New emphasis on digital as Ringier Sports keeps Swiss league sponsorship rights
By Simon Ward
The Swiss Football League, the body which oversees the top two soccer divisions in the country, has today handed a new mandate to Ringier Sports, the domestic agency, to market sponsorship and advertising rights.
The contract comes into effect for the 2021-22 season, and represents a continuation of the long relationship between the two parties, albeit with a “partially restructured cooperation” that will include joint development of new digital advertising rights.
Ringier Sports was formed last year after Ringier, the Swiss media company, bought out the stake of its former partner Infront, the international sports marketing agency, in the InfrontRingier joint venture, thereby taking sole responsibility for the ongoing contract with the SFL.
With the new deal, Ringier Sports will remain the marketing partner of the league, with the remit to sell title sponsorship rights to the top-tier Super League and second-tier Challenge League, which includes branding on the front of shirts, perimeter advertising in stadiums and digital marketing opportunities.
The latter will be a bigger priority going forward to reflect the changing media consumption of fans and the demands of sponsors.
Claudius Schäfer, the chief executive of the SFL, said today: “In the digital age, sponsorship must also find new and innovative ways to reach market-relevant target groups. The contract extension is also an expression of the mutual trust that the SFL and its clubs and Ringier Sports AG have in one another. We look forward to the joint implementation of exciting projects with the aim of making Swiss football even more attractive.”
Martin Blaser, managing director of Ringier Sports AG, added: “We are very pleased that we can continue our trusting cooperation with the SFL beyond June 30, 2021. We are convinced that together we will initiate and develop the right steps and necessary innovations in order to be able to continue to operate successfully in a rapidly changing market in the future.”
At present, Raiffheisen, the Swiss banking group, is the title sponsor of the Super League, a role it has filled since 2012-13, and Brack.ch, the online electronics retailer, has the equivalent rights to the Challenge League, both in deals that expire this season.
The SFL is also looking to secure new domestic and international media rights deal for the next cycle, having launched rights tenders for the two divisions on 14 September.
Rights to the Super League and Challenge League are presently held by Teleclub, the pay-TV operator rebranding as Blue+, in a four-year deal worth around SFr32 million ($40.8 million) per season.
Commercial income rises to SFr40 million per season when deals for international media rights (Sportfive) and marketing and sponsorship rights (Ringier Sports) are taken into consideration.
The Super League comprises 10 teams and this will remain the case after the clubs this year emphatically rejected a proposal from FC Lausanne-Sport to expand to 12 teams.