HomeNewsSponsorship & MarketingFootballGermany

Sportfive secures DFB perimeter advertising role previously held by Infront

DFB-Pokal logo on LED board prior to quarter final between Bayer Leverkusen and Union Berlin on March 4, 2020 (Photo by Jörg Schüler/Getty Images)

The Sportfive agency has been appointed by the German Football Federation (DFB) to supply LED perimeter advertising at Germany’s international fixtures and DFB-Pokal matches in a two-year agreement.

Sportfive’s mandate comes after the DFB recently moved to terminate a services contract with Infront for the delivery of the LED boards, along with the rival agency’s deal to sell sponsorship and pitchside advertising rights, amid a bitter dispute following an investigation into alleged corruption.

The recently-rebranded Sportfive has now taken on the LED perimeter advertising services supply role in an agreement announced this afternoon.

The sale of perimeter advertising (or sponsorship) is not included in the deal with Sportfive.

Along with the home matches of Germany’s men’s, women’s and U21 national teams, the deal also includes away matches of the men’s team, excluding European qualification matches for major tournaments. Live television matches from the DFB-Pokal, the knockout club tournament, are also included in the contract.

Sportfive said that it had been chosen “on the basis of many years of experience in the area of perimeter advertising”, including around 200 matches per season in German football’s top three divisions.

The agency said: “In addition to modern perimeter advertising with Uefa and DFL [German Football League] certification, partners of Sportfive receive a 360-degree service comprised of project planning (including site visit, personnel planning, etc.), logistics for people and material, content management via a media server and the matchday service on-site in the stadium from two days before matchday and until the perimeter advertising is dismantled.

“The project management team of Sportfive is comprised of five experienced LED experts, for the implementation on site, the agency works together with highly qualified technicians and operators.”

Commenting on the appointment of Sportfive, the DFB’s Holger Blask, managing director of marketing and sales, said that the “know-how, expertise and experience of Sportfive in the segment of peripheral advertising are outstanding”, adding that Sportfive stands for “the highest standards, for integrity and reliability”.

In June, the DFB moved to sever its ties with Infront in the wake of a commissioned report delivered by Esecon, the Berlin-based investigative agency. The allegations pertain in part to a contract awarded to Infront in 2013 to sell perimeter advertising for Germany’s national team matches, along with a deal to sell sponsorship and advertising rights at DFB-Pokal matches.

Infront vowed to contest the termination of its contracts, saying it “firmly rejects” the corruption allegations and “will do everything it can to combat them”.

At the time, Infront no longer sold perimeter advertising at Germany’s national team matches but still held the contract to sell pitchside advertising at DFB-Pokal matches. Infront has also been the long-standing international media-rights adviser for the DFB-Pokal.

Questions over a potential conflict of interest were subsequently raised when it emerged that Stefan Felsing, now chief executive at Sportfive – and previously co-managing director at UFA Sports at the time of the 2013 tender – had provided information to Esecon in 2019 as a consultant.

The DFB’s relationship with Infront has been under the microscope since details of an ‘LED scam’ conducted by a former executive at the agency first emerged in May 2019. The executive in question faces a criminal investigation in Switzerland and the case has been the subject of an investigation by Infront with the agency having commissioned external lawyers.

Sportfive recently renewed its agreement with Supponor, the virtual advertising technology company, for three more years, allowing the agency and Supponor to continue to offer the only virtual advertising solution approved and licensed by the DFL for commercial operations in the Bundesliga.