European football clubs will be permitted to have sleeve sponsors in UEFA’s club competitions from next season, the continental governing body has confirmed to GlobalData Sport.
Sleeve sponsors have been introduced in many of Europe’s top national leagues in recent years but have yet to feature in UEFA competitions. Clubs in the elite Champions League, the secondary Europa League, and the new third-tier Europa Conference League can all profit from UEFA’s new regulation, opening up a new revenue channel when all have been impacted financially by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The most popular deals for sleeve sponsorship in the Premier League include Arsenal, which looped in the Rwandan Tourism Authority as their official tourism partner in 2018 in a three-year sleeve sponsorship deal worth $40m. Chelsea also signed a 4-year deal with Hyundai valued at £50 million (currently $66.25m), according to reports. Manchester United also signed a deal with Kohler, which
The competition logo and the badge of UEFA’s Foundation for Children charitable arm will be displayed on the right sleeve of the team’s shirts, while the left sleeve will be reserved for clubs for sponsors, for the upcoming 2021-2022 season.
However, the governing body has set out strict rules for branding within Article 28 of its regulations. The sponsor logo must be placed on the left sleeve and not exceed 100 centimeters square, while the height of the letters must be no more than 12 centimeters.
French Ligue 1 outfit Olympique Lyonnais are among the first clubs to benefit from the new regulations as they have signed up MG Motor France, a division of the UK vehicle brand, as a sleeve sponsor for both league and European matches starting in the 2021-22 season. The MG Motor logo will be visible on Marseille’s kits during the club’s Europa League campaign.
UEFA has only said that sleeve sponsors will be permitted as of the 2021-22 season, so it has yet to be clarified if they will be a permanent feature. After getting the green signal from UEFA, bigger clubs will get even more leverage to extract a significant fee from sleeve sponsors. Champions League is the pinnacle of club football, attracting millions of views every season. In such a scenario, brands will also get wider coverage even though they might end up paying a big fee after UEFA scrapped the rule.