What the recession could mean for football in the UK?
February 2, 2023
In the last few weeks all the big tech companies have cut jobs by the thousand; Meta, Google, Microsoft and PayPal have all started 2023 with cuts.
We all know there is a recession on the horizon and it’s going to be tricky for everyone but I think the real elephant in the room is the decrease we could see in the value of sponsorship and how clubs will plug the gaps.
Two high profile Premier League clubs are on the hunt for next season’s front-of-shirt sponsorship. In December, Manchester United brought back the rights to their front-of-shirt sponsorship from German company TeamViewer and are currently seeking a new partner. That deal was worth £235 million over five years. Down in London, Chelsea are also in the market for a new front-of-shirt sponsor. Their current partnership with Three is worth £40 million per season. They resumed their commercial partnership in June 2022, after briefly suspending it after the UK government imposed sanctions on previous owner Roman Abramovich.
Due to the economic downturn it will be interesting to see if these two can match or even improve this figure. With budgets being cut it will be interesting to see what their value is.
In my view, the teams at the top of the pyramid may see a small dent in their income, however further down the leagues, where we are going to see potentially clubs find their sponsorship not holding value.
Clubs in the lower leagues attract a different type of company and brand to those in the bright lights of the Premier League. International companies are more stable by their nature whereas smaller clubs attract regional brands and businesses which are more likely to be affected by the recession.
This is the time that Commercial Directors, Head of Sponsorships and Sponsorship Managers are going to have to get innovative, to attract new sponsors, retain existing ones and create new opportunities.
It will be interesting to see what the future holds for football clubs and the companies that are a vital part of football’s organism.
By Alex Brinton, Content Manager iSportConnect