Brazilian football club leaders were not surprised by Economy Minister Paulo Guedes's statement that Caixa's money could be better applied.
"Sometimes it's possible to do 100 times better things with less resources than to spend on advertising on football teams," Guedes said on Monday (7) during the inauguration of the new president of Caixa, Pedro Guimarães.
Managers of the country's A and B series clubs are divided. Everyone would like to continue with the bank, but several are worried with the possibility of loosing this important income.
"It worries [the exit] because we planed with it. Sponsorship is good for the bank," says Marcelo Paz, president of Fortaleza.
The state institution injected into football R$ 191.7 million (US$ 51.5m) in 2018, according to a survey made by the Official Gazette. The data includes, in addition to the clubs, sponsorships for the state tournaments in Espírito Santo, Mato Grosso do Sul, Paraíba, Piauí, Rio Grande do Norte, Rondônia, Sergipe, Copa Nordeste and Copa Verde.
Of the teams that did not have cash from Caixa last year, the only ones that had fixed principal sponsorship were Chapecoense, Palmeiras, São Paulo, Grêmio and Inter (the last two from the Rio Grande do Sul government bank). Corinthians, Fluminense and Vasco had occasional advertisers.
"Caixa did not come in to do business, it was a government assistance. So much so that there is no positive disclosure for the bank, as a study that sold more to fans of the X team. As it did not have this vision, the new government wants to demonstrate austerity," says Ivan Martinho, sports marketing professor for ESPM in São Paulo.
Not all clubs agree with this view that the state-owned bank did not make a comeback with sponsorship.
Considering the revenue of R$ 595 million (US$ 160m) from Flamengo in 2017 (according to a study by Itaú BBA), Caixa's R$ 32 million (US$ 8.6m) represents 5.4% of annual revenue. Less than Ceará, which has in the R$ 6.7 million (US$ 1.8m) paid by the bank 24.8% of the annual collection.
There are those who see incompetence in attracting investors. In the 1980s and 1990s, multinationals like Coca-Cola and, in the 2000s, car manufacturers competed for shirts. Teams today turn to smaller companies.
"You do not see a big private bank, a big automaker in a Brazilian club, like they are in the shirts of the Europeans. They prefer to advertise in the main communication vehicles, on open and subscription television, on the internet," says Martinho, of ESPM.
Local media giant Globo has sold six quotas worth R$ 310 million (US$ 83m) each for football in 2019. The package includes Copa America. The station renewed with Ambev, GM, Hypermarcas, Itaú and Vivo. Retailer Casas Bahia has replaced Unilever.
Without the big brands, the clubs divide the space in the uniform and try to profit in the wholesale. Practice before restricted to the teams of the interior, ads in different parts of the uniforms, with publicity in the shoulders, back, numbering, back and front of the shorts and socks, is now made by the teams of the Series A.
There are clubs that have already started preparing at the end of last year for post-Caixa era. Cruzeiro president Wagner Pires says the team's sponsorship contracts for the 2019 team are almost complete.
The situation is more complicated for Botafogo and Santos, big teams of the Serie A that do not have master sponsorship to replace the state bank.
"We have to respect the company policy. If you do not continue with sponsorships for anyone, fine. But if it ends for some and continue for others, then I will be outraged," says Robinson de Castro, president of Ceará.
Asked by Folha, Caixa's officials said that the contracts in effect or closed are under revaluation.
Source: GMB/ Folhapress