European Football Sponsorship Report 2018-19: Overview

SportBusiness Sponsorship has conducted extensive research into partnerships across the top five leagues in European football, covering over two thousand deals.

Our findings are presented in a series of interactive data reports.

An overview continues below, or you can follow the links to take an in-depth look at each league:

The 2018-19 season sees the combined value of kit supply and shirt sponsor deals across the five-biggest European leagues reach approximately €1.63bn ($1.45bn), up 7.9 per cent from about €1.51bn in 2017-18 and about €1.31bn in the 2016-17 season.

Granular data on every deal in the top five leagues will soon be available in our Deals Tracker database, which is available to all subscribers.



The top 20 shirt sponsor deals are worth €598m in 2018-19, up 3.7 per cent from €576.5m in the previous season. The percentage of total shirt sponsor revenue made up by these biggest deals stayed flat at 74 per cent.

Seven of the top 20 deals are from the Premier League, and six of those deals make it into the top 10. Together, those six deals account for 30 per cent of total shirt sponsor revenue from across the five leagues.

At £14.1m (€15.9m), the Premier League also has the highest average shirt sponsor deal.

The Bundesliga’s average shirt sponsor deal is worth €9.5m per season, LaLiga’s is worth €8.9m per season, Serie A’s is worth €6m per season, and Ligue 1’s is worth €2.5m per season.

Manchester United’s $80m-per-season deal with Chevrolet, from 2014-15 to 2020-21, remains the biggest of shirt sponsorship deal in European club football, narrowly surpassing Emirates’ €70m-per-season renewal deal, from 2017-18 to 2021-22, with Real Madrid.

But the Chevrolet deal may well be superseded before the end of the year: it is understood that Paris Saint-Germain has set an asking price of €80m per season when its current deal with Emirates expires at the end of 2018-19.



The top 20 kit supply deals are worth €672m in 2018-19, a 7.7-per-cent increase – almost €50m – from about €624m in the previous season.

Of those top 20 deals, seven are from the Premier League, four each from the Bundesliga and Serie A, three from LaLiga, and three from Ligue 1. The top 20 kit supply deals account for 82 per cent of total kit supply revenue across the five leagues.

At £13.9m (€15.7m) per season, the Premier League has the highest average kit supply deal out of the five leagues.

LaLiga’s average kit supply deal is worth €12.4m per season, largely due to Barcelona’s mega-deal with Nike, worth €155m per season. Excluding this deal, LaLiga’s average kit supply deal drops to €4.4m per season, the same as Serie A.

The Bundesliga’s average kit supply deal is worth €6.3m per season. Ligue 1’s average kit supply deal is worth €3.3m per season.

Competition between sports brands for kit supplier rights to the top clubs has never been fiercer, with the ‘big two’ – Nike and adidas – competing with high-spending challengers in Puma and New Balance.

The top clubs currently now have the upper hand in kit negotiations, while retaining control of their retail, licensing and merchandising rights.

Before the 2018-19 season, Barcelona took back the non-replica business from the 16-year Nike-run operation to set up a wholly-owned company Barça Licensing & Merchandising.

Clubs have also ensured that they are well-covered when there are unexpectedly high replica kit sales. Serie A’s Juventus gets €23.3m per year from adidas but received a $15m bonus before the New Year because of the increase in publicity and sales accruing from the transfer of Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid.



Between-club disparities in sponsorship revenues are more pronounced in Ligue 1 and LaLiga; the distribution of high-value kit supply and shirt sponsor deals is the most even in the Premier League.

In LaLiga, Barcelona and Real Madrid make up 88 per cent of total kit supply revenue and 78 per cent of total shirt sponsor revenue. In Ligue 1, Paris Saint-Germain makes up 50 per cent of the league’s total shirt sponsor revenue, and 23 per cent of total kit supply revenue.

In the Bundesliga, Bayern Munich accounts for 50 per cent of total revenue from kit supply deals, and 23 per cent of shirt sponsor deals. And in Serie A, Juventus and AC Milan make up 42 per cent of total revenue from both kit supply and shirt sponsor deals.



Across the five leagues, financial services and betting brands are the most prominent shirt sponsors.

This season saw a big increase in the number of shirt deals with financial service brands, rising to 15 from 10 in 2017-18. Within the set, banking and insurance brands each account for six deals.

Betting is the leading sector for Premier League and LaLiga shirt deals, but not one of these gambling deals make the top 20 and this is unlikely to change given the downside of brand association with betting firms for elite teams.

Regulators too could intervene in the sector’s promotional activities. UK betting firms have jointly agreed not to run ads during live football broadcasts, while betting advertising has been banned altogether in Italy.

Across all sponsorship types, fast-moving consumer goods brands are the top sponsors in LaLiga, Serie A, and the Bundesliga, largely due to beer and soft drink deals.

No brand has more deals across the five leagues than Coca-Cola, though none of the 36 are with Serie A or Premier League clubs.



The central sponsorship models of the five leagues’ operators are divided on global v regional and title v major partner lines.

The Premier League has profited both in brand and revenue terms from its shift to an Official Partner model after Barclays bowed out at the end of the 2015-16 season, highlighted by a new deal struck with Coca-Cola this season.

LaLiga’s title deal with Santander, from 2016-17 to 2018-19, is worth about €20m per season, but sponsorship revenue this season has been generated from a series of regional and global deals in Asia and the Americas.

The Bundesliga’s sponsorship revenue has plateaued since it handed over sleeve sponsorship rights to clubs in 2017-18.

Ligue 1’s small increase in central sponsorship revenue is the result of a new deal with Fiat. Fiat was previously a sponsor of the Coupe de la Ligue, but its new expanded deal now also covers the league.

Serie A has seen a slight reduction in central sponsorship revenue in 2018-19, largely due to the downsizing of its title sponsor deal with Telecom Italia, whose fee has been reduced from €18m last season to €15m this season.

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