In the U.S., MLB and the NFL run neck and neck as the country’s most popular sports.
In the coming years, it will be interesting to see how this popularity is going to translate into sponsorship deals as both leagues start focusing more on capturing revenue from partnerships and sponsors.
In the UK, the English Premier League (EPL) stands alone at the top of the list as Europe’s most prominent sports league. The extreme level of popularity this league has among European football fans is clearly reflected in the astonishingly lucrative sponsorship deals that have been inked by the league as an entity and by its member clubs.
Any discussion about the biggest EPL sponsors has to start by pointing out that the league as an entity has major partners/sponsors while each club has sponsors of its own. Let’s start with the EPL as an entity.
The biggest partner/sponsors of the EPL as an entity
The popularity of the EPL is reflected in the league’s roster of corporate sponsors. It reads like the “Whos Who” of the business world, and why shouldn’t it? With huge television audiences and stadiums filled with fans, the exposure each sponsor gets from just one game is enormous. Multiply that over one season after another, and it becomes easy to see why Barclays Bank shelled out £31.5 million for a 3-year deal with the league, running through the 2022 season.
The EPL currently lists the names of eight major partners, starting with EA Sports as the league’s Lead Sponsor. The other major league sponsors include:
- Official Bank = Barclays
- Official Beer = Budweiser
- Official Cloud Partner = Oracle
- Official Ball = Nike
- Official Timekeeper = Hublot
- Official Licensee = Avery Dennison
- Official Licensee = Panini
Note: This list does not include any national or regional broadcast partners.
The biggest team sponsors in the EPL
Each team is responsible for negotiating its own team partnerships. In each case, partnerships are broken down into three categories:
- Kit Sponsors
- Shirt Sponsors (front and back)
- Sleeve Sponsors
Clearly, the popularity of some teams drives sponsors to seek space anywhere on a team uniform where they can get it. Of course, it tends to turn players into walking billboards. With that said, these sponsorship deals give a lot of exposure to the companies that pay big money to secure these deals.
It’s noteworthy that in recent years, retail and online gambling brands have gotten heavily involved in shirt and sleeve sponsorship. These deals are being inked by UK operators including non GamStop betting sites big and small. Among the brands that have partnered with EPL teams are recognizable brands like Fun88, Betway, ManBetX, Sportsbet.io, and HollywoodBets, among others.
Kit sponsors are responsible for supplying the gear players wear. That includes shirts, shorts, socks, cleats, and other apparel that players might choose to wear during a game. Kit sponsors also get stadium exposure with strategically placed banners both inside and outside of each respective stadium.
In total, the EPL has 10 kit sponsors covering 20 teams. Leading the way are Adidas and Nike with 4 teams each. Other kit sponsors include Umbro, Puma, Hummel, Joma, Kappa, Castore, Kelmw, and Under Armour.
Shirt sponsors get their exposure from patches placed on team uniforms. The EPL gets support from 19 shirt sponsors covering 20 teams with only Cazoo having two separate deals (Aston Villa and Everton). As far as industries, the gambling industry is leading the way in representation with 9 sponsorship deals.
Among the most recognizable shirt sponsor names are companies like Standard Chartered, Lotus (automotive), AIA (insurance), American Express, and Emirates.
Sleeve sponsors get their exposure from patches placed on uniform sleeves. The EPL gets support from 19 different sponsors covering 19 teams. For the 2021-22 season, Everton does not have a sleeve sponsor. As far as industries, the financial services industry is leading the way with 4 sponsorship deals.
Among the most recognizable sleeve sponsor names are companies like Astra Pay, Hyundai, Kayak, Expedia, Dogecoin, and Bitci.com.