Nowadays, sponsorship is everything in football. Even Barcelona, who had never had a corporate shirt sponsor in their illustrious 113-year history, is now heavily involved in that side of the sport.
Some deals are small, others are big – but the ones that gain most attention are the truly colossal agreements. We decided to take a look at five of the biggest sponsorship deals in football – and consider just how influential they have been on the sport.
Chevrolet (Manchester United)
Without question, the biggest shirt sponsorship deal in the business is Manchester United’s huge partnership with American motor company Chevrolet. The Red Devils agreed a seven-year deal with Chevrolet a couple of years ago, at an estimated figure of £53 million per annum. No wonder United, now led by the charismatic Jose Mourinho, can churn out £100 million for new mega-money stars in the transfer window every summer. Expect the Reds, financed partly by Chevrolet’s deal, to be busy again in the coming months…
Next up we have Barcelona. In recent years, the La Liga giants have been the dominant force in European football, winning the Champions League three times in the last eight seasons. In terms of revenue and sponsorship, Barcelona recently signed a £55 million per year contract with Rakuten, a Japanese electronic commerce and Internet company. In order to keep pace at the summit of European sport, Barcelona will use this additional cash to buy some of the best players in the business.
Yokohama Tyres (Chelsea)
Remember the pre-Roman Abramovich years at Chelsea? Since 2003, the Blues have grown into one of the biggest clubs on the planet. So much so, that Yokohama Tyres agreed one of the largest sponsorship deals in the sport with the Stamford Bridge club in 2015. The Blues will reportedly receive £200 million over five years, working out at £40 million per season – not a bad sum of money at all. And with the Premier League champions elect looking to bulk out their squad ahead of next season, that £40 million could come in handy.
Fly Emirates (Arsenal, Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain)
Three of Europe’s top clubs are all sponsored by Fly Emirates and the Dubai-based airline are set for more commercial success on the football field. Real Madrid, currently 11/10 to win the Champions League in the latest football betting markets, are one of the biggest, if not the biggest, clubs in the world and Fly Emirates will be overjoyed to keep the Spanish giants on board. Meanwhile, both Arsenal and PSG are also elite clubs in two of Europe’s most competitive divisions in a continent that is commercially dominated by the airline.
T Telekom (Bayern Munich)
Last but not least, we have Bayern Munich. The Bavarians have been the dominant force in Germany for quite some time and they are also by far and away the highest earners in terms of mega money sponsorship deals. T pay Bayern around £33 million a year and they really do get good value for money at the Allianz Arena. Munich have won the Bundesliga title in each of the last five years and it is difficult to envision Carlo Ancelotti’s men relinquishing their grip on the domestic game in the near future.