Tuesday, 9 August 2016

#Pogback: Did Sponsorship Play A Role In Paul Pogba Return To Manchester United?

Paul Pogba is back! This was officially announced by Manchester United at about 00:35a.m. (London Time) as the most recent recruit for Manchester United. And social media is agog with the news of the player that was let go for £1.2 million in 2012 and now bought back from Juventus at a record £89 million, making him the world’s most expensive player. It surpasses the £85m that Real Madrid paid Tottenham for Wales forward Gareth Bale in 2013.

While the French midfielder, Paul Pogba has expressed his delight to rejoin United, some sports analysts believe sponsor (Adidas) may have played a role in his move to Manchester.

Sport sponsorship has grown tremendously as the development of sport media, and popular companies such as Coca-Cola, Nike, Toyota, and Samsung have used sport sponsorship as one of their marketing communication channels.

Brand association between sport and sponsor is intended to link the public perception of the two entities. And so, emergence of new competition in sportwear sector with the likes of  K-Swiss, Asics, New Balance have probably led to a rethink among the more established brands in this sector as to what strategy to adopt in terms of player ambassadors.

According to John Scurfield, head of MediaCom Sport and Entertainment, "sponsors have very strong and lucrative relationships and are often used as a good go between. For example, if Adidas wanted to work with a Nike player for Manchester United, they would use that and vice versa. I’ve experienced clubs doing that but beyond that initial interaction, I don’t think it is the case that they yield that much influence - an apparel brand or any brand for that matter wouldn’t have influence on a club’s ultimate decisions. Adidas might say, 'We’re spending millions, we’d like X percentage of the squad to be Adidas players' but they wouldn’t actually have any bearing on the decision. That’s where their influence ends."

Adidas has punched pretty heavily of late with all sorts of guerrilla-like tactics to support its ‘First never follows’ platform. It deploys a huge roster of talent too, from icons like David Beckham to a global grime superstar like Stormzy. As such, the protracted transfer this summer of the world’s hottest footballer, Paul Pogba, who is also in the Adidas stable, back to Manchester United, has provided an unprecedented opportunity. And boy has Adidas taken it.

"It has always been a club with a special place in my heart and I am really looking forward to working with José Mourinho. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Juventus and have some fantastic memories of a great club with players that I count as friends. But I feel the time is right to go back to Old Trafford. I always enjoyed playing in front of the fans and can’t wait to make my contribution to the team. This is the right club for me to achieve everything I hope to in the game”, Pogba said.

José Mourinho replied saying: “Paul is one of the best players in the world and will be a key part of the United team I want to build here for the future. He is quick, strong, scores goals and reads the game better than many players much older than he is. At 23, he has the chance to make that position his own here over many years. He is young and will continue to improve; he has the chance to be at the heart of this club for the next decade and beyond.”

Pogba will be a big brand asset now for Adidas UK rather than just Adidas Global and analysts predict the volume of video content by both Adidas UK and Man United to exponentially increase as a result of his transfer.

So share with us what you think about his return to United?

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