Will the Yankees be next?
Legal & General Group PLC is teaming up with the Birmingham City Football Club to market individual pension plans and savings accounts to the soccer team's fans.
Birmingham City is the first football team to buy into the pension plan branding exercise. Other teams, such as Newcastle United, sponsor credit cards, but Birmingham City will be the first to offer its fans a pension plan branded after their favorite team.
L&G will launch the Birmingham City savings program in October, with plans to start the individual pension plans -- akin to individual retirement accounts -- early next year, said Kate Harding, the insurer's public relations manager for retirement and distribution.
The club will receive a fee for each account opened, but L&G officials would not say how the fee is calculated. The fees will be used to finance the club's youth development program, Birmingham City FC Managing Director Karren Brady said in a statement.
Until about 15 years ago, the British financial services sector largely cold-shouldered soccer, considering it a working-class sport followed by wild and unruly fans.
But now British bankers are keen to obtain detailed data bases of fan profiles compiled by a number of football clubs.
In the early stage of the season, Birmingham City is ranked highly. The question is whether Legal & General will be as successful.