America is rarely timid when it comes to a chances to put ads on anything possible — except our professional sports teams jerseys. That's not true over in Europe, where soccer team's jerseys routinely prominently feature the logos of corporate sponsors. Florida has decided to take full advantage of that, and Visit Florida, the state's official tourism marketing arm, is now the lead sponsor of English soccer club Fulham.
So the blue Visit Florida logo will adorn the team's jerseys for the next year. Visit Florida will also have signage rights throughout the stadium on the stadium's roof, which is visible from planes landing at Heathrow Airport in London.
The deal makes a certain amount of sense considering Fulham FC is owned by Shahid Khan, the same man who owns the Jacksonville Jaguars.
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“I love Fulham and I love Florida, so naturally it brings me a lot of satisfaction to see two of my personal passions become one,” said Khan in a statement. “But what’s most important is how much this partnership makes strategic sense for both Fulham and VISIT FLORIDA. One of my stated goals has long been the expansion and development of Fulham as an international brand, particularly in the U.S. VISIT FLORIDA has a great tourism and leisure story to tell in the competitive London and UK market, and I don’t think there can be a better way of communicating all Florida has to offer than through the power and following of Fulham Football Club. This will be an outstanding partnership, plus the kit looks fantastic.”
Paul Phipps, Visit Florida’s chief marketing officer, tells the Florida Times-Union that the deal cost somewhere in the high six figures. Visit Florida, a public-private partnership, is funded partially through public funds and partially through private sponsorships from the state's tourism industry.
"This partnership provides significant opportunities for VISIT FLORIDA to engage with Fulham fans and the wider football fan base through social and digital media platforms and marketing initiatives," said Phipps. "The partnership also allows VISIT FLORIDA to raise awareness for Florida’s diverse range of active holiday options and experiences including world-class sports, wonderful beaches and amazing theme parks."
Though Fulham is the older professional soccer team in London, they're not exactly the city's most successful or beloved football club. They've been relegated to the second-tier league of English soccer since 2014. However, Phipps says he'll monitor if there's any influx of British tourists due to the deal and will consider renewing it past the initial first year.