Aug 12, 2019

Soccer jerseys are prime real estate for advertisers and sponsors

Photo: Matthew Ashton/AMA/Getty Images

The Premier League is home to some of the world's most valuable sports teams. So, naturally, it's also home to some of the world's most valuable sports real estate: the uniforms those teams wear.

How it works: Premier League teams make money from their uniforms, or "kits," in two ways: apparel deals and sponsorship deals.

  • Kit supplier: While the four major North American sports leagues handle uniforms at the league-level (Nike is the official supplier for all NBA and NFL teams, for example), Premier League teams negotiate their own individual deals with companies. Examples include Adidas (Manchester United, Arsenal), Nike (Chelsea, Tottenham), Puma (Manchester City) and New Balance (Liverpool).
  • Main sponsor: This is the advertisement that appears across the center of the chest. Sponsors include Chevrolet (Manchester United), Etihad Airways (Manchester City) and Standard Chartered (Liverpool).
  • Sleeve sponsor: In 2017, the Premier League followed the lead of other European Leagues like La Liga (Spain) and began allowing teams to sell the rights to their left shirt sleeve. Sponsors include Western Union (Liverpool), Hyundai (Chelsea) and Kohler (Manchester United).

By the numbers: This season, Manchester United will receive $91.9 million from Adidas (kit supplier), $80 million from Chevrolet (main sponsor) and $27.5 million from Kohler (sleeve sponsor). Total: $199.4 million.

  • Nike is paying $1 billion over eight years to be the official apparel provider for all 30 NBA teams, while Adidas is paying $919 million over 10 years to be the official supplier for Manchester United, alone.

The big picture: While this revenue-generating trifecta might not become the norm in the NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL (especially the team-specific apparel deals), jersey sponsorships certainly could.

  • In 2017, the NBA began allowing teams to sell a jersey sponsorship patch (Rakuten pays the Warriors $20 million per season, for example), and the results have been so promising that other leagues look poised to follow suit.
  • In May, I argued that NFL jersey patches feel inevitable, and last month, an MLB executive said the same thing about his own league: "[I]t's inevitable."

Go deeper: NFL jersey ads feel inevitable

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The NFL's slow embrace of sports betting

Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The NFL is embracing sports betting this season in ways that it never would before the Supreme Court legalized the activity across the nation in 2018.

Why it matters: Last September, the NFL called for Congress to step in and regulate legalized sports betting. This September, the NFL is opening its season with a full-fledged casino partner (Caesars) and an official data distributor (Sportradar) for the first time ever.

Go deeperArrowSep 4, 2019 - Sports

NBA mulling an investment fund for team equity

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The National Basketball Association is considering the creation of an investment fund that would buy small equity stakes in a portfolio of teams, as first reported yesterday by Bloomberg.

Why it matters: NBA owners are concerned that skyrocketing team prices mean that there's a limited number of individuals who could buy the next teams put up for sale. Or, as one league source put it: "There are only so many Steve Ballmers and Joe Tsais."

Go deeperArrowSep 4, 2019

The NFL players' union is fighting for more guaranteed contracts

Photo: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

As the NFL and the NFL Players' Association, the league's players' labor union, continue early CBA talks, the elimination of the NFL's archaic "funding rule" is a top priority for players, according to multiple reports.

The state of play: Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus, the team's NFLPA player representative, called it "almost a non-negotiable for us," per The Athletic.

Go deeperArrowAug 27, 2019