In an attempt to raise tourism, Rwanda will have a sleeve patch on one of the biggest soccer teams in the world.
Most sponsorships in sports are between a team or league and a separate company. However, in some cases there are unique partnerships and they are not always on a small scale. Arsenal FC, one of the biggest soccer clubs in the world, has recently announced a very unique partnership.
Starting this summer, all Arsenal kits will feature a "Visit Rwanda" sign on their left sleeve through a new sponsorship with the country of Rwanda. Yes, this is a deal with an entire country in Africa rather than with a large company that an EPL team would be more inclined to work with.
The monetary value of the deal has not been disclosed, but it is a multiyear deal and is the first ever sleeve sponsorship for Arsenal. According to the press release, the Arsenal jersey is seen 35 million times a day around the world.
Arsenal will receive the the benefit of the money from Rwanda and the ability to coordinate fun activations with the country. For Rwanda, tourism is their largest industry and they are hoping this added signage will only increase the amount of people visiting.
It is very unique for an English soccer club or any professional sports team to be sponsored by an entire country, especially one in a different continent. But Rwanda feels that this will help grow their tourism and we will soon find out if it works.
While it may seem weird for an African country to partner with a soccer club in England, Rwanda is a member of the British Commonwealth so there is somewhat of a prior relationship.
1. Signage and visibility is one of the most common and valuable feature of sponsorship and Rwanda's signage will be seen around the world leading to increased awareness.
2. Even though the sponsor is from a different continent, the goal is to increase tourism so sponsoring a team that will be shown heavily in Europe and North America makes a lot of sense.
3. Because this is Arsenal's first-ever sleeve sponsor, Rwanda should be that much more noticeable to fans and those following their games.
4. I expect this to partnership to include more than just the jersey patch and for the two parties to coordinate some fun activations with the players.
5. Think outside the box when looking for new sponsors. It does not have to be restricted to a traditional company or brand, but could be anyone. In this case, Arsenal is getting money from a country and there also more opportunities like this.
You can check out some pictures of the new jersey below.
Written by: James Campbell
James Campbell is a recent graduate of the University of Michigan with his B.A. in Sport Management. Throughout his time at Michigan, he has worked with Detroit City FC, MiLife Sport & Social Club, and USA Hockey. - @Jimmy10Campbell