Sports are a National Brand

July 2021 Living

Aljoša Žvirc

Sport in Croatia enjoys a mythical status and is widely considered one of the essential components of society. While sport is a part of daily life everywhere, this may be even more so in Croatia, where it has greatly contributed to the promotion and branding of the country.

Who can forget the iconic tourist commercial involving the rooster of its biggest sports stars? Tourist attractions and sport champions are the two driving forces of Croatia’s global reach. Countless success stories of Croatian athletes who have made it from anonymity to global recognition have also helped sports become one of the most important pillars of Croatia’s economy. And athletes have all recognized the significant role they play in promoting the country. They enjoy unwavering support of their passionate fans, as shown in all kinds of team sports such as handball, water polo, basketball, and especially football (its number one export item). The national football team received a triumphant reception after the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where they fell just short of winning the Cup against France.

Photo: Shutterstock

Still, more than half a million people flocked to the streets of Zagreb to show their support for the “Vatreni” (Fiery – as they are affectionately known). Along with all the footballing emotions, the second place brought in more than EUR 25m in prize money for the Croatian football federation (HNS), and undoubtedly a big chunk in Croatia’s tourist and commercial revenue in the years to come.

Rewards are being reaped even nowadays as the national football championship has netted its biggest contract for sports right holders. The success of the national team has also helped clubs and especially its (now world renowned) players make multimillion-worth moves to big European clubs, way more than any other country in the region.

Petrol remains a strong sports supporter in the Adriatic region


The Petrol Group has been supporting Slovenian sports for many years, as well as sports in other countries in which they operate. They sponsor not only individuals, clubs, and federations, but also sporting events, both nationally and internationally. By supporting sports and cultural entities, the company strengthens its reputation and ensures greater recognition of its brands. Despite the coronavirus epidemic, Petrol continued to support sports in 2020 and remains active in this field in 2021. “Our involvement in supporting sports and other humanitarian projects remains an important part of our commitment to working with the environment and community in which we live and do business. Assistance and support to the social environment are strongly intertwined with our long-term growth strategy. We, in our operations, take care of social and environmental issues, and accordingly, we try to offer help in solving various social and other problems,” Aleksander Salkič, Director of Corporate Communications at Petrol, sums up the group’s philosophy and giving-back-to-society approach.

In addition to long-term contracts with Slovenian sports entities, Petrol also continues to cooperate with some sports organisations in the region in 2021. One of the most important is certainly collaboration with the Croatian Olympic Committee. Support activities will, per Salkič, also be carried out at other sporting and cultural events that are currently still in question; this will depend on the relaxing of measures related to the allowance of mass events this year. The greater focus of their sponsorship activities will be tied to the web and various social networks, Salkič adds.


This article was originally published in The Adriatic Journal: Strategic Foresight 2021
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