Sugar x Football: When soft drink companies sponsor football shirts

Sugar x Football: When soft drink companies sponsor football shirts

We’re back again with our spotlight on sponsors and this time we’ll be looking at times when football teams have been sponsored by soft drink producers. Depending on where you are in the world we’re talking about pop, soda or apparently lolly water if your Australian. Basically if you drink it and it destroys your teeth, we’re interested. 

In the crossover between the worlds of football shirt sponsorship  and soft drinks two clear names stand out. While they have traditionally done a very limited amount of advertising in Europe, Coca Cola have been plastering themselves all over shirts in North and South America for decades now while their main rivals Pepsi have long associated themselves with the sport, producing some of the best adverts of the 2000’s in the process. 

But they are far from alone, there's plenty of room in the wide world of football sponsorships for local producers and the like to elbow their way in as well. So without further ado, let's get into our collection of eight times when fizzy drinks and football have collided.


Coca Cola - sponsors almost the entire Brazilian top flight in 1987 



Anyone who’s taken even a passing interest in the world of Central and South American football shirts knows that Coca-Cola is everywhere. Ronaldo made his Cruzeiro debut in a shirt adorned with the sponsor, Mexico’s largest side Club America have carried it as a sponsor for 33 years and in 1987 they sponsored just about the entire Brazilian top flight. Which seems like a pretty effective way to get your message across.





For a decent chunk of the 90’s, Herediano, like most of the Costa Rican league, carried the logo of a multinational beverage producer, in this case Fanta. Not sure what was happening in Costa Rica throughout the 90’s but if advertising is effective then we presume the real winner of the decade was diabetes. 


Roma wore Pepsi



While Pepsi and Roma had a commercial partnership in place from as early as 2003, it took a one off 2007 game against Milan for the soft drink manufacturer to make a one off appearance on the front of Roma’s shirts in the form of four little coke cans. The shirts worn during the match were then auctioned off to raise funds for charity. So basically if you ever get a chance to get your hands on one, go for it.


Irn Bru



It seems fitting that Scotland's oldest club should have a long standing association with Scotland's favourite beverage and thanks to Queens Park’s now 24 year association with Irn Bru, that’s exactly the case. Just last year Irn Bru was front and centre on an absolutely insane Queens Park away kit that marked down every result in the sides 153 year history using green, amber and red dots.


Red Bull run



Having started their footballing adventure in 2005 with the purchase and rebranding of SV Austria Salzburg, Red Bull have now got an impressive seven teams to their name. While it’s easy and perhaps correct to rally against football purely as a tool for corporate advertising, you’ve got to hand it to Red Bull, they’ve run a pretty tight ship and made stars of the likes of Sadio Mane, Erling Haaland and Naby Keita over the past decade.


Fiorentina 7up



One of the all time great sponsors, that just so happened to appear on one of the all time most controversial kit designs. Fiorentina were famously forced to amend their away kit design half way through the season after some keen eyed observers noticed that the shirt had literal swastikas on it. Which is probably not the kind of publicity 7up were looking for.


Fiorentina - Crodino



The shirt in which Baggio really made his name, Crodino featured on the fronts of Fiorentina’s kit for three years and is apparently a non alcoholic aperitif that launched in the UK for the first time this year, if you want to really get in the spirit when club football returns


Barry Town - Tango



No doubt Barry Town was the first name that popped into your head when reading the title. Joking aside Tango sponsored the Welsh side for one of the greatest days in the sides history when they welcomed Porto to Jenner Park for a Champions League clash and promptly won 3-1. A scoreline only dampened somewhat by the fact that Porto had taken the first leg 8-0.


While this list may have left you reaching for your nearest can of Coke or Fanta it’s important to remember they, like all good things, are best enjoyed in moderation.And with that in mind perhaps the final word should go to Deportivo Saprissa and their fantastic 96/97 away kit…


Words by Andy Gallagher


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