The Full 90

English clubs overtake Germans for shirt revenue

LONDON — The English Premier League has overtaken Germany's Bundesliga for attracting Europe's most lucrative shirt sponsorship deals, according to a study published on Thursday.

The 12th SPORT+MARKT European Football Jersey Report shows England's top 20 clubs are generating 128 million ($178 million) in revenue this season from endorsement deals, a rise of 44.5 million ($62 million).

A more modest increase in Germany sees the combined value for their 18 clubs reach 118.5 million from 108.6 million, with 2010 Champions League finalist Bayern Munich raising 22 million from Deutsche Telekom.

Germany has been toppled from first place largely due to Manchester United's new deal with insurance broker Aon and Liverpool signing up Standard Chartered bank. Each deal is worth 23.6 million, according to SPORT+MARKT, a sports business research company.

"The Premier League is the standard-bearer for jersey sponsorship in Europe and represents the major platform for international companies wishing to invest in football," said Gareth Moore, a director for UK SPORT+MARKT. "Fifteen clubs have improved their revenue from improved jersey sponsorship deals, and three of the five clubs with the most lucrative deals in Europe come from the Premier League.

"It is plain to see that when a new company chooses to invest significant amounts of money in sport sponsorship, the Premier League is the top destination."

The rest of Europe lags heavily behind England and Germany, with the 20 clubs in Italy generating only 65.9 million — the only major league to record a revenue drop. Lazio and Fiorentina were still without sponsors.

France has dislodged Spain from fourth place, bringing in 58.8 million after the betting regulations were relaxed.

Despite Spain producing the world and European champions, La Liga's 20 clubs attract only 57.5 million for their jersey sponsors.

Real Madrid's deal with Austrian gambling operator bwin generates 23 million. Barcelona's players have never carried advertising on their shirts, but since 2006 the Spanish champions have paid UNICEF 1.5 million per year to carry the organization's logo.

"If the club with the greatest European fan base, FC Barcelona, chose to have a sponsor, Liga BBVA could occupy third position in the ranking," the study says.

With Dutch topflight clubs generating 42 million, the overall football jersey sponsorship market for Europe's top six leagues is worth 470.7 million — up 18 percent from the 2009-10 season.

Despite the global banking sector still emerging from the 2008 crisis, the amount spent by financial service and insurance companies to appear on shirts has almost doubled to 112.5 million.

Betting and lottery companies pay 78.9 million.

"Betting and gambling have helped to deliver significant revenues for football clubs across Europe in what are challenging economic times and the importance of the sector cannot be overlooked," Moore said. "As a consequence of liberalization for betting companies on the French market and, potentially in the future, in the Germany market, next year's sponsorship engagements from the sector may increase even further."