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Surprise! AFA Signs Sponsorship Deal With Uber

Two contrasting approaches, to say the least.

By | [email protected] | November 23, 2018 1:23pm

Screenshot 2018-11-22 at 13.45.43Mariano Otero, CEO of UBER Argentina, and Claudio Tapia, AFA President

The Argentine Football Association (AFA) has decided to explore a new sponsorship platform and has announced that they reached a deal with Uber to become their digital sponsor. This is an interesting development to say the least, especially since the City Government just recently announced a recent increase in the penalties that Uber drivers in Buenos Aires will get if caught.

The City government is yet to release a statement on the recent deal and when approached to answer questions on the topic with The Bubble, the Secretary of City Transport was unable to make a statement on the matter and informed us to speak to AFA or Uber instead.

The announcement was made by the AFA last Tuesday in Mendoza, which is one of the few places in which Uber is legal in Argentina. “Within its new sponsorship platform, the Argentine Football Association has developed a new category that aims to monetize its digital heritage. In this context, the AFA established an agreement with Uber, which is added as a new Digital Sponsor. Today, President Claudio Tapia and Felipe Fernández Aramburu, head of business development for Argentina, signed the agreement,” their website read.

This deal between Uber and AFA will allow the football organization to receive approximately AR $20 million a year from the company.

Juan Labaqui, a representative from Uber said on the agreement that “no one can say that Uber’s deal with AFA is illegal, because there is no single firm ruling against Uber. Furthermore, all the higher court rulings that have come out against Uber and other parties have turned out in Uber’s favor.” Another controversy that was dispelled by Labaqui was the fact that the deal took place in Mendoza, making the public think that the deal was done there due to their legal status. He explained however that it was merely “a coincidence,” as Argentina was playing against Mexico there.

Upon the release of the news from AFA, the United Taxi Drivers Association was mobilized and began to protest outside of the AFA Headquarters, as well as outside of the residency of AFA President, Claudio Tapia. While Uber is not an illegal company in Argentina, it cannot function in many areas as it doesn’t adhere to their laws which would allow it to operate legally. However, there are multiple bills currently being drafted in order to legalize it in Buenos Aires, Posadas and Rosario.

(Photo: David Fernández) Taxi drivers protesting outside of the AFA Headquarters after the announcement

Uber has been known to sponsor multiple sporting teams, including their recent sponsorship deals with Brazilian football teams Atlético Mineiro and Cruzeiro, as well as the English teams Manchester United and Chelsea.

Labaqui further confirmed that there would be no logo of Uber on any of the kits despite their photo from the press release. He stated that it was “simply a marketing move” and that, “Uber supports multiple numerous football teams in several countries and this deal is no different”.