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Liverpool and FSG can bridge £196m gap with new shirt deal

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Liverpool’s continued growth as a football club on and off the field has the potential to aid the effort to land a major commercial deal in two years time.

Since 2010 the Reds have had the logo of banking giant Standard Chartered across the front of their home and away shirts, the UK-based firm having most recently negotiated a deal to run from 2019 to 2023. That deal, struck in 2018, has been worth around £160m to the Reds, some £40m per season, the renegotiation bringing a reported annual uplift on the previous deal of £10m per year.

Liverpool have won both the Champions League and Premier League in that time, as well as the Club World Cup, and that success has brought positive exposure for Standard Chartered, whose time as main shirt sponsors of the Reds will have outlasted Carlsberg’s stint during the 1990s and 2000s.

It’s unclear yet whether Standard Chartered will be seeking to continue their relationship with the club as main shirt sponsor beyond 2023, but whether it is an extension of an existing partnership or the beginning of a new one, Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group will be seeking to drive up the value of one of the most prominent marketing positions in all of European football – the front of the Reds’ shirt.

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But how does it stack up against their biggest rivals?

Compared against the biggest front of shirt sponsorship deals in European football, Liverpool sit seventh in the list, according to insights from Sport Business.

The shorter term nature of their deal, due to expire in just two years time, skews its value somewhat given the appearance in the list of clubs who are commanding far less annually but who have a long contract in place.

While the £160m deal with Standard Chartered sees Liverpool ahead of the likes of Chelsea, Juventus and Lyon in the top 10, it is still some way short of the deal that table toppers Real Madrid have in place with the Emirates airline brand. A value of £356m on a six-year deal means that the Reds are around £196m behind what the Spanish giants have pulled in.

Real Madrid’s annual fee with Emirates stands just shy of £60m per year, £20m more than what the Reds are commanding right now.

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Second on the list is, rather surprisingly, Bundesliga side VfL Wolfsburg. While their annual fee from long-standing sponsors Volkswagen, headquartered in the German city, brings in around £17m per season, the fact that it is a 16-year partnership which runs until at least 2029 bumps the value of the deal up to just past the £270m mark.

Third spot is occupied by Bayern Munich, with the German giants bringing in £267m from a seven-year deal with Deutsche Telekom which is worth £38m per year.

The biggest overall sums delivered by Premier League sides come from Tottenham Hotspur, their deal with insurance firm AIA worth £265m over the length of the eight year deal, which gives an annual value on it of around £33m.

Manchester United replaced Chevrolet with software firm TeamViewer earlier this year in advance of the current 2021/22 season, the Old Trafford side signing a five-year deal. Overall it is a deal worth around £317m, but annually it yields one of the biggest sums in Europe at £47m, a figure that makes it the most valuable Premier League deal annually, and the second most valuable annually in European football.

Chelsea’s deal with the mobile network Three and Arsenal’s deal with Emirates are worth similar amounts to Liverpool’s, with Chelsea’s deal up in 2023, like the Reds.

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One omission from the list is that of Barcelona.

The Spanish giants’ financial difficulties have been well documented and the Catalan club have been the hardest hit of Europe’s major clubs when it comes to the impact of the pandemic.

Having to shed their talismanic legendary figure of Lionel Messi in the summer to Paris Saint-Germain due to being unable to afford to keep him meant that the club lost their most marketable asset, something that will hurt them when it comes to searching for a new main shirt sponsor.

And that is a hunt that is already underway after Japanese firm Rakuten, who only extended their deal last year for one year at a vastly reduced sum, opted to cut ties with the relationship after this season.

Historically the front of shirt sponsorship of Barcelona has been one of European football’s most expensive, rivalling the kind of figures pulled in by their great rivals Real Madrid. But having lost their star player and the imposed austerity on them set to hamper their progress on the pitch for some time yet, quite how much damage has been felt by the brand will become known when they land their next deal.

For Liverpool, though, when 2023 comes around it will important that a position of strength remains, one that will help them drive forward what has already become one of the most lucrative deals in football.

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