If in recent decades the world has turned from productive capitalism to financial capitalism, Argentine soccer is showing this change in the jerseys of the clubs that play in the Professional League (and also the Promotion). In a short time, traditional banks, digital banks, finance companies, lenders and cryptocurrency platforms appeared on the front or back of the jackets.
There are 13 First Division teams – almost half – whose main sponsors are companies linked to financial services. Banco Macro, owned by the Brito family, the president of River, has appeared on Tigre’s shirt for years, an old agreement that the late Jorge Horacio Brito had signed with his friend Sergio Massa to financially support the club. Tiger ascended, descended and ascended again, and Macro remained.
But the private bank with the most extensive branch network in the country is now also promoting the rise of Cordoba soccer. Perhaps to contrast with Talleres, which has sported a bank sponsor for years –first BBVA, now ICBC–, Belgrano and Instituto now have the Macro on their chest. The people of Cordoba and Tigre are joined by Central Córdoba, which has Banco de Santiago del Estero on its shirt.
San Lorenzo has also had a bank since the beginning of this year, but unlike Macro, it has no branches. This is Brubank, the largest digital bank in Argentina, with almost three million customers and a pioneer in payments with QR and Apple Pay in the country. After a time without a sponsor on the shirt, the Cyclone announced the agreement for all of 2023.
In the neighboring neighborhood, Huracán and the decrypto exchange sealed a sponsorship agreement in 2021 that marked a milestone: it was the first cryptocurrency platform to sign with a Primera club. The alliance enabled the squad and the coaching staff to have the option of collecting their fees in cryptocurrencies through the platform.
So far, nothing seems out of the ordinary. Some innovations typical of the digitization of daily life, in addition to private and municipal banks. But what is new – and perhaps to activate an early warning – happens with smaller companies, sometimes more opaque, that suddenly arrive not at one, but at several clubs. The case of Sur Finanzas became notorious due to the scandal that was left in Racing this week, when the journalist Leandro Adonio Belli, director of the supporter Racingmaniacos, published that the financier had reached a pre-agreement with Racing to become main sponsor in exchange of US$1,200,000. Everything got worse when Adonio Belli warned that one of the alleged shareholders of the company was Raúl “Huevo” Escobar, the former head of Racing’s barra brava.
In just over a year, Sur Finanzas Group SA was born and appeared as the main sponsor on the Banfield jerseys – its president, Eduardo Spinosa, was mentioned as another supposed shareholder – and Platense. The south and north of the Conurbano. The west covered him in the number of the Deportivo Morón shirt with Sur Cambio, a subsidiary company. And he completed the geographical board in the City of Buenos Aires when he appeared in front of Barracas Central and Atlanta. A growth as fast as it is doubtful, which the supposed owner of the company –Ariel Vallejos– attributed to the fact that they direct their loans to “soccer clubs” and enjoy the patronage of the president of the AFA, Claudio “Chiqui” Tapia.
Rapicuotas also grew, although it did not do so at the speed of Sur Finanzas. The company that offers “the fastest loan in the world” began in Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata, the city where it was created; then he appeared in Defense and Justice; and since January 2022 also on the Atlético Tucumán shirt. In the country of timba, soccer business –in its different variants– does not escape this reality.
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