Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Transmission

Atletico Madrid May Team Up With Azerbaijan

Atletico Madrid has already played some matches wearing Azerbaijan's logo as a goodwill gesture ahead of a lucrative sponsorship deal that it is expected to sign with the oil-rich Caucasian state.
Atletico Madrid has already played some matches wearing Azerbaijan's logo as a goodwill gesture ahead of a lucrative sponsorship deal that it is expected to sign with the oil-rich Caucasian state.
Although many fans don't like it, shirt sponsorship deals have become part of soccer's financial lifeblood in recent years.

In Britain's Premier League alone, it generated combined revenues of 147 million pounds (about $236 million) last year, while international football federations get more than $2 billion in sponsorship annually.

Despite bringing in much of the cash that is needed these days to pay for top players, having a sponsor's logo emblazoned on their club's shirt still sticks in the craw of many supporters who feel it often compromises their team's traditions and values.

The fact that some clubs have signed sponsorship deals with partners of dubious provenance has also done nothing to endear fans to the practice.

Many Barcelona supporters, for example, are still smarting over their team's decision to sacrifice its charitable use of the UNICEF logo to take 150 million euros (around $95 million) from the Qatar Foundation.

The Catalan club had famously held out against taking the corporate shilling for years, but then upset lots of fans by eventually accepting money from an organization that is partly funded by a government with a somewhat dubious human rights record.

Now, Barcelona's La Liga rival Atletico Madrid could also be going down a similar road.

"Marca" reports that the Europa League champions are on the verge of signing a sponsorship deal with Azerbaijan.

According to the sports newspaper, besides having the oil-rich Caucasian country's name on its shirt, the deal would also see Atletico playing a friendly match with an Azerbaijani team "as well as different communication activities to strengthen the image of the club and spread the message about certain aspects of the country."

Although, the 12 million euros (some $15.5 million) that Azerbaijan would fork out for the first tranche of sponsorship would be a welcome addition to the club's coffers, there are undoubtedly many fans who will feel a tad uneasy about promoting a country whose authoritarian government has a somewhat sullied reputation for crushing political opposition as well as widespread corruption

-- Coilin O'Connor
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by: RD
January 04, 2013 16:56
All the things Azerbaijan needs to do to improve its image. Building the statue of a dead dictator and placing it in a park in Mexico City and now, putting the country's name on a footbal club jersey. Probably would be a lot more efficient, effective and cheaper to improve your country's image by getting rid of its dictatorship, stop harassing free speech, and stop being a war monger. Ilham Aliyev will keep on wasting his country's wealth on stupid projects such as building the world's largest flag, his father's statue, advertising on football jerseys, and tend to his people in a country where a large portion of the population still lives under the poverty line.
In Response

by: Peter from: Germany
January 04, 2013 21:50
very well said :))) hahaha, I can't stop too laugh :D it's really ridiculous what they do every time to improve their image, and Alyev has deserved to get the title for "comical dictator" of the year haha, and you forgot about Safarov, the axe murderer who got a national hero in azerbaijan
In Response

by: Taxpayer from: Los Angeles
January 05, 2013 01:42
According to the CIA World Factbook, only 11% of Azerbaijan's population lives beyond the poverty line. That number was reduced from a much larger figure in a span of roughly 5 to 6 years, while Azerbaijan was concurrently dealing with the forceful relocation from ancestral lands of close to 1/8th of its population. Azerbaijan's GDP in the same period of time increased by almost a multiple of 10. It's geopolitical influence vis-a-vis Russia, Iran, Israel, Georgia, and Turkey is unprecedented for this small nation. The work it has done in the area of development of tourism will likely gradually yield benefits by way of diversifying its economy. Etc. Etc. Etc. However, all the contributors to this ostensibly fair and impartial publication seem to be concerned with are the violations of human rights, many of which the citizens of a starving Azerbaijan of 10 years ago would have gladly sacrificed for better living conditions and economy.
In Response

by: Amin Jafarov from: Canada
January 05, 2013 03:57
Your comment is a perfect indication of the misguided beliefs people have about Azerbaijan. You have said things about money being wasted in a country of poverty stricken people. In fact, Azerbaijan's poverty rate is around 7%, which is better than an around 50% rate after the fall of the USSR. You fail to recognise the tourism money generated from building places people can visit. What do you want from Azerbaijan? A bland country with no landmarks? Only factories and apartments and what is the bare necessity? Get realistic. Perhaps you should visit Azerbaijan and see for yourself how it is.

About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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