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Digital Activation: Football Naming Rights

From small traditional banks supporting their local clubs, to modern cryptocurrencies sponsoring esports events, Sport has always been an attractive property for brands in the Financial Services industry to associate themselves with. We will be bringing you a series of insights into these partnerships over the coming weeks, to try and determine which are the most beneficial to the sporting properties and the financial institutions, as well as how best to activate these partnerships once established.

European football heavyweights Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich and Liverpool are all currently benefit from such sponsorships, with the two German clubs playing at Signal Iduna Park and the Allianz Arena respectively, whilst Liverpool moved to the AXA Training Centre in October last year.

Signal Iduna are the least well known brand of the three, and as such their social media presence is small. They therefore use their official account purely to advertise their own products, and there is no reference to their sponsorship of Dortmund’s stadium at all in their posts on Facebook. They instead activate their sponsorship through the usage of the page of the stadium itself. This page has five times as many followers as Signal Iduna, and on each post the Signal Iduna logo appears next to the logo of the club.

Allianz, meanwhile, is a significantly more well known brand than Signal Iduna – with 60 times more followers on Facebook! This means that it is very likely that Allianz have lots of followers who are not fans of Bayern Munich, so posts celebrating Bayern are kept to a minimum – there is only one post in 2021 so far that features the club, and that generated a reach of 300.000. However, on the page of the Allianz Arena, the activation is less than the Signal Iduna activation on their stadium page. The Allianz Arena page is used predominantly as an extension of Bayern’s own page, as the posts are on topics such as the team’s next matches. This suggests that the page is run by the team, and any benefit to Allianz for sponsoring the stadium just comes from the name of the page, and no additional activation.

Sponsoring a training ground is a relatively new concept, Liverpool’s new AXA Training Centre being the first time they have offered such a sponsorship package. This explains why the AXA Training Centre has so few followers, as fans are not yet accustomed to training venues being named in such a way, plus it is not somewhere they are ever likely to visit and “check-in” at. AXA, however, are making heavy use of their partnership with Liverpool, with regular posts on their official channel achieving the same reach as Allianz received from their one Bayern post – 300.000. The posts on the AXA Training Centre page are for now reserved for reposts of Liverpool FC’s press conferences – their press conference sponsor? AXA.

It is therefore very interesting to compare the three approaches – Signal Iduna making use of the stadium’s page to promote their logo at every opportunity, Allianz relying simply on their name being included on the “extra” Bayern Munich page and AXA using their own page to promote their partnership with Liverpool. AXA’s approach is certainly generating a lot of reach, yet is this at the expense at switching off fans of other teams? Check back later in the year for our full findings on the performance of AXA’s normal posting!


IRIS International Sales Manager Stuart Levy, pictured here at Signal Iduna Park

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