Eze Group Sporting Achievements
No I’m not talking about the 10 yards doggy paddle badge I got at Butlins way back under the premiership of Harold Wilson. I’m talking of another premiership, the Premiership , the English football Premier League in fact.
Because Birmingham City FC, who proudly wear the Eze Group name on match days, are heading towards the big league or as I write they might be – we headed home from Blackpool with a 1-0 deficit.
The Eze Group’s Jenny Cowen is also vying for an Olympic spot and the honour of representing her country at the London Olympics. So all in all it’s an exciting couple of weeks ahead. Jenny and the Blues of course both have something in common, the complete in their respective sports with financial assistance provided by a commercial entity – the Eze Group
Now business and sport have a rather strange relationship these days, especially with a growing number of purists calling for a return to the old days, the days before business got involved in sport – if ever such a pure state existed.
History tells us that sport has always had close ties to business. If we look at football, even the clubs founded by churches (and there are a few today in the Premiership) relied on the largesse of local businesses for kit and facilities. As business has evolved so has football and so has the cost of running any type of sports club at or near the top level.
Football clubs for example have had to improve methods of promotion, as well as fostering a culture of community action and involvement. Football clubs in particular have seen running costs rise exponentially and have needed forms of revenue other than gate receipts (which today barely make up a third of a clubs income).
I have respect for the purists mind you; they want a return to a lesser more complicated and more egalitarian time. A time perhaps before the ‘prawn sandwich ‘ brigade moved in – as the ferocious Roy Keane so memorably put it. When i stood on the terraces in the 70’s fathers and sons, mainly drawn from the surrounding area filled the stands, no corporate boxes, no highly paid consultants, no £100 tickets, no shirt sponsors; but also no foreign superstars, no smooth playing surfaces, no seating and cover from the rain (for the average fan anyway) and a standard of football that, when I see old replays on telly, was quite frankly shocking.
A couple of years ago I was at the Emirates and to be honest was horrified to see fans taking escalators to their seats – as you can tell my love of the modern game is tempered by a ‘days when men were men’ mindset. But why shouldn’t the 21st century fan be taken to and from their seats quickly and safely? With all this money comes, comfort, great views, great football, easy access to and from the ground, oh and good food (sorry Roy).
Stadiums like the Emirates are not built on match day ticket sales, nor on match day revenue and television is money combined, that would only fill the pot just over half the way to the top. For the modern football club is an insatiable beast – the third and often time largest stream of income comes from commercial revenue. Yes that’s right corporate sponsorship, such as that provided by the Eze Group shirt sponsorship, provides every major club in Europe with over 35% of its income.
So the next time you’re standing next to a ‘purist’ griping about the ‘good old days’ when shirts were unadorned by things such as the Eze Group name, remind him that but for match day sponsors his team would probably be only fielding 7 men.