Manchester United are set to reap the rewards of mammoth sponsorship deals when they collectively combine for the 2014/15 season. And with Tottenham also having dipped into the idea of two separate sponsorship deals, it would benefit Premier League clubs to explore this avenue of increased revenue.
We shouldn’t be too surprised that United are the first team to really use their status to exploit this market. Their partnership with DHL sees the club bring in £10million-a-year over a four-year period for their training kit alone, while their most recent big move will see them pair up with American car giant Chevrolet in 2014. But United aren’t the party that’s necessarily asking around all the major companies for partnerships: the global brands are falling over themselves to sponsor the club.
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Manchester United have consistently been at the top of Forbes’ most valuable sports clubs, while their current value is in the £2billion mark. United are a footballing product that sweeps well beyond the boundaries of just English football. They’ve seen evidence of their popularity in places such as South Africa and East Asia while on summer tours, and the club are rightly taking advantage of a colossal stream of income that is readily available.
But the biggest clubs in the Premier League have a significant advantage over those from La Liga, Serie A and the Bundesliga. While those leagues on the continent have their merits, none can claim to be the powerhouse of a sports product that the Premier League is. There’s no value in companies pairing themselves with clubs like Valencia or Sevilla when their successes seem insignificant in comparison to Barcelona or Real Madrid. But the Premier League’s biggest clubs can boast notable and high-profile success. Following Chelsea’s Champions League and FA Cup double last season, shouldn’t they look to explore opportunities for greater income?
The dual sponsorship also plays a hand in clubs who don’t have the capability to move into a new stadium in the immediate future, for whatever reason. When Financial Fair Play eventually does kick in, maximising natural streams of income should of course be one of the priorities for clubs. Arsenal and Manchester United may be safe in their modern, moneymaking stadiums, but even the North London club’s revenue streams pale in comparison to that of United.
Obviously, there are notable issues that need to be circumvented with certain clubs. For example, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick was dropped from Nike for his involvement in a dog fighting circuit. He spent time in prison and was naturally a player that Nike wanted to alienate themselves from. With the non-football related stories that continue to arise in English football, many clubs are doing themselves no favours when there is an opportunity for further natural growth.
Tottenham’s idea to split sponsors from Premier League matches to cup matches is an idea that many others should bring in, especially those without the backing of big stadiums. But why are there only a small group of clubs who are taking advantage of this?
In Tottenham’s case, there’s always the fear from the sponsors point of view that the club may not advance very far in cup competitions. But Manchester United’s deal with DHL has caught plenty of attention and is looking to be a success for the club.
Liverpool’s partnership with Warrior highlights the vast amount of possibilities Premier League clubs have, even regardless of where they’re placed in the league table. It was a move that saw them join United in one of the league’s most lucrative kit sponsorship deals, yet the Manchester club are the ones who continue to impress right across the board. Due to their American owners, United are rightly looking to set up camp on the American east coast in order to further maximise their potential from a country where football’s profile continues to grow. The commercial team in place at United is noticeably taking full advantage of the club’s global appeal.
The next move for Manchester United is their negotiations with Nike in February, as the club look to approach a deal worth £1billion from the kit manufacturer, a sizable increase from their current £303million deal.
They have the brand power to command such deals, but surely there are many more in the Premier League who can take similar advantage—albeit on a smaller scale—of their position in European football.