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Study: Premier League clubs dominate sponsorship deals across European soccer

English top flight averaged almost 60 partnerships in 2022/23 season, according to SponsorUnited.

11 Aug 2023 Ed Dixon

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  • Spurs’ Son Heung-min is most-endorsed Premier League player
  • Coca-Cola largest sponsor across Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues
  • Elite clubs favoured by tech brands

Premier League clubs dominated sponsorship deals across European soccer in the 2022/23 season, with the English top tier averaging almost 60 partnerships, according to a study by SponsorUnited.

The firm’s ‘European Football Report 2022-23’ report, which analysed thousands of brands and social posts across more than 100 players throughout the Premier League, LaLiga, the Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1, found that the number of sponsorship deals last season for teams in England’s top flight had increased more than 30 per cent year-over-year (YoY).

Across the five tracked leagues, there was a ten per cent increase in the number of brands, while the number of partnerships broke records, nearly reaching 5,000 deals. This marked a 13 per cent YoY increase.

In the Premier League, Newcastle United and eventually relegated Leeds United were deemed to have the most partnerships.

Coca-Cola was ranked as the largest sponsor last season, boasting 47 active partnerships across the leagues. Sorare and EA Sports, both of which sponsor the Premier League, had 24 and 22 partnerships respectively. Betway and Socios had 22 and 20 deals.

SponsorUnited added that six of the top ten brands had a sponsorship presence across all five European leagues, a distinction achieved by less than 0.3 per cent of brands involved in European soccer sponsorships.

Construction and industrial brands were revealed to be the largest investors with 622 deals. However, the study noted that technology companies, who were the second-highest investors with 338 deals, favoured working with ‘prestige clubs’. Indeed, giants including Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain exceeded the league average when it came to tech deals.

Tottenham Hotspur forward Son Heung-min was judged to be the most-endorsed player in the Premier League player with 13 deals. The South Korean star rounded out a top five headed by PSG’s Neymar Jr (31 deals) and Lionel Messi (30), the latter of whom exited the French champions to join Major League Soccer’s (MLS) Inter Miami this summer.

Cristiano Ronaldo, who left Manchester United to sign for Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr in January, and Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, who plays for Italy’s Salernitana, were the third and fourth most-endorsed soccer athletes with 23 and 21 deals respectively.

“A sport that has garnered global attention for decades, European football provides a centralised opportunity for brands to reach consumers all over the world,” said Bob Lynch, founder and chief executive of SponsorUnited.

“The biggest leagues on the continent are among the most-watched sporting events on the planet. Greater popularity and recognition of the clubs and players in the US is also driving an even greater experience for their brand partners, and we can see the value recognition as brand deals have reached an all-time high this year; brands who aren’t investing in these leagues are missing tremendous opportunities for exposure.” 

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