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Football Sponsorship: Category Landscape - SBI Barcelona

Football Sponsorship: Category Landscape

Sponsorship is worth billions in the football industry. As per a report by Astute Analytica, ‘global football sponsorship market was valued at $38.29bn in 2022 and is projected to reach a valuation of $55.37bn by 2031 at a CAGR of 4.4% during the forecast period of 2023-2031’.

 

In European football, 22/23 commercial revenue (where sponsorship is the major component, the others being retail, merchandising, licensing etc.) of the top 10 revenue generating clubs is a hefty €3.4bn or roughly $3.67bn (€1 = $1.08).

 

In this domain, the front-of-shirt, kit and sleeve are the most coveted assets. Considering the shirt sponsorship deal values of the top ten revenue generating clubs, we see 42%  of their commercial revenue is contributed only by front-of-shirt and kit sponsors! If you talk of only shirt sponsor, then it’s 25% contribution!

 

Football Sponsorship: Category Landscape - SBI Barcelona

 

So, we understand shirt sponsorship is the most prized asset. This leads us to examine which industries / categories are the shirt & other main sponsors (including sleeve, shorts, 2nd front-of-shirts, yes, some leagues have them!)

 

Behold the Gambling Brands

 

Like it or not, betting and gambling firms account for 23% of all main shirt sponsors across Europe’s top divisions in 2023/24 and that is 157 of the scheduled 734 clubs. That is how widespread the betting & gambling sponsorships are. Worth noting here that in 2021/22, the value was 22%

 

Countries where betting & gambling is the main shirt sponsor industry are

  • England
  • Russia
  • The Netherlands
  • Portugal
  • Belgium

 

Football Sponsorship: Category Landscape - SBI Barcelona

 

Starting from 2026/27 season, Premier League clubs have collectively agreed to withdraw gambling sponsorship from the front of clubs’ matchday shirts. That, however, does not include the sleeve and other forms of sponsorships. Leaving it to the readers to determine if the withdrawal would have any effect. Meanwhile, the juggernaut is continuing

 

Key Sponsor Industries  

 

Across all forms of sponsorships like front-of-shirt, 2nd front-of-shirt, sleeve, shorts (in some leagues) and other, the five most dominant industries are as given in the chart

 

Football Sponsorship: Category Landscape - SBI Barcelona

 

Unsurprisingly, betting & gambling industry finds a mention here too. Retail, professional services, financial services and food & beverages form the rest of the top five. Other industry categories are:

 

  • Airlines – 8%
  • Construction & real estate – 8%
  • Industrial goods – 7%
  • Telecommunications & Tourism – 6% each
  • Energy – 5%

 

Shirt Sponsor Countries

 

An interesting insight can be found on looking at the shirt sponsor countries of the ‘big 5’ leagues. Barring Premier League, majority of the shirt sponsors are domestic companies, as can be seen in the chart

 

Football Sponsorship: Category Landscape - SBI Barcelona

 

85% of the shirt sponsors of Premier League are from international brand reiterating its global brand strength and reach. Conversely, Bundesliga and Ligue 1 shirt sponsors are domestic brands whereas LALIGA and Serie A consists of almost half international sponsors

 

Conclusion

 

Sponsorship is a calculated, planned and long term investment made by the with a view to meet and fulfill organisational objectives. Main shirt sponsorships in the world’s most loved and followed game of football is a testament to this. A lot of planning and associated investment in activations leveraging the sponsorships goes in making these sponsorships a success story.

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