After a long 26 year relationship, Inter Milan and Pirelli announced this month that their USD 14 million a year sponsorship deal will end at the conclusion of this year’s Serie A season.
In the nearly three-decades-long time that the Italian football giants, and their tyre manufacturing ally, have done business together, Inter Milan has become one of the most well-loved and well-known football clubs in the world.
Inter’s history-making 5 consecutive Serie A titles, won between 2005-06 and 2009-10, were all secured with Pirelli at the front of the shirts.
As were Inter’s last four Coppa Italia titles (2004-05, 2005-06, 2009-10 and 2010-11) and last four Supercoppa Italiana victories (2005, 2006, 2008 and 2010).
During infamous manager, José Mourinho’s second season at the club in 2009-10, Inter, sporting their Pirelli kits, won the treble with their 2010 UEFA Champions League win over Bavarian giants Bayern Munich.
Perhaps even more lucrative than the league and tournament wins for Pirelli were the famous faces who sported their logo. These players undoubtedly generated hundreds of thousands of shirt sales from Inter and world football fans alike
Some of the most biggest players to don the iconic blue-and-black striped Pirelli kit include Giuseppe Bergomi (1979-1999), Javier Zanetti (1995-2014), Ronaldo (1997-02), Christian Vieri (1999-05), Iván Córdoba (2000-12), Esteban Cambiasso (2004-14), Julio Cesar (2005-12), Zlatan Ibrahimović (2006-09), Samuel Eto’o (2009-11) and Romelu Lukaku (2019-present).
As for which company will replace Pirelli as Inter’s main sponsor, that’s anybody’s guess, but Chinese property development company Evergrande Group has been tipped to take the spot.
If global trends were anything to go by then we might expect to see Inter adorn a betting company on their shirt. In fact, half of the teams in the English Premier League, and 17 out of the 24 teams in the Championship are now sponsored by gambling agencies.
However, Italy’s ban 2019 ban on gambling ads and television sponsorship rules this possibility out.
Whoever Inter’s new sponsor will be, the last 26 years have shown us that the deal will likely be very lucrative.
For instance, the best sports betting websites in Australia are already pricing Inter’s chances of winning the Serie A, and returning to next year’s Champions League, as low as $1.20.
Rivals AC Milan, whose main sponsor is Emirates, and Cristiano Ranoldo’s Juventus, who have worn Jeep shirts for the last 10 years, are outside favourites to win the Serie A at most online betting sites with their chance of lifting the trophy sitting around $11.00 and $6.00 respectively.
While it’s hard to imagine a world where the names Pirelli and Inter Milan are not synonymous, whoever the club’s new shirt sponsor will be is joining the club at the right moment.