Sports fans are a fickle bunch. The only way to get them to stop complaining is by winning and even then you can win the “wrong way”. I can kind of see their point of view though, teams across all sports are getting more expensive to watch year on year, fans part with hard-earned cash and something else that no man or woman can buy, time.
Finances are a huge topic in the sports that I watch at the moment. Bury and Bolton Wanderers Football Clubs are both on the brink of extinction. Bolton has a buyer waiting in the wings that are being blocked by another business person who says he should be the owner. Bury have had their games suspended as the Football League are waiting for confirmation on whether they can financial fulfil this season’s fixtures.
It is an absolute mess for both clubs, whose fan bases have been worried all summer. As I live in northern Greater Manchester, the plight of both football clubs has been all over the local news, with journalists keen to report an upturn in each of the clubs fortunes.
It brings me onto Ice Hockey, today the Sheffield Steelers Ice Pad advertisement map, pictured above, has been leaked onto Twitter, and as you can imagine it has sparked debate.
I can categorically agree with every fan on Twitter who has uttered the words, that is horrendous. Look at it, is there any ice? I keep thinking to myself that the Sheffield Steelers may need a new brightly coloured puck, as the regulation black puck will get lost, camouflaged amongst all the advertising logos.
Many Steelers fans have taken offence to the criticism, stating that fans of other clubs are jealous that they do not have sponsorships as vast as Sheffield. That the Sheffield Steelers have, not only the talent on the ice to rival their competitors, but they are also leading the way in the league regarding the way they conduct their business.
Despite all the years that big business has been involved with sports teams and leagues, there is still an air of authenticity surrounding what is an acceptable way to present advertisements to fans through the team. It was only a couple of seasons ago when the Premier League allowed clubs to sell sponsorship space on the sleeves of replica shirts. Many weren’t bothered, but some thought that it was too much to bear, to have another corporate logo on such a sacred garment.
I am not fussed how many sponsorships any of the teams have and where they put them. I am a fan of Ice Hockey and the jerseys in the UK and on mainland Europe are peppered with lots of corporate logos. This is a stark contrast to the NHL who refuse to have any corporate sponsorship on their shirts, bar the kit supplier. The fact that the NHL clubs do not have any sponsorships on their shirts does not make them more legitimate to the European leagues. The money generated and quality on the ice makes the NHL the number one league in the world, not advertisement space on a shirt.
Does any of us want another team to go out of business? The fact that Sheffield Steelers have the opportunity to garner the interest and investment of so many business partners will help keep them in business. It will raise the profile of the club and the league and hopefully get more eyes on the sport that has been marginalised in the UK for too long.
Till the next reboot…