Shirt advertising is a phenomenon that quickly became a habit in the last decades of the 20th century. However, the origin is in the middle of the century and in Uruguay. Here it was the club CA Peñarol Montevideo, which came up with advertising on their shirts at matches.
In Europe, advertising on jerseys did not begin until a good ten years later.
First clubs or competitions were sponsored, like the Watney Cup in England (sponsored by Watney Mann) or SK Admira Vienna (NEWAG/NIOGAS) – both in 1960.
The first trikot sponsorships
- Mid 1950s: Uruguay: CA Peñarol Montevideo: [unknown for me yet]
- 1966: Austria: Austria Wien: Brauerei Schwechat
- 1967: Germany: Wormatia Worms: Caterpillar
- 1976: England: Kettering Town: Kettering Tyres
- 1978: Italy: Udinese Calcio: Teofilio Sanson
- 1982: Spain: Real Madrid: Zanussi
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Not everywhere it was allowed to print advertising on the jersey. Both Wormatia Worms and Kettering Town had to go without advertising again a short time later. In England it had been forbidden to wear advertising on jerseys since 1972 and in the Federal Republic of Germany it was banned by Worms’ initiative as early as 1967.[/grey_box]
Kettering Town was not the only club that was keen to negotiate a sponsorship contract with companies. Bolton Wanderers and Derby County therefore supported Kettering Town. The ban on sponsorship in the FA was lifted in 1977.
However, some broadcasters were not at all happy with the lifting and the sponsors on football jerseys. In 1979, the BBC and ITV refused to show live matches and recordings of matches where they could be seen. Liverpool FC, for example, benefited from this by signing a sponsorship contract with Hitachi in the same year, but never wore the jerseys with a sponsor when their match was broadcast or when they played in European competitions.
In Germany it was the nephew of the Jägermeister founder, Günter Mast, who brought about the turning point with his advertising deal with Eintracht Braunschweig. To circumvent the DFB ban, he had the Jägermeister logo printed without lettering. In 1973, the characteristic deer head was as well known as it is today – a “Jägermeister” lettering was not necessary. (On January 8, 1973, the general meeting had surprisingly clearly decided to replace the lion’s head with a deer’s head on the Eintracht jerseys from then on).
At its Bundestag on Whitsun 1973 the DFB allowed shirt advertising.
First locally, then internationally
The examples of Worms and Kettering show that the advertising partners of the clubs initially came from the immediate vicinity. This is now the case with many amateur clubs and was common practice until the 1970s. The Bundesliga, as a league in which shirt advertising was permitted early on, made the first leap.
To be more precise, it was the Hamburger Sportverein, which made a big advertising deal with the Japanese electronics company Hitachi in 1976-1979. It enabled the transfer of the English national player Kevin Keegan to Hamburg. From 1979 Hitachi then sponsored Liverpool FC.