Brentford’s Gtech deal, Premier League naming rights sponsorships and the curious case of the 12Bet stadium

In the summer of 2013, as Crystal Palace prepared to return to the Premier League, a blurry image started circulating on Twitter. I remember it well. The photo showed a map of the stadium outside the club’s Selhurst Park, but it was no longer for Selhurst Park – it was for the 12Bet stadium.

As you can probably imagine, Palace fans on social media haven’t reacted sympathetically to the prospect of their beloved home being renamed after an Isle of Man-based bookmaker. Around a week later, the club confirmed a deal with 12Bet, referencing the gambling company as their new stadium sponsor, but falling short of granting the company naming rights to the venue.

Palace supporters still speculate to this day if this image was planted to gauge fan sentiment or if the club simply reworked the deal following the backlash.


I couldn’t help but think of the curious case of the 12Bet stadium this time around last week, when Premier League side Brentford announced home appliance maker Gtech – or Gray Technology Limited – as the naming rights sponsor of their community stadium for the next ten years. .

The West Londoners, who have described the deal as the biggest sponsorship deal in their history, are now one of six current Premier League teams whose stadium has been renamed for a sponsor. According to a 2019 report by American consultancy Duff and Phelps, clubs in English football’s elite at the time were missing out on almost £100million in stadium naming rights.

All of this begs the question: why, in a competition where teams rarely hesitate to generate as much revenue as possible, don’t more clubs have stadium sponsors?

Naming rights deals are almost inevitable in the United States, where, with few exceptions, major league franchises have a sponsor for their stadium, in some cases earning eight-figure annual sums for long-term deals. But it’s more of a tradition in this market, where sites have been used to promote business names since the early 1900s, when Boston Red Sox Fenway Park also served as an advertising platform for the real estate company of its owner.

Contrast that with the UK (and even Europe more broadly), where the majority of Premier League naming rights deals of late – including Brentford’s – have been for new stadiums whose nicknames are not engraved in the history of the club. Venues such as Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium and Brighton’s Amex have never really been known other than that, meaning there’s likely to be less resistance from fans.

However, try to slap a mark on a stadium that’s been around for decades and expect to be greeted with an uproar. The 12Bet stadium is one example, but there was even more disdain in 2011 when Newcastle’s much-maligned former owner Mike Ashley decided to associate his Sports Direct business name with St James’ Park.

Even in this short-lived case, however, people continued to refer to the place by its original name. Potential sponsors are therefore likely to be aware that their brand will never be truly associated with the more traditional European venues – even if they have a formal agreement in place.

Indeed, it’s hard to imagine Barcelona’s Nou Camp being called ‘The Spotify’ anytime soon, despite the music company’s €280m sponsorship deal with the Spanish club. Perhaps that’s why only €5m of that figure would be spent on stadium naming rights, with the Swedish company apparently seeing much more value in having their logo on the team’s shirts.

So while Brentford and potentially Tottenham Hotspur in the near future may have the opportunity to cash in on their new homes, don’t expect to see many other Premier League clubs rushing to sell their stadium names any time soon. .

The Barcelona ground has a new name, but will fans call it anything other than Camp Nou?


Called

England’s 2-1 win over Germany in the UEFA Women’s Euro final was the catalyst for a carousel of articles about the business opportunities the victory will create for the Lionesses – and it should.

Speaking to my colleague Ed Dixon earlier this week, M&C Saatchi’s Jenny Mitton said the Lionesses have provided “a platform for brands to speak to the nation” and predicted that sponsors already involved in women’s football will start to enter into individual agreements with the players.

The success of the Euros is likely to spur brands to enter women’s football in other ways, but it was recalled last week that this will lead to greater scrutiny.

In the run-up to Sunday’s game, the women-led Talented Ladies Club created a guerrilla campaign with advertising agency Truant London that highlighted the gender pay gap at some of the sponsoring companies. the Women’s Euro.

It was particularly bad publicity for Booking.com, where a woman only gets 58 cents for every euro earned by a man. The campaign also called out TikTok, LinkedIn, Volkswagen, Adidas and Visa. As I wrote in a recent article on the SportsPro website, this shows that the gender pay gap is an issue that goes far beyond sports.

But perhaps another positive legacy of the current rise of women’s football may be that companies considering sponsoring a female athlete or property will be incentivized to get their own house in order before signing a deal. based on values ​​of equality – otherwise they risk being exposed. further down the line.


new money

There are some early signs of what MLB teams could get for their jersey patch deals. The Boston Red Sox have reportedly signed an agreement with insurance company MassMutual for approximately $17 million.

Some studies had suggested that MLB patch deals were worth more than NBA ones, but I’m not so sure. The Red Sox are one of the most valuable teams in American baseball and their deal comes at a price similar to the US$20 million that the Golden State Warriors, whose partnership is one of the most lucrative in basketball, would have received from Rakuten. Legends, which has been tasked with finding a patch sponsor for the New York Yankees, is considering a deal of similar value to a top tier naming rights deal.

MLB commercial teams have a clear advantage in that their franchises play nearly double the number of games as NBA teams, which means more inventory. MLB team sponsors are also likely to be on screen longer given that the patches are located on the players’ shoulders, meaning they will be facing the camera when at home plate.

However, I would expect the value to be balanced by the NBA’s general popularity and wider global reach, so I wouldn’t be surprised if MLB’s most valuable deals end up around the same level. .


Top Resellers

Premier League clubs have been busy signing new extended deals ahead of the 2022/23 campaign. Defending champions Manchester City have been particularly active, extending their relationships with Acronis and Gatorade.

Everton, meanwhile, announced three deals this week: a new muff sponsorship with BOXT, a deal with digital clothing company Fancurve and an expanded tie-up with their global tire partner Davanti.

If you want more on Premier League sponsorship, be sure to check out our annual business guide, which went live on Friday.


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About Lillian Coomer

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