Playing this season without a shirt sponsor, La Liga side Real Sociedad have decided to use the empty space to show their appreciation for their fans and maybe make a little more money while doing so. Each Sociedad player will wear the name of a different one of the club's 25,000 members on their shirt where the name of a sponsor would normally appear.
From the AP:
Sociedad calls the fan-appreciation initiative ''We carry you on our shirts.''
The names of club members are chosen at random. A group of 22 already were picked for a television commercial, and the names of another 22 were chosen to appear on the fronts of the jerseys for Thursday's Spanish league game against visiting Sevilla.
Though it isn't a large chunk of money from a corporate partner, this initiative could prove to be a clever way to encourage membership sales. Last season almost half of all La Liga clubs had no shirt sponsor, prompting some to get creative in finding ways to make their tops work for them. Valencia put their Twitter handle in place of a sponsor and Sevilla let fans pay to have their picture placed within their shirt numbers. It's probably just a matter of time before clubs start allowing fans to ride on the backs of players during matches for a small, but desperately needed fee.