At the end of March, we mentioned that Barclays would be dropping their sponsorship of the English Premier League after the 2015-16 season. We wondered who would be taking over the sponsorship following Barclays, and we finally have our answer.
No one. The Premier League won’t have a title sponsor for the 2016-17 season, and will be known simply as “The Premier League”. Barclays was paying £40 million per season under their current sponsorship deal, and the Premier League was seeking a fee of £60 million per year. Diageo, the English alcohol company that produces Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker, Baileys, and Guinness, reportedly offered £45 million per year, which the Premier League balked at. I would have loved if it were called the Guinness Premier League, and I’m sure the Men in Blazers would have lost their minds if that had come to fruition.
Another reason the Premier League is going without branding once Barclays contract expires (and this may simply be a situation where they’re throwing words together in an attempt to save face) is because it wants a “clean brand” that can compete with American sports on a global scale.
The Premier League will ditch its title sponsor after next season, giving it a “clean brand” that the clubs believe will play better internationally as they compete with America’s NFL and NBA for the broadcast millions of emergent markets.
I can only assume that it’ll be referred to globally as the English Premier League to avoid confusion with the other top-tier leagues across the globe that use the “Premier League” distinction.
However, the FA Cup won’t be going sponsor-free in 2015-16 after not having a sponsor this past year. Budweiser’s three-year deal with the FA expired after 2013-14, and the FA didn’t ink a deal with a new company for this year’s FA Cup, won by Arsenal for the second straight season. Coincidentally, Arsenal’s kit and stadium sponsor is the new FA Cup title sponsor, and it will be known as The Emirates FA Cup from 2015-18. Emirates (a Dubai-based airline) will pay “at least £30 million” for the sponsorship rights.
The only remaining major sponsorship situation in England that remains murky is the League Cup. Capital One has been the title sponsor since the 2012-13 season, and their contract expires after the 2015-16 season. The League Cup has been sponsored since 1982, so I’d expect them to eventually ink a new deal as opposed to going the route of the Premier League and FA Cup and going without a sponsor for a season or two.