Football is one of the most popular sports in the world. It is estimated to have over 4 billion fans worldwide. With most people now able to access the game, more and more people are able to follow their favourite teams and football stars. This exposure has resulted in some teams gaining more and more fans around the world. In addition, more football players are starting to become some of the most glamorous athletes in the world. Some of the soccer players have even become household names due to their exploits in the field.
Names such as Messi, Ronaldo, Rooney, Pogba and Ibrahimović have even earned a cult following almost worldwide. The huge number of audiences that football teams are able to attract has led to businesses seeing it as an opportunity to advertise themselves. Brands see the exposure they get from being associated with soccer teams, players or organisations, as a way to engage their audiences. In addition, teams see these sponsorship deals as a way of earning money and staying competitive.
How football clubs are sponsored
One of the ways football clubs earn sponsorship deals is through their kit suppliers. While the merchandise the club sell depends on their popularity and success on the field, focus is now shifting on the amount of money companies pay to be the official kit providers of a team. Some of the popular clothing brands in the world of football include Nike, Adidas, Erreà, Puma, Umbro, Under Armour and New Balance.
Clubs can also earn shirt sponsorship deals. They do this by featuring a name on the front of their shirts. Recent trends have seen gambling companies becoming a favourite partner in the football world as highlighted on this page. For example, one of the most popular leagues in the world, the Premier League, will see half of the teams in the league being sponsored by gambling companies. The Championship will also have 17 out of the 24 teams being sponsored by gambling companies. This sponsorship deals will earn the clubs almost £350m in sponsorship deals. While not many football clubs may have names of gambling companies emblazoned in their shirts, most of the football clubs will partner with these companies in other ways or avenues such as in functions, endorsements, and events among other ways.
Another popular avenue for football clubs to earn shirt sponsorship deals is through multinationals or big companies. Most of popular companies that sponsor teams include financial service sectors, media, automotive industries, duty free shops and airlines among others.
Various football organisations in the world started giving teams the option of sleeve sponsorship during the 2017/18 season. This has led to more companies seeing this as an opportunity to associate themselves with a football club. Some of the most popular companies who have taken up this opportunity are from the automotive industry, gambling and financial services.
Top 10 football clubs with the biggest sponsorship deal
1) Real Madrid
When it comes to sponsorship deals, Real Madrid tops the list with their kit sponsorship deal with Adidas. The sponsorship deal is worth £950 million over a period of 10 years. They also have a shirt sponsorship deal worth €70 million per year.
Barcelona is second on the list having signed a lucrative £47 million per year deal with Rakuten as their main shirt sponsors. Barcelona also signed a 10-year kit deal in 2018 with Nike that earns them at least $174 million per year.
Although not yet confirmed because of a legal tussle, Nike have agreed in principle for a £80 million kit sponsorship deal with Liverpool. This would break the kit sponsorship record in England that is held by Manchester United. Liverpool also has a sponsorship deal with Standard Chartered valued at £160 that runs up to 2023. Western Union is its sleeve sponsorship partner, while AXA, an insurance brand, is their training kit sponsorship partner.
4) Manchester United
Manchester United signed a 10-year kit deal in 2015 with Adidas that earns them at least £75 million per year. The club also has a 7-year shirt sponsorship deal with Chevrolet that is worth £47 million per year. Kohler is their official sleeve sponsor.
5) Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich have a kit sponsorship deal with Adidas worth around £64.5 million per year.
Deutsche Telekom is their shirt sponsor in a deal worth at least £43 million per year.
6) Manchester City
Manchester City is sixth on the list having signed a 10-year kit deal with Puma worth at least £65 million per year. They have a 10-year sponsorship deal with Etihad worth £400 million. Their sleeve sponsor is Tinder, a dating app company.
Chelsea makes it at number seven having signed a kit deal with Nike worth at least £60 million per year. Chelsea also have a 5-year shirt sponsorship deal with Yokohama that is worth £200 million. Hyundai is their official sleeve sponsor partner.
Arsenal have a kit sponsorship deal with Adidas that earns them at least £50 per year. They also have a shirt sponsorship deal with Emirates £200 million. Visit Rwanda is the clubs sleeve sponsorship partner.
Juventus have a kit sponsorship deal with Adidas worth £46 million per year. The club also has a shirt sponsorship deal with Jeep worth £50 million per year.
10) Tottenham Hotspur
The official kit supplier for Tottenham is Nike, in a deal worth £30 million per year. The club has an 8-year shirt deal worth with AIA, an insurance company.