Has Soccer (Football?) Finally Taken Flight in the United States?
The Premier League kicks off today and it won’t just be British people who will spend thier hard earned free hours in front of TV screens. During the 2022/23 season, American viewers watched 17.7 billion live match minutes across US broadcaster NBC platforms. The popularity of the Premier League in the United States means there are more opportunities, for not only teams, but the individual players as well. The power of the Premier League’s United States sponsorship opportunities is shown when league officials had to reject Chelsea's planned Paramount Plus as a Jersey sponsor to ensure they did not upset their broadcast partner NBCU. With that in mind, we wanted to explore the Premier League, the Teams, Players, in order to determine who is the most popular here in the United States and expose some interesting sponsorship opportunities here and abroad.
The Power of Sponsorship, Home & Abroad.
Though jersey sponsors are a relatively new thing in the United States, football clubs have featured kit sponsors since the 1980s. The more popular a team is, the more money they can make from these sponsors. As the Premier League grows in popularity globally, an increasing number of multinational organizations want a piece of the pie. While this is not necessarily new, see Manchester United’s former deal with Chevrolet, the growth in popularity in the United States, opens a new revenue stream for teams at the “local” level. Think a Bank of America patch on the sleeve of London based Chelsea anyone?
Can Small Market Teams Compete for the US Consumer Dollars?
Luton Town is joining the Premier League for the first time. As a smaller club, whose entrance to the stadium is through a residents back yard (ala Lambeau Field), they aren’t as well known in the United States, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t sponsorship opportunities for them. The Luton Town audience in the States is more likely to be Male, younger, Outdoor Enthusiasts, and Party Goers than their counterparts in Great Britain. In fact, the Luton Town audience in the United States is 1.93x more likely to like Non-Craft Beer than the average American consumer.
Helixa Helping Luton Town Find their Niche!
Even though Heineken already sponsors the Champions League, they could also work with Luton Town to expand their commercial presence in the United States. And as Heineken is a global brand, it won’t make their fans back home feel out of step. Luton fans are 1.74x more likely to enjoy a Heineken than the average British consumer. After this year's campaign, and a few speeches from Ted Lasso, Americans in all corners will be wearing a Luton shirt while drinking a Heineken. The power of the Premier League has the ability to open global sponsorship opportunities for even the smallest of teams.
Beyond the team level, players have the ability to take advantage of global viewership. Players are influencers and have their own loyal fans. For example, Erling Haaland had one of the most successful first seasons in English football history, smashing the Premier League record for most goals in a season and signing a massive shoe deal with Nike. The deal is already paying off for Nike as Haaland fans are 7.23x more likely to engage with Nike compared to the average British consumer. In addition to signing large sponsorship deals, Haaland is the cover sponsor of EA Sports FC 24, the new name for the old FIFA video games.
The impact of Erling Haaland's sponsorship with Nike and EA Sports shows a massive increase in the affinity of his fans towards the Nike brand on both sides of the pond. His deals with Nike and EA Sports will continue to increase their engagement, resulting in his elevated status, and potential local endorsements here in the United States. Individual player popularity in combination with team fan support, even in the smallest markets like Lutron Town, make the Premier League a true global powerhouse for brands.
Helixa's uniquely global approach (Discover US, GB, & Global) allows brands, clubs, and player agencies to explore new opportunities that will have the biggest impact among fans on both sides of the Atlantic.