sees 88 teams square off against each other (already having been whittled down by regional cup competitions and league division placement. Over four rounds that is reduced to just 8 teams that go into the quarterfinals, with ComeOn! Sporsbook still showing FC Copenhagen as favorites at 3.10, Brondby just behind on 4.80 and AaB at 6.30 alongside Esbjerg.
Those of you who like to bet on sport in Denmark will already be aware that anything can happen in a cup competition and the chances are those odds won’t last long, with AaB, the current champions, perhaps an attractive wager at that price. Copenhagen have won the competition twice more than AaB and are looking strong to repeat their 2012 win, but you have to wonder how soon someone will successfully defend their title. They might lack a main sponsor but the Danish Cup still has plenty to watch and wager on.