In order to generate more revenue, the Premier League allowed teams to put a sponsor on the sleeves of their kits. Manchester City became the first to do just that and have a deal with Nexen Tire to put their logo on the kits next season.

With the Premier League becoming increasingly more and more popular worldwide, a sleeve sponsor is a prime opportunity for a company to get worldwide attention for a fraction of the price when compared to a normal kit sponsor. This has caused some to criticize the move claiming that it takes more away from the team crest and makes the kit more like a billboard, but that’s what people said when kit sponsors started becoming a thing and 30-40 years later, is a completely normal thing that we’re all used to.

Just because teams can get sleeve sponsors, that doesn’t mean everyone will have sleeve sponsors. For various reasons, some teams will not. For example, due to their sponsorship with Emirates, Arsenal isn’t going to have a sleeve sponsor. Given the millions and millions spent on kit sponsors, those sponsors have influence in whether or not they’re going to share ad space. For Manchester City, the same owners of Manchester City own Etihad Airways so that helps with getting a sleeve sponsor. Chelsea is seeking a sleeve sponsor but is checking with their kit sponsor Yokohama Tires before going any further.

This also means the kit sponsor and sleeve sponsor will be connected and thus need to make sure they need to be okay with sharing a kit. If a team has a beer or betting site on the front of their kits, that might limit potential companies to invest in a sleeve sponsor or vice versa. I’m pretty sure Chevrolet doesn’t want Manchester United bringing on Budweiser as a sleeve sponsor when they are the kit sponsor. At the same time, it may be tough for West Ham to get a sleeve sponsor when they have Betway on the front because a company based in a country that doesn’t approve of gambling may not want to sign with them as a sleeve sponsor.

It’s going to be interesting to see how Premier League teams do this. Which teams will be able to find that common ground and get a sponsor and which teams will just keep their kit as is. For those who obtain a sleeve sponsor, it could be a very lucrative leg up over those who don’t.

[Bloomberg/Photo: Edelman]

About Phillip Bupp

News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing, highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them.

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