Sponsorship is one of the most important sources of revenue for football clubs today, but it not only presents opportunities to the teams involved but also the businesses providing the endorsement.
Daniel Ashville Louisy is the Founder and Managing Director of the Ashville Group, an organisation specialising in construction, aggregate, waste management and ready mix cement, which serves as the sponsor of his local football club, Queens Park Rangers (QPR) of the EFL Championship.
In a recent video posted on his company’s YouTube channel, Louisy spoke at length about the benefits and dynamics of football sponsorship, whilst touring QPR’s Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium in West London.
Sponsorships of teams in the Championship – as well as in the lower leagues – provide a unique opportunity for small to medium-sized businesses such as Ashville, Louisy detailed, primarily due to the reason that Premier League partnerships are extremely expensive, with Manchester United’s former front-of-shirt partner Chevrolet paying £65 million for the privilege.
“The sponsorship deals that we do tend to run for two years – so what happens if QPR get relegated, very unlikely. or promoted, much more likely?” the MD explained.
“Within the contract, there are released clauses, so the money obviously changes. If you go up, there’ll be a significant difference in what we have to pay yearly. The reason for this is at Championship level you’d say your exposure is national, but in the Premier League, it’s definitely international and it’s broadcast all over the world, so that’s what you’re paying for.”
He continued: “I feel the Championship is perfect for us. If QPR are promoted, we’ll have to take a view, and think about how we’re going to do it, because we definitely can’t afford the front of shirt, and in the Premier League, there is no back of shirt.”
An additional topic explored by Louisy was the prevalence of betting company sponsors in the sports space, with the CEO observing that 40% of Premier League football clubs currently maintain a partnership with a gambling operator.
This could soon change as the government moves forward with its review of the 2005 Gambling Act, of which a ban on betting businesses sponsoring sports clubs has been touted as ‘the most likely’ outcome.
Speaking earlier this year, Rick Parry, Chairman of the English Football League (EFL), argued that this could have a detrimental impact on the finances of clubs, in particular, those competing in the lower leagues.
However, Louisy observed that some clubs, such as QPR, are averse to gambling sponsorships and prefer to take endorsements from company’s operating in other areas, for both ethical and business reasons.
“I spoke to QPR at length, and QPR for ethical reasons would prefer to not have a gambling company on the front of the home jersey,” he explained.
“Obviously, there’s a lot of children, and a lot of families and gambling isn’t the best place for them. QPR actually say they would take less money, because of the ethical reason, and the fact that betting companies are very volatile.
“A betting company can be seen to do extremely well one minute, the next minute they get taken over or they go into bankruptcy, and the new people involved no longer want to sponsor the club, and halfway through the season, you have to take the sponsorship off the front of the shirt.”