On and Off the Pitch

This promises to be an interesting few months for both Real Madrid and Jose Mourinho. With their league title effectively gone, attention will now turn to the two remaining prizes on offer for los blancos; the Copa del Rey and the real prize, the Champions League. Madrid now finds themselves at the midway point in their clash with Barcelona in the Copa del Rey with the tie delicately poised at 1-1 after the first leg and about to face Man Utd in the Champions League with a place in the quarter finals awaiting the winners.

The success of Madrid this season will dictate how Jose Mourinho is remembered when, if as widely expected, he departs the Santiago Bernabeu in June 2013. In his two seasons thus far, Mourinho has delivered a Copa del Rey and a La Liga title. If he can deliver the Champions League, la decima for Madrid , then irrespective of his own personal position and reputation, Mourinho’s place amongst the pantheon of Real Madrid greats will be secured.

Where will he sit if he fails to deliver any trophies this season?

The Portuguese coach has more power than any previous incumbent of the hot seat at the Bernabeu having gained Florentino Perez’ backing in his struggle with Jorge Valdano. Yet if he fails to add to his two trophies this season, would his tenure at Madrid be considered as a failure? It’s doubtful if another Copa del Rey would satisfy the Madrid faithful or even Mourinho himself for that matter. It’s the Champions League that everyone at Madrid covets. It’s been ten long years since they last claimed European club footballs greatest prize. The club remaining with nine titles to their name as they wait for their tenth title. Will this be the year for Madrid ?

If there is considerable debate over what is happening on the pitch, there does seem to be a greater sense of structure off the pitch.

Heading into this season, many Madridista’s were wondering who the new shirt sponsor would be for the start of season 2013/14 as it was clear that bwin was on the way out as sponsor.  Fortunately, the fans soon found out that discussions had reached fruition and a new deal was in the works with that one of the team’s partners and official airline, Fly Emirates, would be the team’s new shirt sponsor starting in August 2013.

Fly Emirates first signed a contract with Real Madrid in 2011 when they became an official partner and the official airline of the team but they did not become the new official shirt sponsor at that time.  That deal was worth around $7.2 Million per year at the time. However, things changed around April 2012 when it was revealed that Fly Emirates had negotiated a deal with Real Madrid to become the team’s shirt sponsor.  The new deal with the team will see Emirates shell out $26.7 Million annually to the club.

That number could have been a lot larger had the team agreed to new stadium naming rights.  Emirates offered the club $60.8 Million a year to rename the Santiago Bernabéu stadium.  The club, understandably given the history and tradition of the stadium and it’s name, turned down that proposal but reportedly did leave the door open for a corporate sponsor’s name preceding the stadium name.

Real Madrid ‘s changing of sponsors is just another in a string of changes that bwin has been going through in the past year.  The first came when the company’s merger with Partypoker was completed, with the new company now known as bwin.party.  Later, bwin.Party sold a surplus asset in the Ongame Network.  The network was a top five poker network, but bwin.Party wanted to focus on their own brand, currently number two in the world for online poker. 

Finally, bwin.Party signed a new team to a shirt sponsorship deal.  In August, bwin.Party signed a shirt sponsorship deal with Madrid ’s opponents tomorrow evening, Premier League club Manchester United, a deal that will begin in 2013.

Fans can now look forward to the future as the team has a solid sponsor in place with Fly Emirates.  The cash influx from the new sponsor will enable the new manager to strengthen the first team and the squad as a whole, as they continue to compete for trophies both at home and abroad.


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