In recent years, social media has become an important component of advertising, and companies will send products or pay sports stars to show themselves using the product on social media.
Yet there will always be a big place for shirt sponsorships. The sports sponsorship industry is booming, and over $62 billion is now spent globally per year.
The biggest sports sponsorship deals can by found most often on the front of football shorts. After all, football is the most popular sport in the world, giving it the biggest reach and the most influence when it comes to branding.
Dozens of teams have sponsorships running into the tens of millions, but right up there at the top are Manchester United with their Chevrolet shirt logo, valued at a pretty significant £47 million a year. Barcelona join them at the top, with a £47 million a year sponsorship from Japanese tech company Rakuten, doubling up on their previous deal with Qatar Airlines.
Other teams with notable sponsorships include Arsenal with their £30 million a year Emirates deal, Spurs, who are paid a healthy £35 million a year by American Insurance Association.
Man City, current favourites to win the league, scoop £35 million a year from Etihad Airways. Chelsea have the second highest paid deal in the Premier League, and gain £40 million a year courtesy of Yokohama Tyres.
Leicester City, last year’s champions who really did demonstrate their worth as underdogs, have a long term £4 million per season sponsorship with King Power.
In the 2017/18 season teams were allowed a sleeve sponsor as well as the usual kit and shirt sponsors, though these sponsorships are naturally less expensive at around $3-5 million. Puma is the biggest kit sponsor this season, endorsing five teams. Barcelona’s kit deal with Nike is reportedly worth around £100 million a year!
The 2017/18 season marks the first of a trial period of three years in which NBA teams can place company sponsorships on their team shirts, and since then 14 teams have joined in.
The current NBA champions have recently joined the roster, securing the highest paid sponsorship in the NBA so far. The Golden State Warriors have a deal with Rakuten (the same company who sponsor Barcelona FC) that is worth an estimated $20 million a year, nearly double what the Cleveland Cavaliers earn from Goodyear.
Other NBA sponsorships typically fall around the $4-8 million mark, including the Boston Celtics deal with General Electric for $7 million, and the Philadelphia 76ers, who were the first team in the NBA to sign a deal. Their sponsorship with StubHub helped the company to trend overnight, and is worth $5 million a year.
The prize pools for some sports can be quite large. Winning the Wimbledon men’s singles, for example, nets the victor around £2 million in cash. Yet these prizes are not always the most lucrative income for athletes, especially when you consider that an Olympic gold medal, the highest of hopes for most in the game, only pays around $25,000.
So how does someone like Serena Williams get their $160 million+ net worth from? The answer is, in part, down to sponsorships. Serena makes upwards of $20 million a year through her deals with companies like Nike, IBM and Wilson. Usain Bolt meanwhile, a six-time gold medallist, earns an estimated $30 million+ a year through endorsements with companies like Puma, Virgin Media and Visa.
The biggest sports sponsorships of 2018 will be in football, most of them in the Premier League. But there is still plenty of room for companies to leverage the marketing potential of basketball teams, tennis players and athletes across many sports. Happy New Year!
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BIOGRAPHY: Ethan Hazard
BIOGRAPHY: Daniel Sturridge