Who needs a seven-figure sponsorship deal when you have the backing of a loyal fan base?
Spanish soccer team Real Sociedad put the question to the test last week when it wore fans’ names on the front of its jerseys instead of a sponsor’s logo. The move was part of an initiative called “We Carry You on Our Shirts.”
Real Sociedad selected 22 names from its 25,000-member fan club at random. Each winner’s name was prominently featured on one player’s game-worn jersey, Russia Today reports.
The fruits of the initiative were rolled out on Friday in front of the home fans at Anoeta stadium. Real Sociedad wore the special jerseys for its La Liga (Spanish first division) game against Sevilla, which it won 2-1.
The club didn’t limit honors to those 22 winners. Another 22 were selected to star in a commercial promoting the fan-appreciation scheme.
“We Carry You on Our Shirts” was borne out of necessity. Real Sociedad does not have a shirt sponsor for this season, but it still managed to extract some value from open space on the jersey.
Real Sociedad is one of many Spanish clubs that are trying innovative ways of raising cash. Valencia put its own Twitter handle on the back of its jerseys for part of the 2011-12 season. Sevilla took things a step further by inviting fans to pay to have their photos appear on the backs of players’ jerseys. A few months later, Sevilla allowed meat processor Oscar Meyer to transform the benches at its home stadium into giant hot dogs.
It sure puts things in perspective.
See Real Sociedad’s fan-appreciation jerseys below.
Photo via YouTube/sporTVyou