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Ducor Sports Live Blog: Why is Chad Sponsoring a French Football Team?

UPDATED April 25, 2019 11:58 am .


Francis Cordor
April 25, 2019 11:58 am

The news came as a bit of a shock: Chad, the beleaguered African country and one of the poorest in the world, is sponsoring FC Metz, a French football team. Initially a head-scratcher, we’re finding out more about the deal and the reasons for it.

In international sports, sponsorship is relatively common. Nike and Adidas, for example, spend tens of millions of dollars per year sponsoring athletes. Qatar Airlines spends roughly $40 million per year to sponsor FC Barcelona. Under Armour recently aligned with the Welsh Rugby Union and has slowly, but surely, gained market share in North America trailing only Nike in the sportswear market.

Why do these companies spend millions upon millions of dollars sponsoring sports? As much as fans love sports for the sake of sports, the corporate world wants something in return. What exactly are they buying when they sponsor a team or an athlete?

  1. They’re buying exposure. No doubt, that’s why companies like Coca-Cola are willing to shell out $100 million to sponsor events like the Olympics. But there’s more than eyeballs alone that motivate sponsorships.
  2. They’re buying reputation. Corporations spend big bucks to align themselves with the best of the best, like Roger Federer who earns an estimated $60 million each year in endorsements from Wilson, Gillette, Credit Suisse, Nike, and Mercedes-Benz. Because reputation is what they’re really buying, this also explains why sponsors such as Polo Ralph Lauren, Speedo, Airweave, and Gentle Hair Removal all distanced themselves from Ryan Lochte after he admitted to lying about getting robbed in Rio.

So, back to Chad and its sponsorship of FC Metz. What is Chad buying for the reported cost of $2.25 to $4.5 million per year? The same thing Coca-Cola, Nike, Under Armour, Qatar Airlines, and everyone else is buying: exposure and reputation.

Chad has been dealing with terrorism, corruption, and economic decline. This deal has been widely reported as being Chad’s key to improving the nation’s reputation abroad and encouraging tourism. Chad’s minister of sports, Betel Miarom, told L’Equipe that Chad needs to erase its negative image and become known in a positive manner.

FC Metz currently has a presence in Senegal with its Generation Foot academy. FC Metz President Bernard Serin expects the agreement to help young footballers from Chad gain access to the academy. Moreover, plans are being made for FC Metz to provide guidance in developing football further in Chad.

Aligning the country with a French Ligue 1 team will certainly increase Chad’s visibility. Assuming the team does well, it could also provide Chad with a reputation boost.

However, Chad is a country, not a corporation, so it’s not all about branding. Sports has the power to unite and inspire, both of which are sorely needed in war-torn nations like Chad. Though the sponsorship has raised eyebrows, it could be an important first step in further developing football to its full potential in Chad.

 

Featured Photo: courtesy of Sparse. (Reuters/Finbarr O’Reilly)








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