Football clubs have primarily two sponsors for their jerseys – the shirt sponsor and the kit sponsor. Multiple sponsorships are not a thing in football, having various company logos on the sleeves or the back is unpopular. However, given the current economic situation, this might be the only way forward, especially for clubs with lesser financial backing or stability.
These are uncertain times and there are many critical obstacles ahead in the world of football, which in many cases may have fatal consequences for several clubs. The financial implications from the lockdown following the global pandemic has resulted in clubs facing massive losses that threaten their very existence.
The continued absence of crowds has had an enormous impact, not on the so-called “Oil-rich clubs”, but it is starting to pinch those with the self-sustaining models such as Arsenal, who have had to become creative in their transfer dealings with frees and loans.
The entire landscape could be changing for those not fortunate enough to have bottomless funds. Football is holding its breath, desperate for any additional revenue streams during a period where stadiums remain empty. Even if limited numbers are allowed into grounds across the country, it may not be enough to prevent a host of clubs from disappearing altogether.
Lower league clubs are bracing themselves for a possible continuation of the current measures and it seems almost inevitable that short-term multiple sponsorships will be a consideration. Formula one has multiple sponsors that appear on the driver’s suits and it’s a way to raise significant sums of cash under the circumstances.
I’m not saying that football should go that far, with the club badge barely visible but there is a real opportunity to release more cash for those in an unstable financial position. There will, of course, be some resistance from many clubs who fear that the identity of the club shirts will be lost but let’s be completely honest here, what other options are there, especially for the less glamorous clubs clinging on to their meagre existences.
The move for multiple sponsorships could be a way to sustain for a limited period until crowds return, but it’s something worth considering because there is an inevitability about the direction in which the sport is heading. Sponsors on the back and sleeves could generate large sums and for smaller clubs, it presents a much-needed opportunity to gather support from local benefactors that they wouldn’t have otherwise had.
Aside from the money, it also promotes a sense of community for those that struggle to balance their books and have to fight for every penny. However, it’s certainly clear that the FA, UEFA, and FIFA are placing the cash cow at risk by not looking long and hard at problems the sport is facing, problems that are not going to dissipate anytime soon.
The financial climate could get a whole lot worse and companies that were once considered to be in a position to sponsor sport may not even find themselves able to do so as the economy shrinks. The FA could have acted sooner, it needed to draw up contingency plans for both the short and long-term future of the game but as usual, it has been slow to act. If clubs do go to the wall, the finger will be pointed firmly at those that enjoyed the sunshine but never planned for the rain.