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Big shirt sponsorship deal for Barca

FC Barcelona have signed a short sponsorship deal worth at least €220m with Japanese retailer Rakuten. The four season deal is worth €55m a year, a similar amount to the £47m a year that Manchester United earns in its contract with Chevrolet.

Barcelona has also signed deals to capture the Turkish electronics giant Beko on its shirtsleeves and US semiconductor company Intel unusually on the inside of its shirts.   It's a long way from just having Unicef on its shirts.

Getting round the rules

One can devise rules to restrict external investment in football clubs, but it is also possible to find ways of getting round them.   That is what the German Bundesliga has found.

RB Leipzig are currently second in the top German league.   They are sponsored by Red Bull, the energy drinks manufacturer, and play at the Red Bull Arena.   They are affiliated to New York Red Bulls and Red Bull Salzburg, the Austrian champions, both of whom play at grounds called the Red Bull Arena.

London Stadium naming deal in trouble

The latest crowd trouble at West Ham's London Stadium is going to make securing a naming deal more difficult.   The spectacle of fighting fans is not one a sponsor needs to boost their image.

It was always going to be difficult because what is on offer is really the sponsorship of West Ham.  The stadium would have to be debranded for other events such as the World Athletics Championship next summer.   Moreover, sponsors prefer to put their name to a new stadium.

New Chelsea kit sponsorship deal

Chelsea has signed a kit sponsorship deal with Nike worth £900m, the largest of its kind in the Premier League.  The 15-year deal is reported to be worth £60m a year.

The size of the contract reflects the rapid rise in the cost of football kit and sponsorship deals as the international audience for Premier League games has grown.

Chelsea ended its previous kit relationship with Adidas in May.   That deal had been worth £300m over ten years, but the club decided that it was well below market value.   

Spurs hope for naming rights deal

Tottenham Hotspur have opened talks with the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) over a naming rights deal for the redeveloped White Hart Lane.   Negotiations have stepped up after Spurs heard that QIA'S association with Barcelona is likely to end next summer.   However, Spurs have also approached a large number of other companies.

Debunking football finance myths

The Guardian has published an interesting blog that seeks to debunk a number of football finance myths in the context of the transfer window.  The article contrasts the lack of transparency in terms of transfer fees in English football with the NBA and the NFL but, as is pointed out, they operate salary caps so full financial disclosure is essential.

Virgin caps away ticket prices

Football fans travelling to watch their team play Southampton this season will have their match day tickets subsidised by the club's shirt sponsor Virgin Media.   The agreement will cap prices at £20 for away fans, with the media company meeting the additional costs.   If there were, say, 3,000 away fans, the additional cost would be £30,000, which is a cheap way of boosting Virgin's image.

It's a dog's life

It used to be said that some matches attracted just one man and a dog, but the non league dog phenomenon is attracting growing interest.   You can see a selection of non league dogs here.   One of them is appropriately supporting Barking FC.

At Leamington a collie comes with his owner to every match and watches the play intently.   Indeed, so badly does he need his fix that he comes to some junior matches as well.  In winter he wears the club's colours.

Premier League shirt deals rise to record high

The combined value of Premier League shirt sponsorship deals this year is £226.5m, an increase of £3.6m on last year.  In percentage terms this is less than two per cent, so it is a much smaller rise than that for broadcasting contracts.

Jam tarts kit disaster

I have just returned from a visit to Scotland and there has been much attention given in the media to the new away kit for Hearts.