Spread betting and foreign exchange brokers are chasing endorsements and sponsorships from top football clubs while regulators gear up to clamp down on the way they are marketed to retail investors. There is a trend for partnerships between small, often unknown brands offering FX and contracts-for-difference (CFD) trading with some of the biggest names in global football.
Brand management is seen as key to the future of Saudi football with the qualification of the Green Falcons for the World Cup a big boost to domestic interest in the game.
Most people would agree that the top two leagues in Europe are currently the Premier League and La Liga. Serie A has slipped back somewhat, in part because of a variety of scandals. The Bundesliga is catching up in the money stakes and the French Ligue 1 has a higher profile simply because of PSG.
However, according to figures from Deloitte, the Premier League’s clubs generated €4.9bn in revenue in the 2015/16 season, whereas La Liga generated €2.4bn. There is a lot of catching up to do and La Liga knows that it is behind the Premier League on the globalisation curve.
Writing his diary column in The Times on Saturday, Daniel Finkelstein seemed rather baffled by the arrival of shirt sleeve sponsorship at Chelsea, although we have discussed it here. It is simply the latest way of extracting money from commercial sponsors.
Whether they get value is for them to decide, although it is all tax deductible. I doubt whether I get any value from my advert for this site in the Leamington programme, but it is another way of supporting a cash strapped club.
The Labour Party would ban gambling firms from sponsoring football shirts if it came to power, according to the party’s deputy leader Tom Watson. Betting on football was worth £1.4bn to bookmakers in the last year for which figures are available.
Football clubs are in an arms race to get sponsorship logos on players shirt sleeves after the Football League sanctioned opening up the sleeve at the end of last year. The logo has to be placed on the left sleeve.
Two-thirds of football fans think that clubs focus too much on the global brand at the expense of the local fan base, according to a survey conducted by the Football Supporters’ Federation. Only one third of supporters thinks that the club cares about them.
The Football Association has pulled out of a sponsorship deal with Ladbrokes Coral worth up to £4m a year, after concern about the gambling industry’s influence over the national game. It is understood that the FA has paid Ladbrokes for the value of one year of the contract and no further penalty for ending it early.
Ladbrokes has similar deals with the Scottish FA and the Football Association of Ireland.
Liverpool has launched a cut price shirt in China to compete with the widely available counterfeits that sell for just a few dollars.
European clubs are keen to boost their revenue in this fast growing market. However, the widespread availability of fake shirts and pirated live streams of matches makes it hard for clubs to turn the high level of interest in European football into a reliable income stream.
The proposed naming rights deal between Vodafone and the London Stadium has yet to be signed, leading to fears that HMRC’s raid on the stadium last month has led the telecoms giant to reconsider. A draft contract of a £20m six year deal has been with the Vodafone board since the start of the month, but has not been signed off.