Erling Haaland, a goldmine in advertising and marketing
The impact he has made in football has had an effect on branding and sponsorship deals for Borussia Dortmund and in his native Norway.
Borussia Dortmund's Norwegian striker Erling Haaland is one of the golden boys of world football with a market value of 110 million euros, according to Transfermarkt. The impact he is having on the pitch has had a knock-on effect off it for Evonik Industries' commercial strategy - Dortmund's main sponsors.
Haaland's rapid rise has prompted Evonik to make a number of strategic moves. The chemicals company have made the most of the moment to promote one of their subsidiary companies, Medax, which produces dietary supplements, in Norway. The brand was given worldwide exposure during last season's Klassiker against Bayern Munich.
In terms of marketing, Haaland is a huge hit back home in Norway. He was pictured holding a shirt emblazoned with the brand name and holding a jar of nutritional supplements derived from Scandinavian berries, one the company's products.
Dortmund's first team shirt has also undergone several marketing experiments. The club now has two shirt sponsors - the contract with Evonik was modified so that the brand only appears on the shirt for the team's DFB-Pokal games, international competitions such as the Champions League and friendlies played abroad.
For Bundesliga matches, Dortmund have a new shirt sponsor - the web hosting company, 1&1. A model which club CEO Hans Joachim Watzke has described as innovative. Both contracts run until 2025 and can generate up to 40 million euros per year for Dortmund, depending on their successes on the field.
The football world has obliged some sponsors to make changes for marketing purposes; the case of 1&1, they had to change their corporate colours, blue and white as it clashed with those of Schalke 04, Dortmund's closest rivals. So in Dortmund, 1&1's logo is in black and white. In Spain, Coca Cola changed their traditional red and white logo to green and white for display in Betis' stadium, the Benito Villamarín.
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Haaland has also caused a little bit of friction between Nike, his personal sponsor and provider of the boots he wears with the national team, and Dortmund's kit sponsors, Puma. Haaland is an icon for Nike while his club wears Puma. It's nothing unusual in today's game though - Messi is sponsored by Adidas while Nike have been FC Barcelona's sponsors since 1998.
Competition for sponsorship deals is fierce. When he left Salzburg to join Dortmund, Haaland also managed to negotiate a better deal with Nike. According to The Athletic, Puma CEO Bjørn Gulden, made Haaland an offer months before he switched clubs - prompting the player's agent, Mino Raiola, to negotiate and extension with improved terms in the striker's contract with Nike.
German sports publication Sport Bild reported that in spite of Haaland allegiance to Nike, the Puma offer actually helped Dortmund to sign the player; it also allowed him to multiply his salary by eight, from one million to eight million euros.
The battle between Puma and Nike could be the start of a bidding war for Haaland's image rights, just as he is getting increasing media exposure. Dortmund meanwhile are feeling the economic pains of the pandemic. Hans-Joachim Watzke explained that the club loses 4 million euros every home game played without the public in the stands. They could find themselves in a situation where they might need to sell a player rather than ask for a bank loan if the crisis continues.
Haaland, a icon in Norway
Haaland is always makes the headlines back home in Norway, where he is the face of the national team. He only made his international debut in September 2019 and has only made seven appearances yet he is the team's principal figure. When the Norwegian Fooball Federation unveiled the new national team kit six months ago, Haaland was chosen as the face of the campaign, ahead of other players such as Martin Ødegaard and Joshua King.
Three months later, the Dortmund striker received the Gullballen, the Norwegian Golden Ball award given to the best players of the year (men and women). Making the most of that occasion to gain publicity were Bama-Gruppen, the country's largest fresh food distributor and the National Lottery.
Haaland produces commercial interest right across Europe. He combines his football duties with work as an ambassador for Bama's Eat, Move, Sleep campaign to promote healthy eating and sport as an activity for his fellow Norwegians.
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