Manchester United, the Premier League and Kit Sponsorship
Given the resurgence of the German Bundesliga and Spanish La Liga in the last five years, there’s a healthy argument that suggests that the Premier League isn’t quite as strong a football league as we’d like to think it is. The last time an English club won Europe’s prestigious Champions League was Chelsea in 2012, with Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich picking up the gigantic trophy in subsequent years and no club from the English top flight able to reach the final since. England’s biggest side, Manchester United have missed out on qualification to the competition in two of the last three seasons, and could potentially lose out on a substantial sponsorship payment from their kit supplier Adidas if the same should happen this year.
Yet, given the Premier League’s incredible ability to build its already mammoth popularity, companies are still desperate to be associated with it and its teams. It’s arguably the most powerful league in any sport, given the incredible revenue it generates and its global following. Unlike La Liga, it spreads the income from its overseas TV deal equally between all 20 clubs, meaning that even the likes of Middlesbrough, Sunderland and Swansea City could pocket £85m even if they are relegated from the top division.
Given its unprecedented power, it’s no surprise that United, as the Premier League’s biggest club are able to enter into a £47m per-year shirt sponsorship deal with American car manufacturer Chevrolet. It’s in stark contrast to their previous deal with insurance company Aon, which ran from 2010 to 2014 and was worth £20m a year.
It’s certainly been a remarkable period for the competition’s growth. For example, in 2006, Tottenham Hotspur signed a 4-year deal to be officially sponsored by internet casino group Mansion, who are responsible for other successful brands like Casino.com; that agreement was worth £34m in total, which highlights the incredible level of expansion, interest and money that the Premier League has experienced in the last ten years.
Despite the diminished presence of English club’s in football’s premier cup competition over recent years, the Premier League’s popularity, drama and ability to draw in a truly global audience continues to grow. As such, it’s little wonder that its biggest clubs, including United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City can command such gigantic deals to have the names of sponsors emblazoned onto their kits.