Dietmar Hopp in Hoffenheim,  Wilfried Finke in Paderborn, Klaus-Michael Kühne in Hamburg, or the troubled Hasan Ismaik in Munich. These 4 businessmen, who all hail from different parts of the economy and the world, share a common hobby: Football.
As patrons, all four put tens of millions of their own money into their favorite football clubs.
Payments of a patron are, per definition, a private expense, that are tax-deductible.
But how do those payments differ from those who come from donors or sponsors? You have come to the right place!  We are going to explain everything in this article.


A patron is defined as somebody, who supports other individuals or institutions with money or non-cash services. He does not expect any profits in return. He just wants to do something good, so to speak.
However, the guys mentioned face a lot of hate from other teams fanclub’s. Patrons like Hopp and Ismaik would destroy the beautiful game of football and convert it to an industry that is all about the money. But let’s be honest here: Professional sports have been a super-commercialized industry for a couple of decades now.  Even though return-services are not obligatory, the global company SAP has placed it’s logo in the context of a jersey-sponsorship on the jersey of TSG Hoffenheim for years. These return-services are optional, opposed to the legal ruling regarding donors. Donors are not allowed to take any services in return.


Donors are individuals or companies who provide financial aid, products or workforce for others without any consideration. The services provided have to be used in the public sector of the receiving institution to be declared tax-deductible. If that is not the case, i.E give-aways for the clubs christmas-party, the receiver is not allowed to issue a donation-receipt.


The classic sponsor can also be described as an individual, an organization or a company who is supporting a person, a group or another organization. In this case however, the sponsor is expecting a consideration for his services, that have to be written down in a contract. According to the scientist Andreas Will, the term “sponsoring” can be used if the following requirements are met:

  • A sponsor is supporting the sponsoree
  • The sponsor is granting services or advantages to the sponsoree
  • The sponsoree is granting advantages to the sponsor
  • A systematic management-process took place before the sponsoring started
  • The exchange of services is based on a signed contract

Summarized, one can say that the motivation of sponsors, opposed to the ones of patrons and donors, are always selfish. A consideration is mandatory and everything has to be written down in a contract. This is not necessary with donors and patrons.
While patrons can not deduct their payments from taxes, donors and sponsors can do just that if they choose to do so.


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