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Goodball.com deal ends Real Sociedad’s shirt sponsor search

Nacho Monreal of Real Sociedad celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the LaLiga match against Atletico de Madrid (by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

Spanish LaLiga football club Real Sociedad has ended its search for a new main sponsor after agreeing a deal with Asian sports media platform Goodball.com.

The agreement, which will run for the remainder of the 2019-20 season, was struck in time for Goodball.com’s logo to feature on the front of the Basque club’s shirt for its 2-0 LaLiga win over Atlético de Madrid on Saturday.

With headquarters based in Singapore, Goodball.com is a new, interactive sports media platform that gathers the latest football news and statistics from the world’s leading outlets. Based on users’ favourite news and statistical analysis, artificial intelligence is used to evaluate and integrate these findings in order to help improve the interactive experience for other fans during live match broadcasts.

Currently available in Chinese, English and Vietnamese, Goodball.com is set to launch other language options shortly. Along with front of shirt branding, the company will also have a presence on Sociedad’s training wear and receive other opportunities.

The announcement makes Real Sociedad the last LaLiga club to confirm a shirt deal for the 2019-20 season. Its last agreement, with Chinese fintech firm Qbao, came to an abrupt end – with bills unpaid – in early 2018, when the sponsor was found to be involved in fraudulent pyramid schemes.

After that, a non-binding consultation in December 2018 saw 5,715 club members (86 per cent of the vote) decide against accepting a new shirt sponsor from the betting sector, despite reports of an offer in excess of €2m ($2.2m).

“We had four or five offers from betting companies, but we feel it is not the way to educate the young, we have a responsibility and we decided not to promote gambling as something that is normal,” Real Sociedad marketing director Begoña Larzabal told SportBusiness last week.