Barcelona, Manchester United, Real Madrid and More: Here Are 9 Top Clubs' First Shirt Sponsors and the Story Behind Them

Thursday, 16 January 2020
Sponsors are one of the most important part of shirts and often make or break a design. However, until around 40 years ago shirt sponsors weren't a thing. In this post we want to take a look at nine top clubs from around Europe to see which was each one's first-ever jersey sponsor and the story behind them.

Check out Football Kit Archive to see all of these clubs' and more classic football shirts

Barcelona - Unicef

Having remained the last big club to keep the front of its kits free of any advertisements, Barcelona debuted with Unicef in 2008. Although this arrangement saw the club donate to the organization instead of receiving a fee in exchange for the shirt space, many people rightly assumed that the club was just trying to ease the transition to a commercial sponsor.

Qatar Foundation, another charity, replaced Unicef in 2011 before Qatar Airways took over in 2013 - and the rest is history.

Real Madrid - Otaysa

While not known to many, Real Madrid also long kept the front of their kits free from sponsors. It was not until 1991 that Real Madrid got their debut shirt sponsor - Otaysa.

Manchester United - Sharp

The King of Sponsorships of today, Manchester United fans had to wait until 1982 to see a sponsor logo on one of their club's kits for the first time. Electronics brand Sharp debuted that year and remained until 2000 when Vodafone took over.

Bayern Munich - Magirus Deutz

German clubs were among the first to explore the additional revenue steam of shirt sponsorships, with Eintracht Braunschweig widely believed to be the first club in the world to have a shirt sponsor (Jägermeister) in the late 1970s.

Bayern Munich's first sponsor, meanwhile, had shirt supplier Adidas on the front of the shirt form 1974 before it was replaced by Magirus Deutz, a manufacturer of trucks, in 1978.

Paris Saint-Germain - Montreal

Montreal supermarkets was PSG's first shirt sponsor ever, in the first season after the club split off from Paris FC. PSG started off in the third division and had not even adapted the trademark 'Hechter' design yet.

Liverpool - Hitachi

Japanese electronics brand Hitachi became the first-ever Liverpool FC shirt sponsor in 1979 and remained there until 1982, when Crown Paints took over.

Arsenal - JVC

Arsenal got their first jersey sponsor in 1981: it was JVC, another electronics maker, which would remain on the front of many legendary Arsenal shirts before being replaced by Dreamcast in '99.

Borussia Dortmund - Samson

Borussia Dortmund's first-ever shirt sponsor was Samson, a cigarette maker, in 1976. Instead of just displaying the name of the company on the chest, the Samson logo, a lion, also replaced the club initials from the logo.

Juventus - Ariston

Juventus also got their first shirt sponsor in the 1980s. It's Ariston, a manufacturer of heating solutions that still operates today.

Did you know the story behind all of these iconic shirt sponsors? Comment below.
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