The 98 clubs in the top five European football leagues – Germany’s Bundesliga, England’s Premier League, Spain’s La Liga, France’s Ligue 1 and Italy’s Serie A – will generate a combined €580m from main or primary shirt sponsorships for the 2014-15 season, 22 per cent more than the €477m received from kit sponsorships.
Research conducted by Sports Sponsorship Insider confirms that the Premier League receives by far the largest revenue from main shirt sponsorships at €235m, 40 per cent of the total spend across the top five leagues and €89m more than the second-largest revenue generator, the Bundesliga, at €146m, a quarter of the total.
Wealth is highly centered on the leading teams. The top 15 clubs, by sponsorship value, receive €380m, 67 per cent of the total revenue and an average of €25m per team. In contrast the remaining 83 clubs generate just €200m, an average of €2.4m, less than a tenth of the top teams.
Sponsorships by sector
The airline and car manufacturing sectors are the most active sponsors with eight deals apiece (eight per cent of the total number of clubs). The joint-third-most active sectors are gaming and food manufacturing with six deals each, though in financial terms the contribution is small, at €13.9m and €10.9m respectively.
Airlines spend a combined €165m, or 28 per cent of all main shirt sponsorship value, and account for five of the top seven deals. In contrast, 57 per cent of car manufacturing‘s total is provided by European football’s largest shirt sponsorship, Manchester United €62.4m-per-year deal with Chevrolet which began in the 2014-15 season.
Similarly, the other leading shirt sponsor sectors by value are dominated by single large deals. While banking and consumer electronics have five and four deals respectively, the top deals – Standard Chartered and Liverpool and Samsung and Chelsea – provide 66 per cent and 77 per cent of the sector totals respectively.
Sectors such as telecoms, chemicals and insurance have just two deals each but generate far higher totals than some more active sectors. The top seven sectors by value account for 31 per cent of deals but contribute 73 per cent of total value.
UAE airline Emirates is the leading sponsor, in terms of value, supporting top clubs in all five leagues including AC Milan, Arsenal, Hamburg, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid with four deals in the top 15. With a total spend of€104.4m per year, Emirates alone accounts for 18 per cent of total main shirt sponsorship spend, 67 per cent more than the second-largest investor Chevrolet. No other brand has more than two main shirt sponsorships.
As with main shirt sponsorships, the Premier League is the largest recipient, totaling €188m, 39 per cent of the total kit sponsorship spend, more than double the value of the next largest leagues, La Liga and Serie A, which both achieve €82m (18 per cent).
As with shirt deals, the value of kit sponsorships are highly polarised between the top teams and the rest. The top 15 clubs account for €335m, 70 per cent of total kit spend on the five leagues and an average of €22.3m per team. The remaining 83 clubs represent €142m of kit deals, an average of just €1.7m per team.
Sponsorships by supplier
There are 25 different kit suppliers active in the top five leagues but 14 of these only supply a single club. Kit sponsorships are dominated by Nike and adidas which combined support 44 clubs, 45 per cent of the total. Only these two brands sponsor clubs in all five top divisions.
Nike is the most active kit sponsor among the top five divisions with 26 deals, 27 per cent of the total clubs, and is the leading active sponsor in four of the five leagues.
Adidas is the second-most active sponsor with 18 deals, six fewer than Nike, but has the most deals in the Premier League.
Outside of the top two, Puma and Kappa are the next most active brands with nine and eight teams respectively, while no other brand sponsors more than four teams.
The domination of the top two brands is even greater in terms of investment, accounting for two-thirds of the total value.
Nike is the leading kit sponsor by value with deals worth €163m, 34 per cent of the total kit sponsorship investment. Nike is the leading sponsor by value in both Ligue 1 and Serie A. The brand also accounts for seven of the top 15 deals.
Adidas ranks second with deals worth €159m, 33 per cent of the total, and more than double the level of third-ranked Puma. Adidas is the largest kit sponsor in both the Bundesliga and La Liga and provides five of the top 15 deals.
Adidas’s position is set to strengthen in the 2015-16 season with the start of deals with Manchester United and Juventus, replacing Nike at both.
Only three other brands make the top 15 deals, led by Puma. Its €37.4m deal with Arsenal accounts for 64 per cent of its total spend. Warrior Sports is the fourth-largest sponsor by value which is almost entirely due to its €31.2m deal with Liverpool. The brand’s two other deals are worth a combined €3.6m.
Only seven brands’ investments total €10m or more, providing 94 per cent of the total. The investment by 14 brands, over half the active players, is €2m or less.
The exchange rate used for this article is £1 = €1.2479