End of an era for KAA Gent: VDK Bank stops as main sponsor after 35 years

If he still plays in Ghent next season, another main sponsor will be on Gift Orban’s chest. — © BELGIUM


After 35 years, KAA Gent gets a new main sponsor. VDK Bank has been prominent on the jerseys of the Buffalos since 1988, but that will come to an end after this season. “We want to work on our brand awareness all over the country, so we have to divide our efforts.”

Max Dedulle and Geert Neyt

In 1988, KAA Gent played a year in the second division, René Vandereycken played midfield for the Buffalos and Vadis Odjidja was not yet born. But even then, VDK Bank was prominent as main sponsor on the blue and white jerseys. Now, no less than 35 years later, the bank is handing over that torch.

For the observant supporters, that news does not come completely out of the blue. For example, VDK customers no longer had a discount in the fan shop and on a subscription. Inquiries with top woman Leen Van den Neste show that the bank will stop as the main sponsor after this season.

On the back

“We have now become a bank for the entire country,” says Van den Neste. “That was different 35 years ago: then we were only active in Ghent and the surrounding area. At the time it was logical that we would only sponsor a Ghent club. If we want to increase our brand awareness throughout Flanders and Wallonia, we need to distribute our efforts better.”

The paths of KAA Gent and VDK Bank do not completely separate. “There is a good chance that we will become a smaller sponsor,” says Van den Neste. “You may see our logo a little smaller, on the backs of the players. We also continue to support the KAA Gent Foundation and perhaps financially. In addition, we will continue to sit on the Board of Directors of KAA Gent for a while. We are currently discussing with the club what our future together will look like. ” (continue reading below the photo)

“We have to distribute our efforts better,” says top woman Leen Vanden Neste. — © fvv

Champion’s League

Either way, it’s the end of an era for the Buffalos. “35 years as main sponsor: such a long collaboration is unique in Belgian football,” says Van den Neste. “We have been through so much and look back with pride on the course we have covered. Of course the 2015 national title and the subsequent Champion’s League campaign stand out, but the move to the Ghelamco Arena was also memorable.”

In recent decades, many players have also been given a place in the heart of the top woman. “Although of course I don’t bother those people all the time. But certainly in recent years I had a nice contact with Sven Kums, Laurent Depoitre and Vadis Odjidja, among others. And now there is of course Gift Orban who plays like a charm, a great player that is.”

This news has no consequences for the other sponsorship deals, Van den Neste emphasizes. VDK Bank Gent Damesvolley will continue to exist under that name, and gymnast Nina Derwael will not have to look for another sponsor either.

The club will announce later this month who will take the place of VDK as the main sponsor and who will be on the jerseys of KAA Gent next season.

READ ALSO. “We challenge our customers: ask what happens to your savings.” VDK Bank is fully committed to sustainable banking

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