Arsenal, Barcelona and Erling Haaland have helped fuel £200m rise of Prime

Just before Harry Kane's arrival at Bayern Munich, fellow Londoner KSI was finalising a unique deal with the Bundesliga giants.

He and fellow co-founder Logan Paul announced that their Prime energy drink would become Bayern's isotonic partner, a move the club's chief marketing officer believes will help them "reach a new audience." Despite health concerns and bans in Canada and New Zealand, the high-caffeine product continues to grow.

The brand has already generated over £200million from sales, with football playing a significant role in its success. Arsenal were the first big club to partner with Prime last year, followed by Barcelona this summer, and now top players like Erling Haaland and Alisha Lehmann are joining the ranks.

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Prime is successfully rivalling brands like Lucozade and Gatorade as it and football clubs explore ways to connect with Gen Z fans.

Ben Peppi, a commercial expert at JMW Solicitors, told the Daily Mirror: "Arsenal, Barcelona and Bayern Munich will understand the appeal of KSI and Logan Paul to their younger fans and they will see it as a way to build engagement with that fanbase all the while providing Prime with a global platform to enhance brand awareness." He also suggested these clubs could gain insights and opportunities from Prime's team through the influencers' own power.

A significant part of Prime's success focuses on a concern that has long troubled football bosses: engaging young people. Executives have often complained, without much substance, about kids losing interest in the sport due to short attention spans, rather than families being priced out by high ticket prices and TV subscription fees.

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Peppi dismissed the idea that teenagers lack the attention span for the game as a myth. They're just consuming it differently, he said, adding: "It is the duty of broadcasters, clubs and rights holders to deliver that content in a meaningful manner."

He also expressed belief that such crossovers would benefit clubs. "Exciting partnerships with challenger brands at the forefront of Gen Z culture will no doubt aid the club's development in engaging these fans as long as they are being activated correctly," Peppi added.

Prime's main audience from the start has been teenage boys who follow KSI and Paul on social media. The fact they are founders of the drink, not just ambassadors, is crucial.

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The drink's flashy packaging and bright flavours, which most adults find unpalatable, have been a hit. The bans and strategy of making it hard to buy in its early months also worked wonders, with bottles being resold online for the price of a good wine.

"They are founders, not just brand ambassadors," Peppi continued. "A clever marketing plan including scarcity and 'limited edition' tactics has helped make Prime an online sensation, aligning with the 'drop culture' approach used by brands targeting Gen Z."

"Having two big names as the face of the product is very important and a big part of Prime's success, but marketing buzz doesn't guarantee success the people running the company are smart and their success hasn't just happened by chance."

Prime is also positioning itself well in a market that's expecting changes – especially in the Premier League. With plans to ban gambling companies from appearing on shirts from 2026, there will be lots of opportunities.

And Prime's mission has always been clear: to take on the likes of Gatorade and Lucozade in the crowded energy drinks market.

Many football clubs are getting smarter about which brands they partner with, especially after fans' backlash over the quick rise and fall of cryptocurrency. "Supporters are more socially aware and there is now an expectation to use resources available to align with brands and businesses that match not just the club's values, but that of its community too," says Peppi.

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Peppi also points out that it's in a club's best interest to do their homework to protect their image from negative coverage. They should also have quick exit strategies in contracts if things go wrong, and work together to promote shared values and ethics.

On the other hand, fans understand that due to Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules, clubs need to increase revenue and commercial partners are crucial for this. However, they won't sacrifice their ethical, moral and cultural beliefs just to make money.

Peppi added: "There is a heightened sense of social responsibility which exists among fanbases and that has resulted in a rapidly evolving sponsorship landscape and fan sentiment yielding more power than ever before."

He concluded by saying: "Within that there is always opportunity, but in an age where sport carries such powerful cultural influence and a scrutiny of sponsorship has never been higher, responsibility now falls on rights holders to hold their commercial power to greater account and inspire future generations."

KSI and Logan Paul's cultural influence is undeniable. Bayern's press release confirmed that Prime "has pressured long-term brand competitors for market share in the isotonic category to see a 3.2% market-share in just over 12 months of operation."

This might sound like corporate jargon, but it's proof of the drink's success and why football, like its Gen Z fans, is keen to join the ride.

This article was crafted with the help of an AI tool, which speeds up Daily Star's editorial research. An editor reviewed this content before it was published. You can report any errors to [email protected].

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