• Andy Marston

The Athletic - Home to high-quality football journalism... and sponsorship?

Over the weekend, non-league side, Marine FC, played out their dream FA Cup tie against Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur.

While the final result had no surprises (5-0 to Tottenham), their journey to reach this point in the competition had been full of them.

The club overcame Havant & Waterlooville in extra-time to make it through, becoming only the second team from the eighth tier (of English football) to ever reach the third-round of the competition.

They have also had to overcome the issue of losing balls into the gardens that back onto the pitch – with signs on the fencing identifying each house number.

In contrast, Tottenham Hotspur boast a $1 billion stadium that doubles up as an NFL and concert venue, and currently sit fourth in the Premier League.

It’s quite the story.

And clearly The Athletic agree - the premium football journalism subscription service became the back of shirt sponsor for this one-off fixture and featured pieces and podcasts on the teams run in the competition and the game against Tottenham.

However, more brilliantly, their deal also saw The Athletic branding adorned to the house numbers on Rossett Road.

This generated huge attention, with The Athletic branding featuring prominently in key moments of the broadcast, such as the introduction of Gareth Bale, and camera-pans to cut-outs of Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp – which were also heavily shared online.