Posted on 5/08/2017 by Davey Blofield
Breaking news last week had sports fans around the world laughing into their… well, sleeves, when Manchester United were linked with a sleeve sponsorship deal with notorious dating app Tinder.
While the rumoured £12million deal may seem like an uncomfortable fit, to say the least, the increasing value of shirt sponsorship and new revenue opportunity with prime real estate on Premier League sleeves is fascinating.
The Daily Mail points out that ‘the value of shirt sponsorships has trebled in seven years and now earns Premier League sides £160m more than their Bundesliga counterparts.’
The article goes on to show that these deals are becoming the norm, rather than the lone anomalies they may once have been.
‘The 20-club list reveals the continued significance of gambling firms in the game, just a month after the FA terminated a £4m-a-year contract with Ladbrokes following a string of high-profile betting controversies in the sport.
Nine clubs remain tied to gambling and the industry spends £47.3m on shirt deals, only marginally less than last season.’
A Win-Win Opportunity
It’s great to see so many teams signing sleeve deals. This investment in football helps top teams afford to recruit the very best talent - both on the field and off. It’s important to take advantage of the business opportunities it represents to unearth hidden gems of talent.
It’s also key that we don’t misunderstand those teams who haven’t yet signed a sleeve sponsorship deal, by assuming that they haven’t been able to do so. It’s clear that several teams - both small and large - are merely biding their time. Many of these savvy players have an eye on offering a full, ‘clean’ offering when their main shirt deals expire.
Picking A Good Match
Of course, no transition would be complete without the faintest wrinkles below the surface. Behind the scenes, a number of primary shirt sponsors have expressed concern for their brand if the wrong type of brand arrives on the sleeve.
As we saw earlier this year with the YouTube ads fiasco, big brands can easily be tainted by less-than-strategic pairings with brands who may not share their values.
Mindful brand strategists are working with both the teams and their sponsors to find the fit that makes the most sense for all involved. However, with the 16 overseas shirt sponsors based in countries as diverse as the USA, China, Japan, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, Malta, Kenya and the Philippines, these specialists are likely to have their work cut out for them.