Premier League Sponsors – Infographic

If there was any doubt before, take a look. English Football has finally sold out. And rather paradoxically, we have the Financial Fair Play Rules to blame.

The above infographic takes a look at the current sponsorship deals within the Premier League. It includes both sponsorships for the league and the clubs therein. It is a strong testament to the financial power of English football, but also gives us an idea of where it is all going.

Curiously, this rise in sponsorship deals is partly due to the recent arrival of UEFA Fair Play Rules. Michel Platini’s brain-child was born from a want to curb the manic money spending in football but may yet only allow for the big clubs to continue and leave the smaller clubs with only childhood dreams of climbing the ladder.

The basic philosophy of the FFP rules is to make clubs spend within their means. In the good old days big clubs could take a major loss and get their billionaire owners to pick up the tab – a precarious tactic because if the owner goes broke the club will be, to use the monetary vernacular, stuffed. Under the FFP regulations, the club can only spend what they make. A nice idea but one, as it turns out, riddled with loopholes. One of which is the money that can be made by sponsorship revenues – a factor that is likely to widen the prosperity gap between the sharks and the minnows.

And the billionaires are back in the room. Okay, they can’t personally top up the bank account like a sugar daddy should but they can get their bucked-up buddies to do it for ‘em. The rules say that another company can’t have ‘transactions’ with a club that they have some influence in – if they are a ‘related party’. So far we have seen that UEFA will have to work their backsides off to prove that a party is related.

The Chairman and Vice-Chairman of Etihad are half-brothers of Manchester City’s owner Sheikh Mansour but are spending £40 million a year to keep Eastlands as the Etihad Stadium. Gazprom is now one of Chelsea’s main sponsors yet was a company formerly owned by Roman Abramovich. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

This in-house financial spooning is but the tip of the iceberg. Big clubs can attract big sponsors without their owners’ friends pitching in. Barcelona, for example, recently signed their first commercial kit sponsorhip deal with Qatar Airways worth around £125m over five years. Meanwhile Manchester United are expected to strike a new kit deal with Nike for around £500 million.

Whilst we are on the topic of Manchester United, will the Red Devils please stand up and accept their award for Most Asinine Sponsorship Titles . DHL are their current ‘Official Logistics Partner’, Casillero Del Diablo are their ‘Official Wine Partner’ (bet Fergie didn’t get to help chose that one) and, saving the best for last, Mister Potato are the current ‘Official Savoury Snack Partner’. It was a tough call and Chelsea came a close second with their ‘Global Style Partner’ and ‘Tyre Partner’.

And what of the little clubs? Well, as with all packs of hungry dogs, the runts are left to fight over the scraps. In their current positions, smaller clubs haven’t got the pull for multi-million sponsors and are left with agreeing to smaller sums or selling their soul to commercial devils. Stand up Newcastle and West Ham.

The Geordie deal with pay-day loan villains Wonga was getting some decent press until hero-turned-idiot Papisse Cisse showed up in a casino. And West Ham now have an Asian betting partner, an injury-time betting partner, a European betting partner and an In-Stadia betting partner. In fact, have another look at the infographic and see if you can pick out all the betting sponsors, there’s a fair few.

But let us not bemoan these new rules. Chairmen, don’t just grumble about the poor hands you have been dealt. Let us use this as inspiration, as a means to push forward. Whilst ‘selling out’ is globally cast in a negative light, it is still, undoubtedly a global phenomena and was destined to engulf football sooner or later. So smaller clubs must take this as an impetus to compete differently, not on a financial level but on a football level. Managers like Martinez and Pocettino are fighting the good fight against England’s giants not in the corporate boxes but on the pitch. And if these clubs can find a way of putting football first, the riches may naturally follow.

Leave a reply