Middle East investment into European football clubs soars 20%, close to $1.0 billion

Middle East investment is swelling the coffers of Europe’s top soccer clubs whose income from shirt sponsorship has soared to over €687 million ($777.75 million) this season – 20 percent up on 2013-14, according to analysts Repucom.

The German-based global strategy company says in their European Football Jersey Report that companies in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar invested about €160 million this season, almost a quarter of the total spent by companies worldwide sponsoring the shirts in Europe’s top six leagues.

The figure is a 20 percent rise on the €570 million revenue of last season but sponsorship in the English Premier League has jumped by 36 percent, while clubs in Spain’s top division have also seen their revenues rise by 30 percent.

The increase in England’s figures were largely driven by Chevrolet’s deal with Manchester United, worth at least €54 million a year.

“The rise in foreign money in European football is nothing new, however investment in shirt sponsorship is increasing more rapidly than ever,” said Glenn Lovett, the president of Repucom.

“With investment in 2014-15 growing 20 percent over last season, the investment in shirt sponsorship has increased faster than at any time in the last 15 years.”

Although the rise in revenue for the English clubs is the biggest across the top six leagues, there is more foreign investment in Spain’s Primera Liga than anywhere else.

Approximately 86 percent of all revenue spent on shirt sponsorship there comes from outside Spain.

The report says that apart from the major European Leagues, the MLS in the United States “is starting to attract big business” with sponsorship deals there of €45 million, making it larger in terms of revenue than the Eredivisie in the Netherlands, whose market share has slipped to €42 million.

The report says that individually UAE companies comprise the biggest shirt sponsor from one nation, followed by revenues from German companies (€112 million) and US companies (€82 million).

While England’s revenues have soared 36 percent and Spain’s 30 percent, there have also been increases in Italy (21 percent), France (13 percent) and Germany (nine percent).

The only major European league to see a fall in revenue was in the Netherlands, which saw a five percent drop in its income to €42 million.  Source: Arabian Business