Business

Premier League shirt sponsorship deals 'set record'

Glen Johnson of Liverpool in new season's kit
Image caption Teams such as Liverpool have huge fanbase in many parts of the world

Premier League football clubs have negotiated a world record level of shirt sponsorship for the new season of almost £100m, a study suggests.

The combined value of deals across the 20 top flight clubs is £99.75m, up from £71.8m last season, according to research from Sporting Intelligence.

The previous record was set by Germany's Bundesliga last season.

The downturn-beating sponsorship growth has been largely driven by huge new deals struck by individual clubs.

Liverpool's £20m-a-year contract with Standard Chartered is worth more than double its previous agreement with Carlsberg.

And Manchester United's fresh £20m-a-season deal with insurers Aon replaces the previous arrangement worth £14m a year with AIG.

Last month it emerged that Tottenham Hotspur, which has signed a £10m -a-year contract with Autonomy, was looking at negotiating deals to sponsor shirts in each competition the team play in.

However, seven clubs have deals worth £1m or less - including newly-promoted West Bromwich Albion who have signed a £750,000 agreement with Homeserve after spending the previous two season without a permanent sponsor.

At £500,000-a-year, Blackpool's sponsorship is the least valuable, according to the report.

Deals remain unchanged for eight clubs including Everton, West Ham and Birmingham.

Success

Shirt sponsorship typically makes up between 2% and 10% of total club revenues, industry figures suggest.

But Alex Miller, who carried out the study, said there was "an increasing chasm between the haves and the have-nots".

"You've got the really big earners and then the rest. For some of them, the amount they can command for shirt sponsorship is almost beer change, especially when compared with television revenues."

But he added the Premier League would be pleased to now have more valuable kit deals than the Bundesliga.

"It shows how successful the English top flight is when firms will pay such huge sums for their brands to be seen in stadiums and, crucially, on television around the world."

Mr Miller warned there may be a too-heavy reliance on online gambling firms, which sponsor seven of the Premier League clubs.

Image caption Sunderland's new shirt sponsorship deal is worth less than last season

"These companies appear to be coming in with fairly short-term deals with the aim of raising their profile quickly and then getting out.

"I don't think we'll be seeing any long-term partnerships as we did with, say, Liverpool and Carlsberg for example."

Gareth Moore of the consultancy Sport+Markt agreed that the gap between the clubs at the top and bottom of the sponsorship table was too large.

He said the deals of the lower-placed teams were valued at about the same level as some of the agreements in Germany's second division.

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