Sponsors have endless cash. They just don’t want to give it to you.

How does £53 million sound?

It sounds great, right?

And that’s just the annual fee. As part of a seven-year agreement.

That’s £371 million in total.

Spent by one motor brand, on one shirt sponsorship.

The only automotive brand shirt sponsorship in the Premier League.

Chevy can do it…

Chevrolet are one of eight motor brands owned by General Motors, which is itself the third largest auto manufacturer by production in 2016, behind Toyota, the Volkswagen Group and Hyundai/Kia but ahead of the likes of Ford, Nissan and FIAT Chrysler.

According to Advertising Age’s 2016 list of the top 100 advertisement spenders worldwide, Volkswagen Group led automotive spending and ranked No. 4 on the biggest-spenders list, with its ad spending in 2015 totaling $6.6 billion.

The auto industry’s combined spending of $47 billion in 2015 accounted for about 20 percent of the top 100 companies’ total ad spending of $240.5 billion.

So the question is, why are auto manufacturers not taking leading sponsorship positions in the leading football league in world football?

They’ve certainly got the cash, but right now, they don’t want to give it to you!

World Ranking of Manufacturers. OCIA 2016.

World Ranking of Manufacturers. OCIA 2016.

Who is your competition?

Well it’s certainly not other clubs in the Premier League. There are some famous auto sponsorships across world football, Juventus and Jeep is a stand out, while Sky Sports have had successful partnerships with Ford and Nissan. We’ve also seen auto brands take leading roles in major events, as Hyundai/Kia continue their FIFA partnership through to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Increasingly, however, the competition is coming from new, primarily digital channels. The ability to combine content, location and customers via mobile and social media is an appealing draw for auto ad dollars, and the industry still invests heavily in TV.

So, what’s the problem?

So the cash is there, and the competition is all external, so why is the Chevy deal a stand alone one in the Premier League?

Take your pick…

  • An industry based on product innovation does not regard sports clubs as innovators.
  • The name on the shirt is not enough.
  • Your club does not have a team of experts behind the scenes who can stand toe-to-toe with sophisticated marketers in the auto industry.
  • If you’re selling sponsorship as media, you can’t compete with the application and measurability of pure digital plays.
  • Your content is not as expressive and emotive as that which the motor brands produce for themselves.
  • The auto industry does not trust you!

Now, can you fix it?

Before you answer that question, preface it with “Could I fix it for £53 million per annum?”

The brands are out there, and they have deep pockets.

They know how many followers you have, and how popular football is around the world, but it’s possible they don’t see innovation, emotion, and long-term planning in the people selling and servicing sports sponsorship.

Think about how changes to the following can improve the buyer journey:

  • First impressions; no-one likes being sold to. How can you make a first impression that doesn’t set you up as a salesperson?
  • Is your buyer smiling? What can you do before the sales process to increase affinity with your target market?
  • Trust is key; when do you develop trust and accountability into the sales process? The earlier the better.
  • Beyond the meeting; when you are not in the room with a sales lead, how is your offering and your content affecting them?
  • Closing – we’ve all suffered from buyer’s remorse; when closing a sale what are the key influencing factors in place to restore confidence?

If you can deliver a sales process that excites, educates and reassures, then you might just get yourself in the driving seat.


‘The Rights Holder Manifesto’ outlines a new way forward for rights holders when it comes to positioning themselves for, planning for, and acquiring major sponsorship deals.

Available to download and read here.