Shirt sponsorship in the Premier League can be a lucrative source of income, and with Sky TV’s new £5.136bn broadcast rights deal set to kick in at the start of next season clubs could find themselves inundated with offers from companies looking to promote their name.
At the higher of end of the scale Manchester United’s deal with Chevrolet tops the 2015/16 figures, swelling the Red Devils coffers by £47 million annually.
Chelsea’s new deal with Yokohama Tyre Company paces them second in the list at £40 million, with Arsenal’s £30 million sponsorship from Fly Emirates rounding off the top three.
Liverpool’s £25 million tie up with Standard Chartered Bank and Manchester’s £20 Etihad Airways deal complete a clean sweep of the top five for England’s biggest clubs.
While the big boys enjoy links with some of the world’s best known brands, an interesting trend is emerging further down the scale.
Of the clubs ranked 11-20 in the list, six of them have deals with online gaming companies including Sunderland, Stoke City, West Bromwich Albion and Watford.
Crystal Palace and Bournemouth also enjoy sponsorship from within the industry, with Gibraltar-based Mansion Group’s logo appearing on both team’s shirts.
Their £5 million deal with Palace and £750,000 sponsorship of Bournemouth makes them the only company currently appearing on the shirts of two Premier League clubs.
Mansion, who offer a range of online casino games, previously sponsored Tottenham Hotspur while in 2011 they also agreed to become Manchester City’s international betting partner.
With the overall value of shirt sponsorships in the Premier League doubling since 2010/11, the growth in online gaming could see more teams look to link up with the industry.
Travel, insurance and electrical goods are some of the other industries sponsoring the teams in the bottom half of the list, but the growing number of tie ups with the industry across the league can’t be going unnoticed in other boardrooms.
The teams chasing promotion from the Championship may also appeal to online gaming companies for future sponsorships.
Two from Burnley, Hull City, Middlesbrough and Brighton and Hove Albion look set to claim automatic promotion and only the Seagulls have an internationally recognised brand on their shirts in the form of American Express.
In Europe, top clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich or Paris St Germain all have shirt sponsors from outside of the online gaming industry – a trend which doesn’t appear likely to be mirrored in the English game.
All 20 Premier League clubs currently have an official affiliate partnership with a betting company, highlighting that the two industries already enjoy mutually beneficial partnerships.
With the industry reportedly worth over $27bn at the end of 2015, it can surely only be a matter of time before even more clubs hand over the front of their shirts to the online gaming industry.