For the first time in competition history, the English Premier League is allowing teams to put sponsors on a jersey’s sleeves. Everton announced theirs the other day, and it’s…Angry Birds.
Not the company behind the game, Rovio. The game itself. Right there, logo and all, on the arm of a very serious and proper professional sports team.
Response from fans has been, let’s say, disapproving. The club, on a very bad run of results at the moment, picked a poor time to announce the deal: fans want a win, not a sponsorship announcement they feel is trivial and unbecoming of one of England’s more successful top flight clubs.
“That shit has to go. For fucks sake” begins a very good summary of one comment thread about the deal. “Couldn’t they print ‘Rovio’ on the sleeve instead? What’s next, ‘Flappy Bird’ on the left ass cheek?”
The bigger picture her of course is how strange the uproar is. The EPL has a long history of allowing sponsorship deals from shady online casinos and even shadier loan agents, and these rarely cause a second glance, but the second a mobile video game ends up on a sleeve, it’s an affront to a proud old club’s respectability.
As someone who cares little for Angry Birds or Everton, though, I can at least enjoy the timing of the deal, coming so soon after Everton star Wayne Rooney was caught drink driving alongside a young woman who was not his wife Colleen.
Anyway, if for some reason you find the crossover between football kits and video games interesting, here’s a thing from a few years back on the very subject: