Five anecdotes about strange kit sponsors

It’s not often that German 6th tier sides make national or even international headlines, but SV Oberwürzbach have managed to pull off that trick by doing something a bit nutty. During the club’s end of season celebration the coach Erik Baus and his captain Jens Ebersold found out that the squad for the next season was wild and what the team needed was a team sponsor who could fit that bill. In the end the club got in touch with the German porn star Lena Nitro, managing to persuade her(and her management) to put her website up as the official sponsor of the club.

It’s left up to discussion whether or not a porn star is a becumming(yes, we went for the cheapest pun of them all) sponsor for a football team, but so far Nitro has shown that she is passionate about football. Her Instagram account is filled with photos showing her support for Borussia Dortmund, whilst her Facebook page has taken a shine to former England international John Terry.

How SV Oberwürzbach is going to fare throughout the long and hard Kreisliga season, but after their new sponsor was revealed to the public the lads in red and black put up a potent performance against Hangard II, winning their match on the weekend by the whopping scoreline of 7-2.

This story is far from the only one that features crazy kit sponsors. Here’s Writing Fussball’s top five anecdotes about the name on the front of the jersey making big headlines.

1. The history of kits being used to advertise products started in 1973 when Jägermeister owner Günter Mast saw a match of Eintracht Braunschweig. Over the last few months the man had changed his views about football, stating that he had always thought that the sport was something the lower classes cared about, but upon diving a bit more deeply into the matter he found that other people(read consumers willing to buy his product) were also into it. After seeing the club from Lower Saxony play he got in touch with them and asked them to change their logo for a fee of 200,000 DM. This got the upper echelons of the DFB going and in the end a fight broke out about the legality of that move. In the end the German football association saw that it was fighting a losing battle and from there on out ads on footballing attire have become common place within German football.

2. Back in 2001 Fortuna Düsseldorf was in crisis. The team had just gotten relegated to the fourth tier and the cash needed to keep the club afloat wasn’t there. In the end the local punk band Die Toten Hosen(Translation: The dead trousers) decided to help the club out of its financial tight spot by purchasing the most prominent of places to advertise their product. The band put up the considerable amount of 1,000,000 DM, which meant that they needed a big brewery to sponsor their upcoming tour(not very punk according to many of their hardcore fans). “Everything that helps out Fortuna is a good thing”, vocalist Campino told the press. The most important thing for him and his bandmates was to ensure that the club should continue to exist the singer explained.

Embed from Getty Images

3. FC Homburg president Manfred Ommer was a man of many talents, and making a blast in the public was among his favourite things. However, with little time on his hand before the start of the 1987/88 Bundesliga season it wasn’t controversy he was on the look out for, but a name to put on the front of his team’s kit. In the end a deal was agreed with the condom producer London. What followed was VfB Stuttgart president Gerhard Mayer-Vorfelder’s crusade against the public indecency caused by the product. Ridiculous, in the day and age of AIDS, the company fired back. Whilst FCH were threatened with losing points if they were to play with the name on their kits. Coach Slobodan Cendic wondered which points the DFB wanted to subtract(as Homburg hadn’t won or drawn a single game at that point), but his players were still forced to use duct tape to cover up their jerseys. In the end the case was settled by a civil court in Frankfurt, which decided that condoms were suitable products to market. Stuttgart president and conservative firebrand Mayer-Vorfelder’s chances of becoming DFB president were damaged throughout his somewhat idiotic campaign, and in the end  decided to refrain from a run for German football’s highest office at the time.

4. Back in 1979 the players of Sportfreunde Oberhausen(a club from outside of Augsburg) sported the name PAX on their kits. The company in question was behind a funeral home, which lead to national headlines given that many people thought that both the ads on the football jersey and the company’s name were in bad taste. However, despite the many negative headlines the company managed to increase its turnover.

5. Back in 1995 HSV were victim of an unprecedented move within German football. The club had started with high hopes into the season, as always there was talk about qualifying for a European competition. However, things didn’t go smoothly and The Red Shorts ended up playing a rather mediocre season. On match day 31 the club suffered an embarrassing 4-0 defeat to FC Köln, which caused their official sponsor TV Spielfilm to get in touch with the club. The CEO of the company Martin Fischer told HSV president Ronald Wulff that the TV magazine would remove its name from the club’s jerseys, as the performance of the team was “damaging the image of the company”.

Embed from Getty Images

Afterwards the name of said company made headline news all over Germany, ensuring that TV Spielfilm got loads of free advertising despite having sponsored a rather average club that season. As marketing moves go, this one was pretty clever. The club themselves finished the season rather poorly, playing with the club’s initial on the front of their kits.