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Berlin state offers to sponsor city’s sports clubs through Covid-19 crisis

(Photo by Aitor Arrizabalaga/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images)

The city state of Berlin is planning to become a major sponsor of its professional sports clubs, except football, to help fund them through the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to Andreas Geisel, the state senator for sport, a total of €2.2m ($2.5m) will be made available to the clubs from a state rescue package.

The sponsorships will include branding on team shirts or display advertising rights to promote the state of Berlin.

Geisel told the Berliner Morgenpost newspaper: “We have found a way to help these clubs… [and] that means we make the clubs ambassadors for the sports metropolis of Berlin.”

Geisel added: “It is about the clubs coming through this difficult time and so that clubs are a figurehead for Berlin next season.”

The offer is aimed at Berlin’s professional clubs in basketball (Alba Berlin), handball (Berlin Foxes), ice hockey (Berlin Polar Bears) and volleyball (BR Volleys). Some, like Alba Berlin, have existing front-of-shirt deals that may preclude the Berlin authorities from taking the most-visible sponsorship positions.

Sponsorship-related funds could also be made available for the Istaf Stadium Festival, a major one-day athletics meetings, and the SCC Berlin sports club that organises the Berlin marathon and half-marathon.

The BMW Berlin Marathon will not go ahead as scheduled in September after Germany banned public gatherings of over 5,000 people until 24 October due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Generali Berlin half-marathon, scheduled for 5 April, 2020, was cancelled.

The city’s 1.Bundesliga football clubs Hertha Berlin and Union Berlin resumed play behind closed doors on 16 May and 17 May, respectively