Adidas, Nike and Puma are the best-known football sponsors in the five largest European football markets*. This is a result from the SPORT+MARKT Report „European Football Brands Top 20 2009/10“, with the survey of over 3,000 European football fans.
“Jersey sponsors and kit suppliers dominate European communication in football“, says Hartmut Zastrow, SPORT+MARKT Executive Director. To him, Adidas is the major football brand in Europe. However, the expert is most surprised by Audi, in eighth position. “Audi pursues a decentralised football strategy, with partnerships with many European clubs and is even outstripping rival automotive supplier, Ford, as a sponsor.“ However, another reason for Audi reaching the top ten was press coverage of the company‘s purchase of shares in FC Bayern Munich.
Aside from this, the top twenty illustrates that there are highly varying sponsorship strategies European companies can use to gain the attention of European football fans. A global group such as Coca-Cola is ranked 4th and is omnipresent as a sponsor, in football and sport in general, although it has no jersey sponsorship engagements. Emirates are next, ranked 5th and, in contrast to Coca-Cola, do have jersey sponsorship partnerships with top European football clubs and an engagement as naming rights sponsor of the stadium of Arsenal FC; furthermore, Emirates is a FIFA World Cup Partner.
Carlsberg, in 7th place, has been jersey sponsor of Liverpool FC since 1992 and is also partner of the UEFA European Championships, as well as partner of the UEFA Cup until this summer . This puts Carlsberg ahead of rival Heineken, which is also successful with a single engagement in the UEFA Champions League
This ranking underlines the communicative strength of jersey sponsorship of the Premier League’s top clubs. In fact, the U.K. is the only market where jersey sponsors, namely AIG and Carlsberg, score higher than the actual kit suppliers or technical partners – only Barclays as the league title sponsor is able to compete at such a high level. Internationally, the immense popularity of the Premier League and the success these clubs have enjoyed in the UEFA Champions League through recent seasons has enabled these sponsors to also reach fans from abroad.
*Germany, U.K., France, Spain and Italy.
**The report lists the twenty companies, which were named by fans without prompting as football sponsors. Companies which were mentioned in only one country have not been included in this list as European football brands.