Opinion split on whether sponsors will dump Terry

Chelsea and England captain John Terry may have damaged his relationships with current and potential sponsors following allegations of an affair with a team mate’s former girlfriend, say experts.

Terry: Negative associations?
Terry: Negative associations?

The star’s management launched a search for new sponsors last year and were looking to boost the footballer’s “brand appeal” beyond his association with Chelsea.

According to YouGov’s FameIndex data, captured in December before the furore, 51% of those polled thought Terry was well suited to his captaincy roles and 25% thought he was someone they would be proud to be related to.

Last week, Terry failed to secure a “super-injunction” to prevent the story of the affair being published.

Sponsors Umbro and Samsung had not issued supporting statements at the time of going to press, while England team partner Nationwide, which has run campaigns featuring the England captain, says the stories are “a private matter and not a matter for Nationwide”.

Carlsberg, which has just launched a campaign that features Terry on promotional packs, says it has no plans to remove his image.

Pippa Collett, managing director of Sponsorship Consulting, says sponsors will not make quick decisions but will “inevitably be sensitive to consumer opinion” and review their investments.

Karen Earl, chairman of the European Sponsorship Association, says brands sponsor sportsmen because of their “leadership and success” qualities but will back away “once those associations turn negative”.

However, IPA director-general Hamish Pringle says Terry’s alleged actions will have “little or no bearing” on his sponsorship opportunities unless “a brand makes a virtue of honesty, integrity and faithfulness”.

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