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Why football players are great luxury brand ambassadors

TAG Heuer brand ambassador, Cristiano Ronaldo awarded UEFA Best Player of 2014 (2)


From sponsoring sports events to partnering with star athletes, luxury brands have always attempted to cross over to the sports industry.

In recent years, however, it’s been the football industry, in particular, that has attracted the luxury market’s attention, with brands such as Hublot, TAG Heuer and Etihad Airways partnering with football legends Pelé, Cristiano Ronaldo and Patrick Vieira.

“Football players were never used by luxury brands, luxury brands were concentrating on golf players, sailors or horse riders, but we went towards football,” explained Jean-Claude Biver, chairman of the board at Hublot and president of the watches division at LVMH Group, at a Hublot launch event.“By doing so, we talk to the new generation, the new millionaires and billionaires, they are not 65 years old, they are 30 years old and some Americans even 20 years old. This new generation thinks differently, they don’t want to connect to their fathers and mothers, they want to connect to their own generation.”

Football is ‘the world’s favourite game’, the sport’s largest governing body, FIFA, estimates that at the turn of the 21st century there were approximately 250 million football players and more than 1.3 billion people “interested” in the sport. This means football players have influence over massive audiences around the world who regard them as icons. With that in mind, luxury brands have continued to increases their involvement in the sport for many years.

“When we look for Etihad Guest Ambassadors, we look for remarkable men and women who follow their aspirations, excel in their chosen fields, and also reflect the brand values of Etihad Airways. Patrick Vieira, who is one of the football world’s biggest success stories, fits the description perfectly,” says Peter Baumgartner, chief commercial officer at Etihad Airways.

With football players proving to be great candidates for luxury brand ambassadors, we may continue to see high-end brands distancing themselves from their traditional choices such as polo, lacrosse, or tennis.

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