The majority of Europe’s top football clubs expect to see a high turnover of sponsors in the next five years as the economic climate increases pressure on brands to show a return on their investment.
In a poll of 100 senior football figures by Soccerex and NSP Sport, nearly three-quarters (71%) of clubs and 66% of non-club respondents say sponsorship arrangements will be amended more frequently as the economic downturn sees brands assessing their marketing budgets.
The recession and financial crisis have already had an effect on the UK’s top football clubs with Premier League side West Ham left temporarily without a sponsor after the collapse of holiday firm XL Leisure last year.
Elsewhere, West Bromwich Albion has been without a shirt sponsor all season after its deal with T-Mobile expired at the end of last season while beleaguered US insurance firm AIG recently confirmed it will not renew its sponsorship agreement with Manchester United after next season following its near collapse last year.
The survey also found that 93% of respondents believe football clubs need to be more creative in their sales and marketing to tackle declining revenues.
Peter Gandolfi, former head of brand strategy at Nationwide Building Society and head of sports consultancy Gandolfi Consultants, says a number of clubs have historically been lacking in their grasp of marketing tools and skills, such as database management and recognising the needs of fans.
“It is about offering what fans want in a timely and effective way,” he says.