- Impending legislation on gambling ban and fan opposition has had almost no impact on deal numbers
- Travel & Tourism and Food & Beverage see biggest increase, Automotive the biggest decrease
The Industrials sector has overtaken Consumer Services as the most common sponsor of the front of shirts across professional football, cricket and rugby teams in England.
Most common sponsors
Industrials accounts for 14.5% of front of shirt (FoS) sponsors (1 in every 7 deals) across the 225 teams – a 10% increase over the last year and a 60% one over the last four years – according to the latest annual study by sponsorship intelligence firm caytoo.
Industrials has overtaken Consumer Services (12.7% share) partly due to the latter experiencing a 15% decline in the number of deals. However, this decline hasn’t been driven by the Gambling sub-sector which is responsible for only one less deal than a year ago. It is still comfortably the most common sub-sector (at 9.1% or 1 in every 11 deals), way ahead of Manufacturing/ Engineering at 6.8%.
“The ban on front of shirt gambling sponsorships, which comes into effect in three years, plus the increasing outcry from fan groups on such deals has had almost no impact over the last year,” said Alex Burmaster, caytoo’s head of research and analysis.
“Over a third of Premier League teams still have a front of shirt gambling sponsor, only one fewer than a year ago. This shows that the economic realities and fierce competition in football trump other considerations and the clubs will need to keep taking gambling’s money until they’re no longer legally allowed to.”
The growth of the Industrials sector, which also includes Construction and Engineering firms, has been driven by new deals from Materials/Chemicals firms, a sub-sector not even represented last year.
“It’s a relatively unsexy category, so one that is often overlooked by the biggest sports teams,” said Burmaster. “We’re frequently asked to help find the likes of a watch, car or online delivery service sponsor but no-one proactively asks for an Industrials firm. Who knows, this may change when gambling is off the table.”
Nottingham-based retailer John Pye Auctions is the most prolific FoS sponsor, having five teams, all of which are in Nottingham – football team Notts County and the four cricket teams across the men and women.
The Travel & Tourism (driven by Travel Agencies) and Food & Beverage sectors (driven by Nutrition/Supplements) had the joint-biggest increase in the number of deals over the last year (both +4).
In contrast, the Automotive sector had the biggest drop in the number of deals which was driven primarily by less activity from car retailers among women’s teams, including the likes of Cazoo and Select Car Leasing.
Women’s vs men’s
Travel & Tourism overtook six other sectors to become the most prevalent sponsor among women’s teams (accounting for 15.8% of deals). This was driven by Travel Agencies who had the biggest rise in the number of deals among women’s teams.
In contrast, Automotive – which was the joint most prevalent sector last year – saw the biggest decrease in deals, falling from 5 to just 1 (a drop of 80%). Only car retailer Adam Hewitt continued as a sponsor – of Worcester Warriors women.
Overall, Information Technology is the most concentrated sector around women’s teams – 57% of its FoS deals are for women. In contrast, five sectors – Real Estate, Utilities, Health & Wellbeing, Education and Telecoms – allocate all their activity to men’s teams and none to women’s.
“There’s little doubt that women’s sport is receiving more exposure and goodwill than ever including a lot of talk from sponsors about how committed they are to gender equality using major international sporting events. However, it’s clear from the research that many sectors have work to do in terms of translating this lip service beyond signature global events down to domestic teams,” concluded Burmaster.
Differences by sport
Industrials is the most common sector overall as it also is in cricket and rugby. However, in football the honour goes to Consumer Services due to the Gambling sub-sector which accounts for 15.4% of football’s FoS sponsors (the highest share of any sub-sector among the three sports) compared to 4.9% in cricket and just 0.03% in rugby.
Manufacturing/Engineering is the most common sub-sector in cricket (at 9.8%), compared to 9.1% in rugby and 3.8% in football (3.8%). Home/Garden retail is the most common sub-sector sponsor in rugby (10.9%) compared to 0.03% in football and none in cricket.
However, overall, Utilities and Education are the most reliant sectors on football (100% of their FoS deals across the three sports are in football). Real Estate is the most reliant on cricket (43% of all deals being in cricket) while Information Technology is the most reliant on rugby (57% of all deals being in rugby).
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Founded by former executives of Nielsen, Deloitte and Cision, caytoo provides commercial and sponsorship intelligence to make it easier for rights holders (sellers of sponsorship) and brands (buyers of sponsorship) to find each other and build partnerships which deliver real value.