Oil money is changing pro soccer

The National Bank of Abu Dhabi is now sponsoring the Spanish soccer team Real Madrid. According to the Global Post, 4 of the soccer stars, Bale, Benzema, Kroos and Carvajal, recently posed with the heads of both Real Madrid and the Gulf-based financial institution, holding a giant credit card up for the world to see. However, the picture was missing something. Usually the Real Madrid crest sports a tiny cross at the top of the crown but this sponsorship has done away with that little cross. SEE ALSO: Five soccer players to keep an eye on in 2015 Even though the symbol has been a part of the logo since 1920, no one really noticed until a couple months after the removal of said cross. Once fans noticed, an outrage ensued including memes that replaced the emblem’s Christian crown with dollar symbols or the Muslim crescent. Throughout Spain, soccer fans can be heard debating how far the team was going in order to avoid offending potential Gulf customers or investors. This wasn’t the first time Real Madrid has let its funders make big branding decisions. Reports show that they already agreed to modify its logo in 2012 after a deal to establish “Real Madrid Resort Island,” a billion-dollar theme park in the United Arab Emirates. The project, consisting of a seashore stadium, a Real Madrid museum, an amusement park and a marina, was soon shelved, but recent agreements seem to have put it back on track, with a new partner and location. Deals like these aren’t that extraordinary in European soccer as of late. In 2011 the Qatar Foundation became the first-ever sponsor for the rival Barcelona team, supplying it with $40 million. That same year, a Qatari sheikh bought French team Paris Saint-Germain. Britain’s Arsenal and Germany’s Bayern Munich have respectively added Emirates and insurance company Allianz to their stadium names. Middle Eastern investors and groups have spent $1.5 billion acquiring stakes in European soccer clubs, according to a report released this month by sports marketing research company Repucom. Five of the 20 richest clubs in Europe are sponsored by a Gulf company. Qatar and Gulf states see sports as a tool to enhance their prestige, which enables them to compete in an international market by creating non-sport-related business opportunities and boost tourism. Not everyone is enthusiastic about this new trend, though. The Spanish Catholic conservative association Enraizados (Rooted) has collected 3,500 signatures criticizing the loss of a religious symbol from the crest, which the group interprets as a lack of respect toward “European cultural identity and its Christian roots.” SEE ALSO: TV ad exploits Argentina’s soccer success to promote oil drilling “Removing the cross is as absurd as it would be asking the Turks to renounce the crescent that illustrates their flag when they come to Spain,” said the organization’s president, José Castro. For fans, the removal of the cross isn’t a big deal. According to Global Post, three different employees at the official merchandising shop didn’t recall any complaint or specific T-shirt printing demand. “Here, no matter which religion, everyone wants the same thing: Cristiano, Cristiano, Cristiano (Ronaldo). It seems only those up in management worry about the cross issue, not the ones coming here. In fact, I think Muslim customers are not even aware the crest contains a cross,” said one.The post Oil money is changing pro soccer appeared first on Voxxi.

Guía de Regalos

Real Madrid players celebrating a goal at the Copa del Rey match between UE Cornella and Real Madrid, final score 1 – 4, on October 29, 2014, in Cornella, Barcelona, Spain. (Photo from Shutterstock)

The National Bank of Abu Dhabi is now sponsoring the Spanish soccer team Real Madrid. According to the Global Post, 4 of the soccer stars, Bale, Benzema, Kroos and Carvajal, recently posed with the heads of both Real Madrid and the Gulf-based financial institution, holding a giant credit card up for the world to see.

However, the picture was missing something. Usually the Real Madrid crest sports a tiny cross at the top of the crown but this sponsorship has done away with that little cross.

SEE ALSO: Five soccer players to keep an eye on in 2015

Even though the symbol has been a part of the logo since 1920, no one really noticed until a couple months after the removal of said cross. Once fans noticed, an outrage ensued including memes that replaced the emblem’s Christian crown with dollar symbols or the Muslim crescent.

Throughout Spain, soccer fans can be heard debating how far the team was going in order to avoid offending potential Gulf customers or investors. This wasn’t the first time Real Madrid has let its funders make big branding decisions.

The original Real Madrid boasts a cross at the top while the newer logo does not. (Photo from Shutterstock)
The original Real Madrid boasts a cross at the top while the newer logo does not. (Photo from Shutterstock)

Reports show that they already agreed to modify its logo in 2012 after a deal to establish “Real Madrid Resort Island,” a billion-dollar theme park in the United Arab Emirates. The project, consisting of a seashore stadium, a Real Madrid museum, an amusement park and a marina, was soon shelved, but recent agreements seem to have put it back on track, with a new partner and location.

Deals like these aren’t that extraordinary in European soccer as of late. In 2011 the Qatar Foundation became the first-ever sponsor for the rival Barcelona team, supplying it with $40 million. That same year, a Qatari sheikh bought French team Paris Saint-Germain. Britain’s Arsenal and Germany’s Bayern Munich have respectively added Emirates and insurance company Allianz to their stadium names.

Middle Eastern investors and groups have spent $1.5 billion acquiring stakes in European soccer clubs, according to a report released this month by sports marketing research company Repucom. Five of the 20 richest clubs in Europe are sponsored by a Gulf company.

Qatar and Gulf states see sports as a tool to enhance their prestige, which enables them to compete in an international market by creating non-sport-related business opportunities and boost tourism.

Not everyone is enthusiastic about this new trend, though.

The Spanish Catholic conservative association Enraizados (Rooted) has collected 3,500 signatures criticizing the loss of a religious symbol from the crest, which the group interprets as a lack of respect toward “European cultural identity and its Christian roots.”

SEE ALSO: TV ad exploits Argentina’s soccer success to promote oil drilling

“Removing the cross is as absurd as it would be asking the Turks to renounce the crescent that illustrates their flag when they come to Spain,” said the organization’s president, José Castro.

For fans, the removal of the cross isn’t a big deal. According to Global Post, three different employees at the official merchandising shop didn’t recall any complaint or specific T-shirt printing demand. “Here, no matter which religion, everyone wants the same thing: Cristiano, Cristiano, Cristiano (Ronaldo). It seems only those up in management worry about the cross issue, not the ones coming here. In fact, I think Muslim customers are not even aware the crest contains a cross,” said one.

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The post Oil money is changing pro soccer appeared first on Voxxi.