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The strangest sponsorship deals in the EPL

Football is no stranger to sponsorship deals, with the top teams in the world making millions every season through shirt deals and stadium advertising. 

emile smith rowe arsenal 2021

Football is no stranger to lucrative sponsorship deals, with the top teams in the world adding millions of pounds to their coffers every season through shirt deals and stadium advertising

This revenue stream plays an important role in keeping teams afloat as they battle with some of the most eye-watering wage bills we’ve ever seen. 

For the advertisers, it’s a pretty impressive stage on which to flaunt their products and it usually works incredibly well in their favour.

Betting firms were quick to see the potential

Gambling companies have always been hot on the trail of teams in the top flight with big-money deals that see their brand take pride of place as matches are streamed around the world. 

Stoke City was the first team in the English Premier League to strike an agreement with a betting exchange back in the early 90s, and this sparked a flurry of activity as other betting firms started to increase their presence in the industry.

Sports betting has been seen as a logical fit for football clubs as fans often have a flutter on their favourite games, and advertising these services in such an arena made perfect sense.

Some of these brands have various products available for their customers to use beyond regular sportsbooks too. Classic casino games such as Poker and Blackjack are regularly available at online bookies—as are slots and other gambling variations.

Slots have, undoubtedly, become one of the firm favourites with those who love to try their luck every so often. And now, various promos including free spins keep what you win are available to add a little extra value for customers.

Changing times for football sponsors

This wave of interest from betting firms in EPL teams, and others across Europe, has begun to meet strong opposition in recent times. La Liga in Spain, for example, has imposed a recent ban on sports betting at football matches and it looks likely that the UK will follow suit eventually.

This has forced UK clubs to start rethinking their sponsorship strategies and look towards more traditional brands that they’ve been associated with over the years. 

Ever since 1979, when Liverpool proudly announced HITACHI as their new partner, EPL clubs have had a long and sometimes puzzling relationship with their shirt sponsors. 

While sports betting kind of made sense, pillow manufacturers and holiday destinations are, perhaps, a little more puzzling when looking for a logical link that might benefit the brand.

Strange EPL sponsorship deals in recent history

Almost every top-flight club in the Premier League has provided fans with an interesting talking point through its choice of official sponsors over the years, and some have been the subject of quite public discussions.

Spurs try out a paint sponsor

Tottenham Hotspur decided to create an ‘official paint sponsor’ in 2021 through an advertising deal with Dulux. The relationship got off to a tricky start after the paint firm openly mocked the Premier League team, suggesting that their famous Old English Sheepdog mascot could do a better job in defence.

Liverpool gets creative to welcome Chaokoh to Anfield

In 2020, LFC created a surprise connection with coconut water makers Chaokoh. While water is a definite match, coconut water wasn’t an obvious link and the club decided to help the relationship by creating their own promotional video for the brand. 

Six of the first team players stepped up to film a mock creative brainstorming session with genuinely hilarious consequences. You can check out the video here

Manchester City swiped right

2020 seemed to be the year for raising a few eyebrows in the EPL, as leaders Man City signed a multi-million-pound partnership deal with the dating app, Tinder. 

The brand released a sky-blue blimp over the city as the two Manchester giants went head to head in their local derby. The slogan plastered across all advertising—and the blimp—that day read #ThePerfectMatch.

Everton and their angry birds

2017 provided sponsorship entertainment with Premier League team, Everton, taking on a sleeve sponsor in the form of the famous mobile app, Angry Birds. The deal lasted 3 years and was reportedly worth £1 million per season.

Arsenal became obsessed with holidays in Rwanda

In 2018, Arsenal signed a controversial deal with the Rwanda Development Board worth £30 million. The partnership met objections from many human rights campaigners around the world, owing to Rwanda’s dark past. 

Civil war and continued reports of human rights issues have given cause for concern that carries on today, but despite this, the London club signed a £40 million extension.

Man United have a history of odd sponsorships

One EPL club with a colourful past in terms of advertising partners is Man Utd. The northwest giants of the Premier League have agreed multi-million-pound deals with a vast array of firms that have no obvious connection to the sport. Some of our favourites include:

  • Gulf Oil International
  • Yanmar tractors
  • Apollo tyres
  • Kansai paint
  • Mlily mattresses and pillows
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