Premier League sponsorship: why fish in such a small pond?
It is of course a slightly rhetorical question. Gambling companies with arms and wallets wide open being keen to maximise eyeballs, particularly in Asia, have presented an easy solution in what is a very difficult and highly competitive market. Hence why, understandably, the realm of Premier League sponsorship and that of the Championship resembles a mini Las Vegas.
When you throw in a few financial trading platforms, ‘gambling’ accounts for about 40% of sponsors – companies who exist on the promise of getting us rich which, admittedly, fits in well with the world’s richest league. So it’s likely to be the first stop for the five Premier League clubs looking for new shirt sponsors next season (whenever that may be) and the five searching for new sleeve sponsors as current deals expire this summer.
However, with increasing pressure from the public, the government and charities it seems likely that this river will run dry within the next couple of years – as it did in July 2019 in Italy – so where else might the leading clubs cast their nets? A good place to start is by looking at what their European counterparts are doing so we analysed the main sponsors of the other four top divisions in Spain, Italy, Germany and France.
Let’s start with gambling. Spain’s La Liga bears the closest resemblance to Premier League sponsorship with gambling/online trading brands accounting for 31% of sponsors, compared to just 5-6% in Germany and France and, of course, zero in Italy. In what might be a warning to clubs here who don’t plan for a potential gambling ban, Italian side Lazio played this season without a shirt sponsor after being forced to give up their annual €7 million annual with Marathonbet. Ouch.
Without this reliance on gambling, what’s immediately clear is the wider – and frankly more ‘real-world’ distribution of sectors the European clubs have managed to attract. France’s Ligue 1 is dominated by property, retail, automotive and recruitment; Italy’s Serie A by automotive, travel and manufacturing, while Germany’s Bundesliga is a smorgasbord of FMCG brands, financial services, automotive (again) and manufacturing (again).
For a PDF containing the charts and full list of brands use this email at the end of this article.
To some degree, the sectors for these leagues feel like they’re a better representation of what the country is good at and what people like to do. In contrast, if a new visitor to our planet used Premier League sponsorship as a proxy for behaviour, they’d think life in England was dominated by staring at odds, accas and spinning roulette wheels on our phones.
Analysing the sectors covered across the five leading divisions naturally leads to an interesting ‘gap’ analysis and an answer to the nub of the question – where else might leading English clubs look? Overall, 21 broad sectors are represented across the five in terms of main partners (at this point it’s worth clarifying that only the single main sponsor of Italian and French clubs were covered, as they can have up to 4-6 brands on shirts so, in reality, there will be many other sectors represented).
As the Premier League covers just 10 sectors, that immediately leaves 10 (excluding the charity/NGO sector) the other leagues have successfully targeted as a starting point: real estate, energy, recruitment, logistics, pharmaceuticals, software, electronics, business services, fashion and health/fitness. Obviously, many of these will be covered among lower tier partners but the aim/challenge here for Premier League sponsorship is securing these sectors as the primary one.
The health/fitness category is always a surprise omission given its core/fundamental fit with sport while it’s interesting to note that the Premier League is the only one of the five not to have an energy brand on a shirt. Along with Italy, it’s also the only one not to have some form of real estate partner. Given the immensely competitive and homogeneous nature of recruitment in this country (and the fact it plays well to an intrinsic theme of football these days), it’s also surprising that the clubs haven’t successfully attracted this sector as Ligue 1 has (accounting for nearly 16% of the main shirt sponsors).
As well as these sectors, there are a host of others – entirely new ones or those being disrupted and driven by new technologies – that would be ripe for the eyeball, loyalty and engagement play that Premier League sponsorship could deliver. We’ve covered many of these in our series of caytoo Target reports such as:
- Health insurers
- Online investment platforms
- Electric cars
- Challenger banks
- New brands launching in the UK
- Quick Service Restaurants & Food Delivery
They’re designed specifically to help rights holders save time and resource when it comes to overcoming their key pain point – identifying viable target brands and hitting the right decision-makers with relevant and compelling proposals.
For more information visit caytoo Target. If you’re interested in purchasing these type of reports, email email@example.com to get your first one free. You can also email him for a copy of the PDF of Premier League sponsorship containing the charts and list of sponsor brands.