SPONSOR SHIFT – ENGLAND’S PREMIER LEAGUE THROUGH THE YEARS
– DataPOWA analyses shirt sponsorship trends in England’s top flight football league –
Following an incredibly strong summer for football (Euro 2020) and sport as a whole (Olympics), attention has started to turn to the new Premier League season. New clubs for the likes of Jack Grealish, Ben White and Danny Ings, as well as exciting new Premier League recruits Jadon Sancho and Ibrahima Konate, have fans enthusiastic for another nine months of football.
Sponsorship plays a pivotal role in how clubs fund their transfer market activity, and DataPOWA’s historic deal database enables us to look at sponsorship trends. We’ve broken down team shirt sponsors over the past 30 years, the last season (1991/92) prior to the Premier League creation in 1992/93 up to the new season, in order to investigate how the Premier League sponsorship market has changed over time.
- Dominant industry by season:
- 1991/92 – Electronics – 33.3%
- 2001/02 – Telecommunications/Food & Drink – 25% (each)
- 2011/12 – Betting – 35%
- 2021/22 – Betting – 45%
- Smaller regional businesses have been almost entirely priced out of the market, replaced by large/growing businesses seeking a global audience.
- Financial services have been present since the new millenium, sponsoring at least 10% of the top flight’s teams since 01/02 (with a peak of 30% in 11/12).
- There has been enormous growth for betting companies on Premier League kits since the 04/05 season, starting with Middlesbrough’s partnership with 888.com. Two years later, another two teams had joined them – Aston Villa with 32red.com, and Blackburn Rovers with bet24.
- 3 years after that, ‘betting’ accounted for over 30% of Premier League sponsorships.
- Automotive companies are the only businesses to sponsor shirts both in the 91/92 First Division season and the 21/22 Premier League season.
- There were a few “one appearance only” industries within 10-year segmented data, including ‘publications’ (Leeds United, 91/92, Yorkshire Evening Post), ‘energy’ (Ipswich Town, 01/02, TXU Energi) and ‘video games’ (Arsenal, 01/02, Dreamcast/Sega).
- There are no distinct trends with these industries that would tell us anything past business-specific marketing/branding plans. Markets such as ‘energy’ appear to dip in and out of the Premier League primary sponsorship pool every so often.
Other points of interest:
- The average size and type of the business sponsoring each tier of Premier League teams has changed dramatically. During the 91/92 season Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea were all sponsored by electronic brands. Nowadays, the likes of Arsenal and Manchester City are both sponsored by global airlines, with Liverpool and Tottenham choosing to take financial service companies as their lead partner.
- Despite now making up nearly half of the primary sponsorships in the Premier League, betting companies were the primary partner for David Moyes’ impressive West Ham side.
- The ‘sweet spot’ for these betting brands seems to be relatively consistent mid-table sides, such as Southampton, Wolves and Newcastle.
- DataPOWA’s sponsorship deal tracker records Manchester United’s partnership with Chevrolet as the most expensive partnership in the league. Manchester City (Etihad), Liverpool (Standard Chartered), Chelsea (3) and Arsenal (Emirates) all hold roughly similar deal values.
- In terms of sleeve sponsorships, Manchester United (Kohler), Chelsea (Hyundai) and Arsenal (Visit Rwanda) come out on top.
DataPOWA’s deal database, in conjunction with advanced ML algorithms, allows us to estimate both current market value and expected return on football sponsorships, allowing both rights holders and their sponsors visibility on the potential value of any deal.
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