Under the deal, Subway branding will appear around the perimeter boards at Anfield and the brand will have access to Liverpool FC brand assets such as striker Daniel Sturridge (pictured) and club logo for above the line and in-store marketing and competitions.
Subway will also feature during Liverpool’s community engagement programmes and the chain has kicked off the relationship by sending its range of Low Fat Subs to participants on Liverpool FC’s Foundation programmes this week.
The terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but it is understood to be in the region of £1m to £2m. It has been confirmed the partnership will run over multiple years and that it does not mean Subway will become the food partner at Liverpool’s training ground.
Subway will be hoping the partnership will strengthen the wider “Train Hard and Eat Fresh” marketing programme it embarked on in 2012, which has seen it create a series of ads starring British gymnast Louis Smith. Last month, as it launched a campaign featuring characters from Disney’s Muppets Most Wanted movie, Subway told Marketing Week it plans to “shout louder” about its health credentials.
Manaaz Akhtar, Subway European regional marketing director, says of the Liverpool partnership: “As a brand, we are committed to supporting everyone to be more active in their everyday lives and our partnership with Liverpool FC provides us with the perfect opportunity to demonstrate this and take it to the next level.”
Liverpool’s recent success in the Premier League, where the club is currently five points clear of closest rivals Chelsea, is timed well with Subway’s aggressive UK expansion plans. The fast food franchise plans to open 3,000 additional stores by 2020. Subway currently has 1,769 stores in the UK, 31 of which are in Liverpool.
Malcolm Clark, co-ordinator for the Sustain Children’s Food Campaign, which previously criticised Liverpool’s tie up with Dunkin’ Donuts but said the Subway partnership is a “step in the right direction” because the deal focuses on the franchise’s low fat products.
But he added: ”It’s an improvement [on the Dunkin’ Donuts deal] but this is not going to win Liverpool the healthy stadia of the year award. It’s going in the right direction if they are tying with the low fat ranges but when you get into store, what else is Subway promoting: [it’s the cookies and sweet options by the till].
”It would be great if Liverpool win the title this year to set themselves a goal to be champions of healthy eating too.”
Nigel Currie, director of sports marketing and sponsorship at Brand Rapport, says more Premiership football clubs are now following the lead of Manchester United, which has been creating a wide range of sponsorship opportunities across different categories and territories to boost its revenues.
He adds: “The problems that Manchester United face currently will present great opportunities for the other top clubs to not only enjoy success on the pitch but success in terms of developing their marketing partners. Liverpool are ideally placed to take advantage of this – a huge global brand in football that has not enjoyed regular success on the pitch in the last 20 years.”
Indeed, recent turmoil at Manchester United on the pitch – which has seen the sacking of manager David Moyes after less than one season and the club lose out on a lucrative Champions League place – means the club may need to explore additional revenue streams at the risk of diluting the brand in the long term.