So Barclays is planning on saving £40million a year by cancelling its sponsorship of the Premier League?  The reason they say is that they can’t see that they get any benefit from it. Sponsorship is a funny thing. I’ve been involved in a few deals over the years and its hard to measure the benefits.  Sure you can count column centimetres of editorial and the number of times your logo appears on TV and call it advertising, but really, half the time you are fooling yourself.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that sponsorship doesn’t work, but when a three year agreement comes with a £120million price tag you have to ask yourself, are you getting your money’s worth? Now, this might just be a negotiating ploy by Barclays, seeing as someone at the FA dropped a hint that the price was going up for the next three-year contract, but, all the same what are they getting for that?

Yes I know they get their name on everything from plastic half-time drinking cups to the studio back-drop at the TV company who gets the rights to televise matches and sure, millions of people around the world will see it.  A few viewers might even get a warm feeling inside from knowing that Barclays are supporting their favourite sport, but does it actually make a difference to the number of people banking at Barclays or how much business they do with them? Frankly I doubt it. When you are watching football, you are watching football and when you choose your bank its going to be because they deliver the goods, which is why I thought the quote from Barclays about investing the money instead in better services for customers was, probably the most sensible thing I’ve heard from a bank in recent years.

As I have said, I have used sponsorship myself and may well do so again, but almost certainly on a smaller scale. I’m sure Barclays would be hard-pressed to find a sport better suited to their target market, which is something a lot of sponsors get wrong and it’s probably contributing to awareness, although as far as Barclays is concerned that is probably a job done and dusted already, but the incremental benefit they are getting from the deal right now is probably negligible. The only reason I can think of for not relinquishing the deal would be to stop a competitor getting it.  There are probably a handful of financial services businesses and a host of businesses in other sectors who would get more from the deal than Barclays, but they would have to have pretty deep pockets to stump up the £60million a year I’ve heard mention the Premier League are looking for.  These days actions speak louder than words and being a bit frugal with the housekeeping money, I’m sure would get the thumbs up from Barclays customers and customers of any other organisation who might be considering making an offer.

I’m sure we’ll never know what the new deal will be worth for sure.  All we’ll get is media guestimates and hype, but it may be that the writing is on the wall for these sponsorship mega-deals and probably not before time.  Meanwhile though, who, if anybody, do you think would get value from the deal?

Phil Darby
January 28, 2014

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