Buidling Dreams Together


Football and Prime Energy: A Worrying Disregard for Children.

As sponsors become more prevalent in football, the influence content creators can have provides new risks for children’s wellbeing, and further shows the lack of accountability football takes for pushing harmful industries.

While the controversy surrounding sponsorships in football has been regularly reported, with many concerned by the large presence of nation state owned corporations, alcohol companies, and the gambling industry across shirts and stadia, developments in the last two years have raised concerns. Most notably European football teams and players alike agreeing sponsorship deals with a specific energy drink, provoking new discussions about holding football clubs accountable for their choice in sponsorships, and the wellbeing of children.  

Prime, YouTube, and Footballing Giants

Released in 2022, Prime is the brainchild and business venture of YouTube sensations KSI and Logan Paul. While previously experiencing various controversies as content creators, this hasn’t stopped their energy drinks rise to the top of the energy drink market alongside fellow sports industry mainstay Red Bull. The worldwide status of Prime exponentially surged when the drink became the sponsor of European football giants Bayern Munich, Barcelona, and Arsenal, followed by the individual sponsorship of Man City superstar Erling Haaland.

Logan Paul (Left) and KSI (Right) have made millions being content creators, but decided to venture in the drinks business making new business partners like Erling Haaland (Centre)

The current concerns revolve mainly around their energy drink, known as Prime Energy. While Prime’s own website states that their energy drink is only suitable for adults (hidden away in the FAQs) and on the labels of the drinks, the main demographic of the drink is those who follow the YouTube sensations that represent the company, young men and children. Teenage boys’ wish lists for Christmas in the UK were not having videogames, or trainers at the top of them, instead, it was Prime drinks, with reports of a father spending £1000 on prime from the notorious shop owner and Tiktoker Wakey Wines. This could easily lead to a critique of the insane capitalist market, and the internet’s ability to create product based cults, but there’s other matters at hand.

Wakey Wines has taken advantage of the Prime craze, and their customers.
The Indelible Impact of Prime

Health officials have developed major concerns about the contents of Prime’s energy drink. The drink, being drunk by kids everyday, reportedly has as much caffeine as ‘two and a half cans of Red Bull, six cans of Coke, or three shots of espresso, and nearly twice the caffeine as one standard cup of coffee’. Sadly, this information has come too late for some, evidenced by when a child was hospitalised with a cardiac arrest after drinking Prime Energy in Wales. Concerns about how it is being marketed to children, and the contents of the drink, have led to bans in schools, and nationwide bans in various countries. This begs the question, why does the football industry keep on allowing Prime to be advertised at games?

A Win-Win For Everyone: If Everyone Doesn’t Include the Fans

Unlike other sponsorships, Prime allying with football clubs is a win for both parties. Rarely does a sponsorship bring benefits to a football club beyond economics (with a hint of brownie points here and there for those with a charity on their shirt). In an age where youtube and live streaming is becoming more popular than television for children and teenagers, having your club advertised in videos with millions of views helps clubs increase their international profile and fanbase through affiliation with young people’s favourite content creators, while Prime is marketed even more intensely to football fans.

Further concerns arise when combining these advertisements with the everpresent gambling and alcohol brands slapped everywhere you can imagine in football stadiums. This is another dark chapter in the economisation of football, as we now are becoming more aware of the effects sponsorships have had in encouraging harmful behaviours such as gambling and excessive drinking of alcohol, kids are now being targeted, to drink something that could have life changing health issues.

Is it Hopeless? Can Change be Made?

While public action could still make a change, the opinions of fans are becoming less and less valued in the elite football mega-complex. Action is needed from regulators and major football governing bodies to evaluate the public risks advertising specific brands has, before the harms these global brands perpetuate become uncontrollable. While we can still enjoy the beautiful game we love, maybe we ourselves have to be the ones to minimise these risks, as the football clubs we adore, and give our time and money definitely won’t be anytime soon.  

Need Support?

If you, or yourself are experiencing issues with gambling addiction or alcohol use, visit the NHS pages ‘Help for problems with gambling‘ and ‘Alchohol support’.

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