It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that the sport of professional soccer generates more revenues from sponsorships and merchandising that many other sports in the world. That current number is sitting at approximately $21 billion a year as compared with America's NFL, which pulls in somewhere around $16-$17 billion a year. No other sport is even close.
Given the cost associated with sponsoring an EPL team, there has to be significant benefits the sponsor can expect to receive in return. Back in the day, sponsors were happy to get its name and logos plastered all over the perimeter of the pitch. That's still an attractive benefit, but most sponsors are looking for something that's a little bit more connected to the way the world interacts today.
What they want is access to the team and players to help build content for social media. Banners on the outside of a pitch might be seen by millions of people a day over 15-20 games a year. Once something earns its place into the social media realm, the number of people it can influence is many times more, perhaps in the millions on any given day every day. That's where the real value of a sponsorship deal lies.
Social media also gives corporate sponsors something else that has proven to be invaluable. They get an opportunity to tell the company's story and how it ties to fans of the sponsored team and the EPL in general. With the right amount of exposure over a larger variety of media, the impact on the bottom line of most sponsors is going to see a positive move to the upside. Quite literally, sponsors infuse EPL teams and the league with cash and the league and teams infuse the sponsor with a larger customer base.
Two years ago, in an interview with CNBC anchor Carolin Roth, Tom Glick, chief commercial officer at City Football Group, parent company of Manchester City Football Club was talking about the way his organisation goes about looking for new sponsorship partners. He stated:
"I think there's been a recognition that sports works. Not only is it the ultimate reality TV but it's a great way to engage a consumer or to engage somebody that's running a business.
"So you know there's 50, 60, 70 categories of businesses that are using sports effectively. So, we start by looking at... the leading businesses in those categories to find potential partners that we might have a conversation with, learn about what they are looking to achieve and hopefully get far enough that we can come back and bring some solutions."
Confirming that sponsorship dollars can draw more value with the EPL that with any other major sport league, Dan Jones, head of Deloitte's sports business group, told CNBC's James Wright: "America is sort of been seen as leading the way in commercializasion of sports. But they do cast an envious glance across at Europe because Europe's got football and football is 'the world sport'."
He later added: "So NFL - fantastic property, fantastic competition, fantastic spectacle - but [it] doesn't necessarily travel brilliantly outside the U.S. Baseball the same, ice hockey the same, [they have] strong avid fans around the world. But nothing unites the world sport-wise like football."
In the gambling industry, we are seeing a number of high-profile gambling conglomerates seeking jersey and banner deals with the EPL. Why? Customer take note. There's even value in such sponsorships for mid-level online gambling operators like casumo.com/en-gb/ to benefit on a smaller scale because of the reach of the internet.
With billions of sponsorship dollars now pouring into sports leagues all over the world, there doesn't appear to be any end in sight to the number of corporations that want some kind of affiliation with sports. The numbers say there's still plenty of room to grow on both sides.