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Analysis of Kit, Shirt and Sleeve Sponsors in the English Premier League

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17/08/2021
Written by: Rana Ghosal

 

The 2021-22 Premier League season recently kicked off. 

Undoubtedly, the English Premier League is the most anticipated football tournament with the highest media coverage and fan base across the world. It is the most-watched sports league in the world broadcast in 212 terrotories to an estimated 643 million homes, and a potential TV audience of 4.7 billion people.

Evidently these staggering figures give the power to the Premier League and its clubs to demand high-cost sponsorships.

In this write-up, we take a closer look at the three key sponsorship assets of football clubs for the 2021-22 season, including:

1. Kit sponsors

2. Shirt sponsors

3. Sleeve sponsors

 

Kit Sponsorships

Kit manufacturers play an important role and have long been fighting for associating with clubs in the Premier League. Adidas, Puma and Nike collectively snared 75% of the clubs in the 2020-21 season. However, this dominance has declined to 50% for this upcoming season giving place for new entrants.

Kelme, Joma and Castore have entered the Premier League from the 2021-22 season bagging six Premier League clubs between them, while Adidas' club share has reduced significantly, now only sponsoring four clubs including Arsenal, Leeds United, Leicester City and Manchester United. 

 

Kit Sponsorship

 

A head-to-head comprarison between the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons gives a better picture:

 

Kit partner comparison

 

Nike has maintained its position while Adidas and Puma have seen their kit sponsorships reduced. For the current article we have opted not to delve deeper into the more profound strategic marketing decisions surrounding the above-mentioned brands.

 

Shirt Sponsorships

The front of the shirt space has always been a coveted asset by brands, particularly considering the top clubs in the competition. The price of this space ranges from 3 million GBP to 30 million GBP plus. 

 

Shirt sponsorship value
Note: Data of three clubs was not available/released at the time of writing this article

 

It's interesting to note that the top six clubs have almost 80% of the total value, while the remaining 14 clubs share the 20% balance remaining. It is a classic case of the 80/20 rule.

As far as sectors is concerned, the 2021-22 season will see an increase in share of gambling companies as main shirt sponsors. In addition to betting companies, other relevant sectors include the financial, automotive (including online retailers) and airline sectors. 

Looking back at the previous two seasons we can see the significant increase in betting companies as shirt sponsors for Premier League sides. 

 

Shirt sponsor

 

Shirt sponsor comparison

 

Sleeve Sponsors

The inauguration of sleeve sponsors as of the 2017-18 season has opened up another sponsorship avenue for EPL clubs. What initially seemed like a small step has become a highly sought-after space amongs sponsoring brands and companies.

Since last season, there has been a plethora of categories that now appear as sleeve sponsors across numerous clubs. In the 2020-21 season, 17 clubs had their sleeve sponsored consisting of 11 different industry categories. The same space was occupied by 18 clubs in the 2021-22 season with 15 different industry categories.

This space has displayed a variety like no other. One reason could be brands explore this asset as a stepping-stone to get involved within EPL clubs at a reduced rate in comparison with the main shirt sponsorship. As more data is gathered on the impact of sleeve sponsors it will eventually be consolidated by less categories.

A comparison between the last two seasons shows the different industry categories present as sleeve sponsors. 



Sleeve sponsor comparison

 

The English Premier League towers over other football leagues in terms of overall global reach, broadcasting rights and sponsorships. A recent report by Global Data says over 409 million USD was spent by partners for the highest-prized inventory asset in the 2019-20 season.

This figure dwarfs in comparison to the second biggest league, the Bundesliga whose partners spent over 200 million USD for the same inventory. 

As clubs continue to search for new revenue, we may still see some new sponsors come to the fore as potential sleeve sponsors in the English Premier League. 

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