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Benfica signs deal with WME

Benfica signs exclusive deal with American company to find sponsors

March 17, 2021 By Michelle Bonsu
The Portuguese giants have now signed an exclusive partnership with the California-based agency in a bid to find a sponsor for their iconic stadium.

Although the world still has not fully recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic that first started in Wuhan, China and quickly became a global issue, it looks like businesses are slowly starting to return to some state of normalcy.

Football is no exception to this, and in a bid to bring in more revenue, clubs have long looked to sign deals in order to find sponsors.

In 2005, Allianz made huge waves after signing a mammoth deal to have exclusive naming rights to Bayern Munich's home ground. The financial services company, which is headquartered in Germany and has branches all over the world, committed to have their name on the stadium for 30 years. This would be the first in several deals Allianz would sign with numerous other clubs on multiple continents. 

Indeed, seven years after their first deal with Bayern, Allianz signed another contract to have their name displayed on the former Sydney Football Stadium (also known as Aussie Stadium). While this venue was demolished in 2019 to make way for new construction, football fans can still see Allianz's name on other grounds, including Allianz Riviera (home base for Ligue 1 side Nice), Allianz Stadion (home grounds for Austrian side SK Rapid Wien), Allianz Stadium (Juventus's home turf), and Allianz Field (home stadium for MLS side Minnesota United).

All of these clubs have benefited from the additional revenue streams that come with signing a sponsorship deal, and Benfica now hopes to follow suit. The Portuguese giants are no strangers to these kind of deals, as they have contracts with organizations such as Coco-Cola Portugal and Sagres to have exclusive naming rights to portions of the famed Estádio da Luz, which opened in 2003. However, they've never had a deal that would grant any corporation naming rights to the entire stadium, similar to what Allianz has with several teams around the world.

That is, until now. The Eagles have now decided to take things one step further and have now entered into a two-year partnership with WME Sports. WME Sports, as many may or may not know, is the sports-related branch of the famous Endeavor-owned WME (William Morris Endeavor Entertainment) agency that's based in Beverly Hills, California.

Benfica hope that WME Sports will be able to assist them with finding a naming-rights sponsor over the next couple of years, and WME will be tasked not only with making this happen for the Estádio da Luz but also for the youth academy as well as Benfica Campus's training ground.

The Eagles' CEO, Domingos Soares de Oliveira, has clear goals regarding the direction he hopes to see Benfica take in the not too distant future, noting that, "We are committed to finding the right partners for our two most precious assets, the stadium and the academy.

"This is part of our strategy to further position Benfica as a truly international club with a global reach, ensuring that we maximise the potential of our brand."  

With things looking potentially promising for Benfica in terms of additional revenue streams, it will be very interesting to see if their fellow "Big Three" rivals Porto and Sporting CP take notice and decide to follow suit.

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