UK: No More Beer On Premier League Shirts
This year, for the first time in Premier League history, there will be no sort sponsorships by alcohol companies.
When the Premier League started, in 1992-93, the biggest sectors for shirt sponsorship were consumer electronics, with six deals, and beer, with four. Alcohol sponsorship remained a steady presence through the 1990s before dwindling in the 2000s. Last season there was just one beer sponsor, Chang Beer on Everton’s shirts.
And a campaign attacked just that sponsorship, seeking to crowd fund enough money to ultimately replace the beer brand for a healthier, local alternative.
The campaign Big Alcohol Exposed ran the #OutbidChang initiative to raise awareness of the harm associated with alcohol sports sponsorship. Eventually the initiative did not succeed in raising the crowdfunding sum it aimed at, but the beer maker was replaced with a new sponsorship deal after all.
Good or bad news?
The second half of the Premier League era has been the story of gambling replacing alcohol as the sector that dominates team shirts.
For decades, alcohol was synonymous with Premier League football – a massive public health and social order problem. And even though shirt sponsorships have disappeared, beer partnerships are still part of the fabric of English football.
The brands are still all over football matches, broadcasts and teams.
The market reflects a changing dynamic among alcohol brands,” explained Tim Crow, CEO of leading sports marketing firm Synergy, “as beer brands have moved away from shirt sponsorship.”
The Independent reports that into that void, gambling firms have moved.
One harmful and addictive substance has been replaced by another harmful and addictive behavior. With global viewing figures higher than ever, a shirt sponsorship is a fairly cheap way to reach millions of people all over the world.
The Premier League is a global advertising platform because of its reach,” Crow explains.
As a global advertising campaign for a brand, shirt sponsorship can be a cost-effective media buy.”
The big six clubs are so famous now that their shirt sponsorship deals are appropriately expensive. Chevrolet pay an estimated £53million to sponsor Manchester United’s shirts, Yokohama Tyres pay £40m each year to Chelsea. But while the top clubs charge a premium, for the smaller 14 it is a buyers’ market. Their shirts will cost in the mid-single figures of millions for each year. Not a big price to pay to be seen all over the world.
A source close to one deal said that the sponsor found it to be “incredibly effective”, not just through the shirts on the players themselves, but the LED exposure around the pitch and even fans wearing the shirt all over the world – which brings back the conversation about removing alcohol sponsorship completely from football (and not just British).
There is increasing concern that, again, English football has sold out to the highest bidder. There are times when a Premier League match, whether live or on television, can look like an advertising channel for the addiction.