Premiership shirt sponsorship on rise

The prices of the most visible shirt spaces and mobile advertising hoardings in sport are going up and up as Barclays Premier League teams cash in on their position as taking part in the most watched football league in the world.

Sponsors are flocking to get their names on the shirts of English clubs, but the gap between the rich and the poor of English football continues to widen as the top clubs attract the biggest contracts, reports The Times.

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Shirt sponsorship deals across the 20 Premier League clubs are worth more than £69 million this season - an average of £3.45 million per club. But the purchasing power is concentrated in the top five deals, with Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and Newcastle United accounting for £46 million-worth of sponsorship.

Sport+Markt, a European sports marketing agency, surveyed the deals throughout the top European football leagues to discover that England is rapidly becoming a honey-pot for companies who want to put their names on shirts.

Germany's Bundesliga was the next highest earner thanks to sponsors spending about £68 million on shirt sponsorship, with Serie A in Italy a distant third, pulling in about £51 million and France and Spain well behind.

A spokeswoman for Sport+Markt said: "The highest income per team is in the German Bundesliga, where the average sponsorship deal is €5.3 million, higher than in England. Of course, the Bundesliga has [two] fewer teams but it shows there is a big gap between the top and the bottom in England. Nevertheless, England is attracting a lot of money."

Manchester United's deal with AIG, the insurance company, is the most lucrative in Europe, worth an estimated €20.8 million, €6.3 million more than Chelsea, their nearest English rivals, who signed up with Samsung Mobile. The deal between T-Home telephones and Bayern Munich is the second highest in Europe, at €20 million, with Real Madrid earning €15 million from bwin.com, the betting company.

Liverpool's arrangement with Carlsberg has been stable but not as lucrative as the deals done recently by United and Chelsea. At €11 million this season, it lags €500,000 behind Tottenham's deal with Mansion, the betting company. Newcastle make up the top five English clubs, although their €7.1 million deal with Northern Rock may be endangered by the continued scrutiny of the company's financial position.

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