February 27, 2018
With Barclays ending their 16-year affiliation with the Premier League, it has opened up the 2017/18 season to be the first one with added sponsor space on jerseys. With clubs rumoured to have been pushing for the authorisation of sleeve sponsorship for years, it is expected that clubs will be asking for an estimated 20% of their current primary sponsorship spot on the front of their jerseys.
By freeing up the space once occupied by two Barclays Premier League logos, the league has created a revenue stream, which is already seen in a variety of leagues around the world such as La Liga, Ligue 1 and Serie A, to name just a few. The Premier League already has the biggest TV deal in the world of football and will see the likes of Manchester United looking at an approximate asking price of £10m for their sleeve rights. This breaks down to an estimated £100,000 per square centimetre of space - roughly the same size of a beer mat! Clubs will now be free to open up their sleeve space to any sponsor they like - with decisions only being dependent on existing sponsorship agreements with any current partners.
But… interesting fact for you, not every club will be able to get involved! An unnamed duo within the Premier League is unable to add this new revenue stream to their sponsorship income due to current exclusive commercial deals already in place… very interesting indeed!
March 2017 saw the first sleeve deal in Premier League history signed off, with Manchester City leading the field. The deal saw the former Premier League champions, team up with Korean tyre brand, Nexen Tires for a reported £5m per year. We also saw Virgin Media doubling-up with Southampton - with a sleeve logo alongside their primary shirt sponsorship.
But is this just of interest to the ‘big clubs’?
No. With independent research agencies calculating promoted and lower-tier clubs to be looking at an estimated £500,000 per-season, with clubs such as Watford, Swansea, Crystal Palace, Stoke City, Huddersfield Town and Leicester all having agreed deals for their sleeve space.
However, interestingly enough, you won’t see every club getting on board with the newly opened sleeve space. Whether this is through choice or lack of interest, we’re still seeing over half the league without a partnership deal in place.
With many clubs, happy to increase revenue through further sponsorship space, it has angered many traditionalists. Many are worried kits and football pitches are close to becoming a giant billboard, with the left shirt sleeve being the first step into seeing Premier League kits mirror those in South America, Scandinavia and Italy by being swamped with logos and patches across shirts, shorts and socks.
Seeing increased advertising space within the English Football League in the form of back-of-shirt space and short space, it seems only a matter of time until we see both leagues authorise increased revenue streams for clubs.