Why this Russian gas company sponsors soccer teams

Why this Russian gas company sponsors soccer teams


These players all have one thing in common: this logo — even though he plays on a team in Germany and they play for a team in Russia. It’s also on this team in Serbia, at games
in England, and on sidelines in Italy. The logo belongs to Gazprom,
a Russian natural gas company. Logo sponsorships are normal in soccer: Teams make money offering jersey space to
sponsors selling things like credit cards, cars and cell phones. But Gazprom isn’t like most sponsors: private
companies with products soccer fans can buy. Instead, it’s a company owned by the Russian
government that makes money selling natural gas to foreign countries. Yet, it’s everywhere in European soccer. So, if soccer fans can’t buy what they’re
selling, why is Gazprom spending millions
to sponsor soccer games? The answer is part of a larger story
that’s changing the sport of soccer. Foreign countries using companies they own
to burnish their reputations abroad, and to understand why Russia is involved,
you need to look at a map. Russia has the world’s largest
natural gas reserves and most of them are located in Arctic gas fields controlled by Gazprom. The company is led by Alexey Miller,
a close ally of Vladimir Putin. Since 2005, the Russian government
has owned a majority stake in Gazprom. Meaning company profits are under Putin’s control
and gas sales, along with oil, account for around 40% of Russia’s annual budget. This map shows how dependent various European
countries are on Russian gas and you can see that Eastern European countries are more dependent
than countries further west. At the end of the 20th century, Germany represented
the biggest opportunity for Gazprom. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder had announced
plans to phase out coal and nuclear power, which meant Germany would need more natural
gas to maintain their energy supply. Gazprom wanted to get it to them, but there
was a problem. To get to Germany, Russia’s gas
needed pass to through pipelines crossing countries charging Gazprom transport fees. And most of them went through Ukraine a country that has a
complicated relationship with Russia. Today, Ukraine still charges Russia $2-3 billion
dollars every year to pump gas through to Europe. So, starting back in 2005, Russia began working
on a strategy to bypass Ukraine and ship their gas directly to Western Europe. This is the Nord Stream pipeline a route through The Baltic Sea
straight to Northern Germany. In late 2005, Gazprom was in the final stages
of financing the project and Germany’s chancellor was preparing for an election. During his time in office, Gerhard Schroeder
had become friendly with Putin and critics in Germany were increasingly concerned about
the Russian leader’s growing influence. Just a few weeks before the election, Schroeder
met with Putin to sign an agreement officially approving the pipeline. Two months later, Schroeder lost his re-election
but by March he had found a new job: overseeing Gazprom’s pipeline to Germany. It also came out that, before leaving office,
Schroeder had approved a secret Gazprom loan that provided over a billion euros
to finance the project. Soon, the story of Gazprom’s big project
in Germany was becoming a story of scandal, corruption, and the creeping influence of Russia. But then the story changed. In 2006, Gazprom signed a deal to sponsor
the German soccer team FC Schalke 04. At the time, Schalke’s finances were worrying
team officials and Gazprom’s sponsorship provided money the team desperately needed. At a press conference announcing the deal,
a Gazprom chairman said Schalke’s connections with the German energy sector were why they
decided to become their sponsor. Schalke plays in Gelsenkirchen – a town in
Germany’s Ruhr Valley, where much of the country’s energy industry is based. It’s also close to the town of Rehden, a hub
for pipelines to the rest of Europe and home to Western Europe’s largest
natural gas storage facilities. Schalke wasn’t Gazprom’s first soccer deal. The year before, they had bought a controlling
stake in a team on the other end of the Nord Stream route: the Russian team
Zenit St. Petersburg. Gazprom’s investment made
Zenit a major force in soccer. Two years after taking control, Zenit won
their first-ever league championship. They’ve been able to sign expensive foreign
stars, like Belgian midfielder Axel Witsel and the Brazilian forward Hulk, and Gazrpom uses Zenit for marketing stunts: like having players scrimmage on the side
of their offshore gas platform. In 2006, as Gazprom logos were revealed around
Schalke’s stadium, German headlines were hailing the Russian gas giant for pumping
millions into the German team. To celebrate the deal, Schalke’s new jersey
was unveiled in a ceremony before Schalke and Zenit played a friendly match in Russia. And, over the next few years, the Gazprom
logo would become a team symbol displayed at Schalke games and printed on official merchandise. Schalke also won a championship in 2011 and by
then, Nord Stream had been completed, and that year, Gerhard Schroeder, Angela Merkel and
other European officials gathered to celebrate as it began pumping gas to Germany. There was also another struggling team whose
jerseys started featuring Gazprom’s logo: The Serbian team Red Star Belgrade. Red Star was about 25 million dollars in debt
when Gazprom signed to become their jersey sponsor. And, again, there was also another pipeline:
The South Stream would have bypassed Ukraine by going directly through Serbia to Southern Europe. That project closed in 2014, but Gazprom has
continued increasing their access to Europe by building Nord Stream 2, a second pipeline
doubling the amount of gas flowing from Russia to Germany. Gazprom has also expanded their soccer empire
to include energy partnerships with Chelsea football club, Champions League and the sport’s
most famous tournament: the FIFA World Cup. These sponsorships have made Gazprom’s logo
familiar not just to fans in Europe, but across the world. “We light up the football. Gazprom. Official partner.” It’s in commercials before games, and on
jerseys and sidelines once it starts. FC Schalke fans have also started to see
Nord Stream 2 ads at home games. And, while climate activists like Greenpeace
have staged protests to point out Gazprom’s threat to Arctic resources, Gazprom had no
trouble renewing their sponsorships. Now, Russia controls nearly half the gas consumed
by Europe and other countries are learning from their example. Etihad, Emirates, and Qatar Airways all are
owned by sovereign states in the Middle East with interests that go beyond selling airline
tickets. As the example of Gazprom shows, having a
prominent soccer sponsorship offers a way around bad publicity by winning approval on the field. If you’re a fan, that can feel like a big opportunity:
their money helps teams win major tournaments, but it’s starting to change the sport itself. Now that it’s become common to see a Serbian
team sponsored by Russia’s gas company facing off against a French team sponsored by Dubai’s
state-owned airline, it’s starting to seem like the field is hosting two competitions
at once: A match between two teams, and a larger play for foreign influence
that continues long after the final whistle.

100 comments on this post

    YungZee 09

    I don't see Gazprom on any football teams mate

    Reply

    SOUVIK DAS

    FIFA left the discussion

    Reply

    The Great British Empire

    Sock er

    Reply

    Axinite TazorX

    it’s called football

    Reply

    Ahmed Sarkar

    Soccer in Asia & Europe?
    You mean Football right?
    Typical American.

    Reply

    War gamervlogs

    Could it be possible if Nato and its famous companies sponsor soccer team, but also the US should start helping their Europeans counterparts with renewable energy to replace their dependence on a totalitarian autocratic natural gas.

    Reply

    Boris Daspider

    Football fans don’t care about sponsorships, we don’t buy things that sponsor out teams we see it as money and that’s it.

    Reply

    Andrea Luciano

    Dillo che hai aperto questo video solo per Milik in copertina

    Reply

    Anastasia Chorale

    I refused too long to watch this!

    Reply

    bogotac stankela

    you got the map of serbia wrong, it includes kosovo.

    Reply

    Andey Kurniawan

    I dont buy propagNda from a ountry that couldnt show any proof. Eg iraq wmd, russian election intefefe ce)

    Reply

    Zihan Zheng

    America, why are so different…. Fahrenheit instead of Celsius, Gallons instead of litres, Miles instead of Kilometres, Soccer instead of Football…

    Reply

    PES mobile

    "Money helps teama win major tournaments", shows picture of PSG winning Ligue1

    Reply

    dronespace

    Football, not soccer…..

    Reply

    Haida Gwaii Intel

    So it's bad when Russia does somthing but when Saudi Arabia and Qatar do it its okay? Good talk VOX. You are the deep St8te

    Reply

    joseblancoize

    Why are the Germans going to bed with them?
    Short game, politicians must be covering themselves.
    Long game, are the Germans creating a power against the west. Historically, it's a solid game plan.

    Reply

    ll Susanoo ll

    I pLaY SoCcEr 🥴🥴🥴

    Reply

    nikolai bahtin

    Why faze out nuclear power ?

    Reply

    nikolai bahtin

    It looks like gazprom does with politicians what american energy companies does with US politicians

    Reply

    NajibMohamed 21

    What about the DHL or western union sponsored the European football teams,why it's Ok for you to sponsor and others NO?

    Reply

    B Babbich

    All the Europeans that just want to complain about America rather than acknowledging the problems in their own backyard is the reason we can't have nice things.

    Reply

    Google User

    You forgot to mention that Poland is attempting to stop nordstream 2

    Reply

    Ezra N

    Long live Russia!!

    Reply

    Arseny Khristenko

    Кузькина Мать

    Reply

    Arseny Khristenko

    В любом случае, спасибо за видео. Я узнал что-то новое просто Россию, хотя смотрю только английский футбол

    Reply

    abid akram

    Why you are vox??

    Reply

    Eagles Network

    what is soccer ??

    Reply

    RodMo

    Football = foot + ball
    North American football = hand + ball (not foot OR SOCCER)

    Get with the program VOX.

    Reply

    Ivor Kusic

    Let's make a petition to ban Americans from talking about football because we haven't signed up to have American political cancer injected into our game

    Reply

    Henri M

    "Visit Rwanda" is on Arsenal Shirts left sleeve. You should have mentioned that as well. US$40m. for 3 years I think.

    Reply

    Asian Santa

    Now make: "Why this Russian gas company sponsors Vox"

    Reply

    Supawit Chirayukool

    You know what, this is actually very smart move

    Reply

    Кирилл Некирилл

    Ok.
    Russians and arabs are buying European empathy.

    Reply

    Ahmed Zain

    They could’ve explained this much better

    Reply

    Jon T

    This video is wrong within the first 60 seconds. British businesses can buy energy from Gazprom.

    Reply

    T. A.

    lol, scrimmage

    Reply

    mudpuddlepanda

    Meanwhile I am waiting for Buffalo Wild Wings to sponsor New England Patriots in NFL

    Reply

    mudpuddlepanda

    Meanwhile I am waiting for Buffalo Wild Wings to sponsor New England Patriots in NFL

    Reply

    mudpuddlepanda

    This is good neutral journalism. Creepy babushka

    Reply

    mudpuddlepanda

    Waiting for Russian influence in Ipl

    Reply

    Benyamin Miller

    Mad smart Putin chillin phatc

    Reply

    Dan Cool

    The closure seems to be speculative

    Reply

    Albnor Ragibi

    Not gonna lie, as long as they support my team financially which in return gives me happy moments and memories, I couldn't care less who is sponsoring the team and why.
    Football above all. ⚽

    Reply

    Miguel Patino

    Vox does great reports

    Reply

    Nurperzent Yskak

    Gazprom

    Reply

    Gurdev Singh

    There is a huge world outside USA vox. Grow out of it.

    Reply

    Анатолий Тумутов

    По импорту газ выходит дешевле , чем для своих. Политика идиотов!

    Reply

    Mateo

    FOOTBALL*********

    Reply

    Boing Boing

    Global Power of Football 1 USA 0 😂

    Reply

    Simon Eminger

    i know that russia is kinda bad and that they shouldnt try to bypass ukraine, but its also not ok for the us to think that europe is their colony to which they can sell unlimited amounts of expensive fracking gas

    Reply

    sipntea

    8:06 did anyone else notice the air jordan logo on the fly emirates jersey? i don't care why gazprom is in soccer, i want to know why basketball is in soccer 🤨

    Reply

    Bee Unknown

    So do British companies like betway who feed of peoples gambling addictions

    Reply

    LP Beats

    kosovo is serbia

    Reply

    LENGHONG KOH

    It is FOOTBALL

    Reply

    raffy begovik

    Nothing wrong with this, it’s called Business

    Reply

    Howe Trinh

    Why are this YouTube channel even care what Gasprom sponsor decision

    Reply

    Viperanium

    football

    Reply

    Gijs Pinxteren

    Ok?

    Reply

    Gijs Pinxteren

    5:45 is wrong

    Reply

    Ollie Swainson

    Gasprom ucl adverts will always be iconic

    Reply

    Artūrs Šmitiņš

    Sounds like Gabe from the Office.

    Reply

    M'swamp _

    And North Stream 2 is why we got Article 13…

    Reply

    Michael Kennedy

    Reputation Laundering.

    Reply

    Tiago Oliveira

    Football is the opium of 2010's and beyond

    Reply

    Ünifang

    fun fact: the word soccer was originated from britain itslef, its true name is association football, but the name is too long and the brits shortened the term thus soccer

    Reply

    ntedeschini

    Football football

    Reply

    cantbeleveitsnotnaru

    Soft power plays are scary

    Reply

    Y2kSd4

    That s the greatest virtues of capitalism ACHIEVEMENT. And fkkk the Arctic. MONEY FIRST!!!

    Reply

    Wayne Kelly

    Great report. Scarey stuff. What to be done?

    Reply

    Vench

    Газпром

    Reply

    Kelvin

    Nobody looks at the sponsors so no 2 battles going on

    Reply

    Alex Davis

    This is why Europeans get to be conspiracy theorists

    Reply

    RedSmoke

    Meanwhile in a Siberian village still uses coal, instead of gas

    Reply

    Rashid Bilalov

    You guys who say and what ,"America is that America is this", most probably don't understand what Gazprom is and in whose hands it is, and how putin uses this gas influence on europe by manipulating and at the end the day putin gets what he wants by this very gas manipulation. So read some news articles or history books before commenting, I don't know

    Reply

    Adomas B

    soccer is kinda politics at this pointt

    Reply

    rizky prananda

    stop calling soccer its football.

    Reply

    Alew

    football not soccer thanks

    Reply

    R K

    Literally no point to this video, is there?

    Reply

    Videos

    There is a small error in the translation at 8:41. „wir geben gas auf schalke“ doesn‘t mean exactly „we‘re giving gas to schalke“. It‘s more like „speed up“ or „crank up schalke“. Ofc the word „gas“ was used for exactly this reason by gazprom.

    Reply

    JONSTERS OF EARTH

    Football

    Reply

    Milan Z

    "OOoooo Russsiaa oooo spookey "

    Reply

    Tania Martinez

    How to fix the video :Football

    Reply

    FAHAD ALWARDA

    There is a discrepancy right before the end of the video. Man City and PSG are teams owned by countries as a profitable investment. they own more than 50% of the clubs assets and they are there to make money just like any other investor. Can we say Liverpool is doing PR jobs for the US because it's owned by an American company?
    Furthermore Qatar Airway and Emirate fly are service companies where you can buy their services just like you stated at the beginning of the video. DONT COMPARE APPLE WITH ORANGE.

    Reply

    Jack Mallett

    0:25 Neal Maupay = 🐐

    Reply

    Jack Mallett

    7:32 Cutter Airways

    Reply

    Ankit Malhotra

    Here a couple of comments

    – Not Schröder phased out coal and nuclear power in Germany, but it was
    Merkel.
    – What secret loan (deal) did Schröder approve? You mean the Deutsche
    Bank loan for German companies to build the Pipeline? Pls check.
    – Schalke won the German Cup final in 2011.
    – The South Stream was never built, that is true. But Turkish Stream is
    practically the same.
    – Russia exports over one third (not almost half) of imported gas to the
    EU.

    Reply

    Ankit Malhotra

    Here a couple of comments

    – Not Schröder phased out coal and nuclear power in Germany, but it was
    Merkel.
    – What secret loan (deal) did Schröder approve? You mean the Deutsche
    Bank loan for German companies to build the Pipeline? Pls check.
    – Schalke won the German Cup final in 2011.
    – The South Stream was never built, that is true. But Turkish Stream is
    practically the same.
    – Russia exports over one third (not almost half) of imported gas to the
    EU.

    Reply

    Ankit Malhotra

    Here a couple of comments

    – Not Schröder phased out coal and nuclear power in Germany, but it was
    Merkel.
    – What secret loan (deal) did Schröder approve? You mean the Deutsche
    Bank loan for German companies to build the Pipeline? Pls check.
    – Schalke won the German Cup final in 2011.
    – The South Stream was never built, that is true. But Turkish Stream is
    practically the same.
    – Russia exports over one third (not almost half) of imported gas to the
    EU.

    Reply

    Ankit Malhotra

    Here a couple of comments

    – Not Schröder phased out coal and nuclear power in Germany, but it was
    Merkel.
    – What secret loan (deal) did Schröder approve? You mean the Deutsche
    Bank loan for German companies to build the Pipeline? Pls check.
    – Schalke won the German Cup final in 2011.
    – The South Stream was never built, that is true. But Turkish Stream is
    practically the same.
    – Russia exports over one third (not almost half) of imported gas to the
    EU.

    Reply

    Mesina

    Cmon dude you made this up honestly lol. Like im a true football fan and i always ofc noticed these "logos" on the jerys but honestly i couldnt care less if there is "gazprom" or "qatar airways" or any other thing.

    Like im sure most people dont even care man , you come up with theories blabla.

    Reply

    Alejandro Montalvo

    It's Football, not soccer

    Reply

    Antonio Sanchez

    It's sad to see the world at this point the point at where greed and ambition for money is greater than anything else. We will destroy our own selfs

    Reply

    Atletico Wanka

    Every time you said soccer I died a little

    Reply

    Subutay beni kınıyormuş

    Come to Galatasaray 🙂

    Reply

    Kronk 24

    Soccer?

    Reply

    Rain Kuldmets

    Better buy gas from Russia than US. Cheaper than US one

    Reply

    Peter Zavragin

    Actually True I Have 4 Football T-Shirts And Guess Who's In The Front

    Gazprom… But Hey. They Light Up My Stove So I'm Not Complaining

    If They Haven't Sponsored Them Maybe There Wouldn't Be Any Competitive Teams Or Players

    Reply

    Егор Комаров

    What the melody in the end?

    Reply

    R Zumeri

    I love Vox more than anything , but every time saying soccer it hurts !

    Reply

    Gus

    So Red Bull wants to give wings to the whole word

    Reply

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