German telecommunications company 1&1 will equip Signal Iduna Park with the latest mobile technology after striking an innovative shirt sponsorship deal with Bundesliga football club Borussia Dortmund.
The agreement also includes Dortmund’s current shirt sponsor, chemicals company Evonik, and means the two firms will share shirt branding rights, a first for German football. Taking effect from the 2020-21 season, the new five-year deal will grant 1&1 shirt sponsorship during Bundesliga games, with the Evonik logo continuing to adorn Dortmund’s shirt in the DFB-Pokal domestic cup competition, all international cup tournaments and overseas friendly games.
1&1 said it will contribute its expertise in the field of telecommunications to the partnership and equip Dortmund’s 81,365-capacity stadium with the latest mobile technology. This will include 5G as soon as 1&1 has started to build its modern mobile network.
In addition to shirt sponsorship and an extensive advertising package for all Bundesliga games, the partnership also focuses on an innovative social media concept. Dortmund and 1&1 said they will seek to open up new target groups with new content formats and media coverage.
Ralph Dommermuth, founder of 1&1 and chief executive of its parent company United Internet, said: “We acquired 5G frequencies last year and are preparing to build a modern mobile network. We also bring this technological expertise to bear in the partnership with Borussia Dortmund. Our cooperation goes far beyond classic sponsorship. In the area of social media and content in particular, we will open up new opportunities together in the future to engage interesting target groups.”
Evonik has been Dortmund’s main sponsor since 2006, with the contract extended through to the end of the 2024-25 season back in 2014. The company currently pays up to €20m (£16.7m/$21.6m) per year for the exclusive rights, with German newspaper Der Spiegel reporting this will be halved under the new deal. 1&1 will reportedly pay between €12m to €15m per year for its contract, depending on sporting success.
Commenting on the deals, Borussia Dortmund’s CEO, Hans-Joachim Watzke, said: “Today is a milestone one for us on the path of BVB’s economic and sporting development.”
In August, Dortmund said it would introduce a mobile payment option at Signal Iduna Park through a partnership with financial services company Comdirect.