Premier League sponsor Barclays has hit out at moving electronic advertising boards at Premiership football grounds as “irritating” and “desperately distracting”.
The LED perimeter boards were installed at Manchester United’s Old Trafford ground this summer at a cost of &2.5m, and are being considered for use in the new Wembley stadium and Arsenal’s planned new home in Ashburton Grove.
Barclays sponsorship director Nic Gault, who oversaw the &57m renewal of the Premier League deal, says that “there will be a real risk that sponsors will alienate fans, or at least achieve a really negative response by using the boards.”
He adds: “I think they tend to irritate. Our real concern is about there being too much movement. I hope that clubs do not take up the technology, to be honest, as it could detract from the football on the pitch. Some of these things are desperately distracting.”
Barclays has already used the boards during the first four games of the season, with Manchester United sponsors Vodafone and Nike. Gault says the company is evaluating the effectiveness of the boards but it is too early to know the results.
The LED board system has caused controversy in the past, when a BBC cameraman complained that boards showing a Mini “driving” around an England versus Turkey match were distracting.