Secondary Sponsorship in the Premier League

Posted by John Devlin

I’ve just been working on some Championship kits for the 08-09 kits page (frantically trying to complete them before the new season!) and was just wondering why the Premier League still does not allow secondary sponsorship on the back of the shirts and shorts. Seems really odd to me considering the Football League have been allowing this for a good few seasons now. I just can’t see the logic behind not permitting them. Does anyone know why?


17 Responses to “Secondary Sponsorship in the Premier League”

  1. Rich Johnson Says:

    Considering how money focussed the Premiership is, it does seem odd. Possible reason could be not wanting to dilute sponsorship deals (i.e. would Emirates pay as much knowing they were not to be the sole sponsor?).
    Could also be the prem protecting the ‘integrity’ of its brand…?

  2. Matt Wilkins Says:

    Probably the reason Rich stated.

    On the secondary sponsorship, I think it sets a pretty dangerous precident, as teams on the continent have been turned into walking billboards, and I noticed the placement of some of the branding was a little suspect on kits this season. For example, Burnley played with a second sponsor on the back of the shorts, across the players bottoms this season. Thats one reason to support them in the play offs – no badly placed logos ruining the great retro kits for next season should they win at wembley!

  3. curswine Says:

    I think it is the ‘integrity’ of the brand which they are trying to protect more than anything, trying to keep the look of everything as professional as possible including the look of kits. You’ll also notice that Premiership is also very strict on not allowing extra trademark manufacturer logos on the kit like Tottenham doesn’t have the extra puma logos on the shoulder like it’s European counterparts. Adidas gets special dispensation for it’s 2stripes logo for reasons unknown, recently Umbro have been allowed an extra logo on the sleeve too with teams like Sunderland and WBA.

  4. Rich Johnson Says:

    Matt raises an interesting point re Burnley…what if they do get into the premiership? What if they have a year left to run on their secondary sponsorship deal? Does this mean 2ndary sponsorship deals can only ever be in blocks of 1 year or do they have to have a termination / demotion (say to extra advertising round the stadium etc) condition should they reach the prem?

  5. Ian Says:

    Perhaps, for once, this is just good old fashioned common sense taking place. I doubt anyone wants our teams looking like F1 drivers after all and there is enough bad press out there regarding corporate greed at clubs.

    Most shirts sell (globally in most cases) on the back of iconic design so the over use of sponsorshipcould potentially destroy that revenue stream.

    No-one begrudges Football League clubs the right to extra revenue though, many lower division clubs need every penny they can get, just look at the amount going into admin. Global shirt sales are obviously less of a factor in these cases.

  6. John Devlin Says:

    Cheers for your comments – I find it fascinating. I think it is down to exclusivity deals to be honest – that seems to be the way things are in football at the moment – everything tied up with a single company.

    Its always odd when there’s a cup tie though between a Premier League and lower league club – one side with multiple sponsors and one without.

    Regards the Burnley issue that Matt and Rich mention, my guess is that this would be accounted for when the deal is signed with some sort of clause.

    Curswine (thanks very much for defending my work thats cropped up on FSC’s fantasy kit page – I owe you one!) – Pompey got away with the extra logos on their shoulders last season and this. I’m not so sure the PL is so worried about those logos now. Having said that, anyone else notice how sometimes the league patch covers the additional diamonds on Umbro sleeves and sometimes they don’t?

    I have to stick my neck out and say that although I do appreciate the bare simplicity of bygone kits I don’t mind the odd additional logo cropping up on a shirt – maybe its just that I’m used to seeing it in minor European leagues and it looks, well, exotic! Not sure I would approve in the PL though…

  7. Pete Says:

    According to UEFA ,rule 30.01 in the kit regulations says ” No sponsor advertising is allowed on shorts and socks.”

    And see how many of the Premier league clubs play in europe (“Champions” league, UEFA cup-or whatever they’re calling it this week, Inter-two-bob cup) The clubs probably find it easier just to have the kits with one sponsor, rather than one kit for europe, and one for the league -as both have to be registered/ approved al all levels (which is why “european” kits are such a rarity- too much paperwork)

  8. Matt Wilkins Says:

    In the lower leagues as well, you get a lot of striped shirts with solid coloured backs (Reading, Sheff Wed this season) could that be as much to do with the sponsorship as with the numbers and names on the shirt?

    In some cases the teams are linked with sponsorship and corporations (PSV, Bayer, Cruz Azul) that the club in a way sells the product, and the product the club. Could we ever see that in English football?

  9. john Says:

    prefer kits to be as plain as possible,soome of those french league kits are like the yellow pages….poor show!!

  10. John Devlin Says:

    Hello Matt – good point about the solid backs and the secondary sponsorship – I think you may be right. Certainly there’s not a real problem reading names and numbers but sponsor logos may lack some legibility on a striped shirt at a smaller size.

    Some English clubs have formed links with corporations (such as Reebok and Bolton) but I think the European links may go back to the club’s origins. For example wasn’t PSV launched by the Philips company in Holland as part of their social group?

  11. Les Says:

    I loathed having a second sponsor’s mark on our shirts, it made two lovely kits unnecessarily cluttered. Thankfully promotion curtailed the practice for us.

    In the case of Premier League teams, wouldn’t having a second sponsor just dilute the worth on the main sponsor package?

  12. Katherine Says:

    In 2011/2012, Bolton Wanderers played with their shorts numbers on the right leg of their shorts

  13. Davidr1986 Says:

    I don’t know why it annoys me so much but I hate it when teams have their short numbers on the right leg, I can see why Bolton done it due to design of their shorts but a lot of Spanish teams do it for no reason. As did the Czech’s in the Euros, doesn’t look right in my opinion

  14. Al Says:

    I think Prem clubs should use the opportunity, if it is presented, to advertise a charity of their choice as their second “sponsor”. Most, if not all top flight clubs have an association with a charity, and some have chosen to use their valuable shirt space for a charity instead of a paying sponsor, Aston Villa comes to mind with “Acorns”.
    Chelsea have been able to promote “Right to Play” in the last CL campaign and I think this ought to carry over in to the Prem. I’m not sure if other domestic leagues around the world do this already but I think it could set a healthy precedent if the Prem were the first domestic league to allow a second, charitable sponsor.

  15. EricGeneric Says:

    I totally agree, Al.

    I have no problem with secondary sponsorship, and think it should be allowed in the Premier League. Your calls for a charity promotion is a great idea. It would certainly help promote a little bit of goodwill, also.

    I think the secondary sponsor should only be allowed on the bottom of the back of the shirts, under the number. It just looks silly above the player’s name. I also can’t be doing with sponsors on the shorts. They just don’t look right. I’ve seen some clubs have sponsors on the “bum” of the shorts, which is almost like a parody of sponsorship.

    Just out of interest, and I don’t mean anything by the this, but did Chelsea start with the Right to Play promotion on their kit in the Champions League following the John Terry/Anton Ferdinand allegations? I don’t mean anything by this, I just can’t remember.

  16. Al Says:

    AFAIK Chelsea started with “Right to Play” in the away leg against Genk on their Blue home shirts which was the game after the controversial QPR match. Chelsea met Genk the week before QPR too, and the charity was not present on the Black away shirt. Maybe it’s a coincidence. I agree with you about having the second sponsor/charity under the shirt number.

  17. EricGeneric Says:

    Thanks for the reply, Al.

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