Talking Soccer: Jersey sponsors

Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku celebrates after scoring his side third goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Everton at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

This weekend, I watched the Sunday morning match between Manchester United and Everton, which included a beautiful half-volley from Antonio Valencia and featured Wayne Rooney’s return to Old Trafford, facing his former teammates at United. 

Throughout the match, I saw something in Everton and it wasn’t anything in their style of play since they lost 4-0. It was something on their sleeves. More precisely, it was the sponsor.

Angry Birds was stamped across the right sleeve of each Everton player’s jersey. The video game that evolved into a franchise, had made its way into soccer.

I looked it up and there it was: one of the angry birds wearing a tiny blue Everton jersey. It was quite cute. More than that, it showed how far sponsorships have come. It also inspired me to rank the worst (or best, you decide) soccer sponsorship through the years.

8. Real Madrid and Comic Sans (2013-14): Real Madrid is sponsored by one of the biggest brands in sports, ADIDAS. A few years ago, their jersey featured a Comic Sans font for player names and numbers. It basically looked like it was designed by a little kid on Paint.

Who allowed that? We will never know.

7.  Barcelona and the never ending advertisements on their jerseys: This is not about the type of sponsor but rather the quantity of sponsors. I remember the good old days when Barcelona had the UNICEF logo across their chest and that was it.

There was nothing else on the beautiful jersey. Until Qatar Airways came along, then Beko, then Rakuten and Herba Life. Their jersey had become a collage of sponsors. I’m just nostalgic about the times the jersey was plain and simple. I know soccer fans miss it too. 

6. AC Milan and POOH (1980s): This sponsorship was big part of the 1980’s for Milan and according to ESPN, it’s regarded as the first soccer sponsorship. Regardless, POOH jeans across the shirt just looks bad.

5. Atletico Astorga Hulk kit (2017): the Spanish third tier team will be sporting a green jersey this season. More than that, it is literally inspired by The Hulk, and even has the muscles drawn on the shirt. The kit is complete with blue shorts and green socks.

4. Portsmouth and TY (2002-2005): Portsmouth was sponsored by TY, the owner of the cuddly cute Beanie Babies and stuffed animals you see everywhere. A red heart with the TY in the middle of it. Fluffy and cute.

3. Getafe and Burger King (2009-11): Burger King has been the sponsor of the lesser known Madrid team and is just one of those oxymorons where a fast food chain sponsors a sports team. The thing is that the Burger King logo was so big on the shirt. So big.

2. Everton and Angry Birds (2017): I’m still amazed that a team allowed Angry Birds to be a sponsor.

1. Atletico Madrid and Columbia Pictures (2003-2004): The 2000s were just a crazy time in fashion. Atletico was sponsored by the movie producers and their jerseys were more or less used as a green screen to advertise their movies.

When the Spiderman movie was coming out, Columbia Pictures decided to use the players as walking advertisements in one of the most ridiculous soccer fashion statements in years.


Daniela Marulanda is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at daniela.marulanda@uconn.edu.