A new ‘Sponsorship Today’ report shows that Manchester United now earns 11% of all sponsorship income across Europe’s six major leagues.
The data, which tracks 1,179 club deals from the Premiership, the Bundesliga, La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1 and the Eredivisie, shows that the Manchester club earns an estimated €146m from its 2014/15 sponsorships and that doesn’t include its Nike kit deal (to be replaced as of next season by Adidas).
Barcelona second with sponsorship income of €107 million
The figures show that Manchester United earns nearly €40m more per year from sponsorship than its nearest rival Barcelona, on €107m and 95 times more than the Premiership’s lowest earning club, Burnley, which receives an estimated €1.54 million.
Report author, Simon Rines, explains the reasons behind the findings: “Manchester United has identified sponsorship as a key source of revenue in its attempt to compete with Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, which have a higher total turnover. Because the English club has a larger number of fans worldwide, partly as a result of the success of the Premiership, it is attractive to brands, particularly in Asia where its fan base is biggest.”
Apart from its new deal with Chevrolet, valued at €61 million per year, the club has a major secondary deal with Aon, its former shirt sponsor, but now training ground partner. What is most significant, however, is that the club has devised a strategy in which it sells rights in individual territories or regions. It is therefore possible for a brand in e.g. Thailand or Vietnam to buy sponsorship rights to the club with the branding not being seen outside of those countries. This allows the club to steer clear of what is known as ‘sponsorship clutter’, where rights holders are so plastered in brands that non has the opportunity to stand out.
According to Simon Rines, “Barcelona, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool are following this model, but to date they have had less success than Manchester United, which has a dedicated office in London’s Mayfair designed to serve its international sponsors.”
English Premier League clubs earn most from sponsorship
The report shows that across Europe’s primary leagues, club sponsorship is worth €1,321 million with the English Premier League the biggest recipient on €460 million. The German Bundesliga is second on €313 million with Spain’s La Liga third on €233 million.
The biggest percentage gain, however, is in France, where Paris Saint-Germain has grown commercial income exponentially in recent years. Its primary shirt deal with Emirates, for example, was worth €4.9 million in 2012, whereas today the figure has risen to €24.7million.