London – Tire brands will likely be relieved by the apparent collapse of a controversial plan to create a breakaway European football ‘super league’ (ESL), just days after it was unveiled.
Most of the 12 breakaway clubs carry tire-brand sponsorship on everything from football kits and pitch-side advertising boards to TV interview backdrops, merchandising and other high-visibility assets.
These include English clubs Chelsea (Yokohama), Manchester City (Nexen), Manchester United (Apollo) and Tottenham (Kumho), Spanish sides Atletico Madrid (Falken), Real Madrid (Hankook) and Italian clubs Juventus (Linglong) and Inter Milan (Pirelli).
Launching the ESL plan early this week, the clubs, also including Arsenal, Liverpool, Barcelona and AC Milan, argued that the ESL would “save football” by generating increased revenues to offset the huge costs of running elite football teams.
However, the closed-shop scheme has generated massive anger among the public, football authorities and even the French and UK governments – last night forcing at least the six English clubs to withdraw from the league.
TV broadcasters Sky and Amazon Prime Video had already distanced themselves from the ESL – Amazon commenting that it “shares the concerns raise by football fans regarding a breakaway super league.”
And now, with the sudden withdrawal of at least six of the ESL founding members, it seems that tire makers will avoid the dilemma of unwittingly having their brands linked with such a widely unpopular venture.