top of page

How is sponsorship shaping the sport?

When going into a sports event, you might have seen the logos of companies everywhere and slogans containing their names, such as the “Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show” in the NFL. But what sort of influence do those marketing actions have on the public, and are they merely present to entertain?

The first ever sponsorship can be dated back to the 5th century BC in Ancient Greece, where it first appeared as a tax paid by citizens that would finance major competitions and other public events. These taxes had a significant contribution to the economic as well as cultural development of the cities of Athens and Olympia.

After hundreds of years there are sponsorships everywhere and some huge companies have made notable deals to make this happen. This is the case of Adidas, that reportedly pays approximately 120 million euros annually to Real Madrid to have the three stripes appearing on the upper right side of their jersey. The merengues's benefits go way beyond just the extra source of income, as this relationship represents an opportunity for the club to expand its brand globally and reach new audiences that aren't familiarized with the soccer world. This goal of aiming for other markets, is also interesting for Adidas as they profit and expand their brand as well. One example is French luxury fashion brand Lacoste, since 2017 sponsoring world's No. 1 tennis player Novak Djokovic in order to diversify its product portfolio while attempting to bring sport lovers to the vogue of things by demonstrating that tennis apparel can also be fashion trends.

Now merging into a very distinct market we have Red Bull, that managed to completely establish new boundaries into the way a sponsorship can shape sports, more specifically extreme sports. In 1995, the charging bulls partnered with Sauber team and exposed themselves publicly for the very first time, but it was just in 2004 that things really changed. That year marked not only a sponsorship but an ownership, with the beginning of Red Bull Racing, the company's first actual team in NASCAR and Formula One. Since then, the brand started other teams in a range of other sports which alteredpublic perception about them. This move encouraged other brands to enter the sports world, turning it into a market for companies to promote themselves, focusing more on the business of things such as having famous sports personalities marketing for them, and at the same time take advantage from all the glory brought by competitive sports with fans cheering for the brand. However, this doesn't only represent a form of entertainment because those fans will eventually become potential new customers.

More recently, cryptocurrencies and NFTs are aggressively seeking for sports and the deal between NBA franchise Miami Heat and Bahamian cryptocurrency exchange FTX demonstrate that. It was signed in March 2021, being valid for 19 years, worth $135 million and from now on, the Florida team's arena will contain their naming rights. Fans can own and sell NFTs that contain important pictures and moments from the games, while also gain exclusive benefits just by possessing the tokens. Miami is just an example in many due to this trend being quickly spread throughout the entire league, as this action represents the monopolization of cryptos and a phenomenal opportunity not only for basketball, but for sports in general, to remain up to date with this powerful digital movement.

In conclusion, sponsorships are shaping the major competitions into a gigantic business portal for companies while maintaining the competitive prestige that upbeat peoples' hearts.


Buy and Sell Crypto on FTX: Bitcoin, Ethereum and More,

“Home of Miami Heat Officially Renamed as FTX Arena.” NBC 6 South Florida, NBC 6 South Florida, 4 June 2021,

Inu, Shiba. “FTX Is Offering Away USD 500 to Just about Every Spectator in Any Area at the Opening Match at the FTX Arena.” CoinLive, 22 Oct. 2021,

“Real Madrid Sign Reported €1.1 Billion New Adidas Deal.” Real Madrid Sign Reported €1.1 Billion New Adidas Deal |,

“Red Bull's Approach to Marketing: Then and Now: BANKNOTES: BANKNOTES.” RSS,

“Sponsorship History Part 1.” Elevent,

“The Official Website.” Novak Djokovic,


bottom of page