Make no doubt about, sports partnerships are entering a new, somewhat surprising era as evidenced by recent moves in the industry.
In recent months, Sony Music has signed a deal with Chelsea, Roma has partnered up with Hugo Boss. Strangest of all has been PSG’s and the Rolling Stones, yes the band, teaming up to produce a fashion range. Even Manchester United were rumoured to have found a perfect match with Tinder as a sleeve sponsor (as of yet this hasn’t be finalised).
In what seems like probably a bygone era, the BBC outlined (in a very entertaining piece) some of the stranger sports sponsorships we’ve seen in previous, including “Pooh Jeans” sponsoring Italian juggernaut AC Milan in the 1980s.
However, loveable, well remembered sponsorships/partnerships like the above, are well and truly gone from top tier football.
Instead, if Manchester United are anything to go by, football clubs now have a whole range of sponsors, that have little to no relevance to what goes on on the field. United have up to 65, yes 65 partners, including an official wine and paint sponsor.
The reason for the explosion in official sponsors, is of course down to money. Yet, sponsorships/partnerships in football will continue to evolve beyond shirt sleeves and into more fast growing areas, such as eSports. Many clubs have created their own eSports divisions to cash in on the burgeoning scene and also unlock new sponsorship streams.
Interestingly though, a traditional revenue stream isn’t open to top tier, Premier League clubs. A recent English Football League (EFL) announcement regarding a new broadcasting deal, pointed to the future. Lower league teams will be able to stream non-broadcasted games on their own websites under this deal. Yet the same option, currently, doesn’t exist for EPL teams, which, in this day and age seems madness.