The self appointed “Special One” confirmed his long-rumoured return to the League yesterday (3 June) after agreeing a four-year deal with the London club he split from in 2007. Since leaving, he has helped Real Madrid to the Spanish League title in 2012 and guided Inter Milan to becoming the first Italian team to win the Treble in 2010.
The achievements have cemented the Portuguese tactician as one of the most successful managers in football and he has attracted sponsorship deals usually reserved for the players he manages. Adidas, Braun, American Express and Henderson Global Investors are among several brands capitalising on the commercial value of Mourinho’s celebrity status.
Sponsorship experts predict Mourinho’s incomes will grow, especially in the absence of Sir Alex Ferguson, as he becomes the League’s highest-profile manager. It is an opportunity for the Chelsea boss to develop a string of lucrative partnerships following a relatively unsuccessful period in Spain where advertisers such as Ikea used lookalikes to poke fun at him (see video), they add.
Neil Callaghan, account director at Fuse Sport & Entertainment, says: “[Mourinho] has always been highly attractive for sponsors and commercial partners and his ability to attract very high levels of media coverage without doing or saying very much is exactly what sponsors want.
“With Sir Alex Ferguson now gone, Wenger under pressure and two new faces at the Manchester clubs there will be even more focus on the Chelsea manager and Mourinho has a massive opportunity to take the high ground and develop a number of high profile partnerships.”
Jon Deacon, head of PR at sponsorship agency Fast Track, says Mourinho’s return, along with his reputation for “antagonism and saying outlandish things”, could make some brands wary of association.
He adds: “People will have an expectation this time and more likely to have formed entrenched opinions about him that can be analysed to a greater degree by marketeers – and therefore forewarned as to what to expect and whether it fits the brand.”
The latest data from sports market research body Repucom’s The Celebrity DBI index, which details how the public regard high profile figures, shows that while awareness has dropped since he left Chelsea, Mourinho is far more admired in the UK (98 points) than he is in Spain (78 points). UK consumers regard him as more trusted, more aspirational (+40 per cent), more appealing (+16 per cent) and more influential (+18 per cent) than consumers in Spain, according to the index.