UAE Companies are biggest European Football Shirt Sponsors

By Reuters, 24 February 2014

Firms in UAE and Qatar invested about 160 million euros this season, almost a quarter of the total spend worldwide.

Middle East investment is swelling the coffers of Europe’s top soccer clubs whose income from shirt sponsorship has soared to over €687 million ($777.75 million) this season – 20 per cent up on 2013-14, according to analysts Repucom.

The German-based global strategy company says in their European Football Jersey Report that companies in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar invested about 160 million euros this season, almost a quarter of the total spent by companies worldwide sponsoring the shirts in Europe’s top six leagues.

The figure is a 20 per cent rise on the 570 million euros revenue of last season but sponsorship in the English Premier League has jumped by 36 per cent, while clubs in Spain’s top division have also seen their revenues rise by 30 per cent.

The increase in England’s figures were largely driven by Chevrolet’s deal with Manchester United, worth at least 54 million euros a year.

“The rise in foreign money in European football is nothing new, however investment in shirt sponsorship is increasing more rapidly than ever,” said Glenn Lovett, the president of Repucom.

“With investment in 2014-15 growing 20 per cent over last season, the investment in shirt sponsorship has increased faster than at any time in the last 15 years.”


Although the rise in revenue for the English clubs is the biggest across the top six leagues, there is more foreign investment in Spain’s Primera Liga than anywhere else.

Approximately 86 per cent of all revenue spent on shirt sponsorship there comes from outside Spain.

The report says that apart from the major European Leagues, the MLS in the United States “is starting to attract big business” with sponsorship deals there of 45 million euros, making it larger in terms of revenue than the Eredivisie in the Netherlands, whose market share has slipped to 42 million euros.

The report says that individually UAE companies comprise the biggest shirt sponsor from one nation, followed by revenues from German companies (112 million euros) and U.S. companies (82 million euros).

While England’s revenues have soared 36 per cent and Spain’s 30 per cent, there have also been increases in Italy (21 per cent), France (13 per cent) and Germany (nine per cent).

The only major European league to see a fall in revenue was in the Netherlands, which saw a five per cent drop in its income to 42 million euros.