European football jersey sponsors have long belonged to one of the sport’s most rarefied–and lucrative—clubs. The game’s global appeal, enormous team fan bases, and arguably unmatched exposure that shirt sponsorships offer—often worth hundreds of millions annually—makes them a can’t-lose marketing proposition for brands able and willing to pay the hefty price tag.
Heading into the 2023-24 season across the five major European leagues, 26 clubs have debuted a new primary jersey sponsor this year. Serie A clubs represent 30% of the new sponsorships. Meanwhile, Arsenal and UAE airline Emirates extended their jersey partnership this month—as did six other clubs and their respective sponsors, including fellow Premier League squads Luton Town and Wolverhampton—with a five-year deal worth a reported $63.9 million per season, a 25% increase over its prior agreement.
Speaking of Emirates, its Real Madrid primary jersey patch is the world’s most expensive sponsorship asset: the airline pays €70M ($76.5M) per year for its logo to appear on the Spanish team’s jersey. With four deals, the deep-pocketed brand has the most primary jersey patch deals across Europe’s top five leagues. Open opportunities in this coveted asset class still abound, as many prominent teams like Chelsea, Sevilla, and Roma have yet to announce a shirt sponsor this season.
Adidas, Nike, and Puma lead the list of kit suppliers in the top five European leagues with 15, 14, and 12 teams, respectively. Umbro, Joma, and Castore take the next three spots: Umbro partners with eight teams, and Joma and Castore with seven each.
The nearly century-old English brand Umbro sponsors the most teams in the Premier League with five, including Bournemouth, Brentford, and West Ham United. Adidas dominates La Liga with four teams, including Real Madrid, which holds the most Champions League titles. In Serie A, Kappa and Joma outfit three teams each, including Fiorentina and Atalanta, respectively. Nike is the Bundesliga’s most popular kit supplier with four teams, Eintracht Frankfurt and RB Leipzig among them. Puma and adidas lead Ligue 1 kit sponsor with three team deals apiece.
The market for European football jersey sponsorships is ever-evolving, as new brands enter the fray and existing sponsors grow their investment while football’s seemingly unstoppable momentum continues to capture legions of new fans worldwide. Watch this space: as the commercialization of the world’s favorite sport continues and the next wave of wealthy owners vie for a piece of the action, odds are there will be plenty of surprises to come on the sponsorship front.