LONDON: A major sports sponsorship opportunity is set to end, with the news that the Premier League will not seek a new partner when its current deal with Barclays expires in 2016.
"The brutal truth is that with their £5.136bn domestic broadcasting deal, the league could afford to give up the £40m they would earn annually from a title sponsor," said a columnist for the Independent.
A spokesman for the football organisation said the new approach would allow it to "add a number of additional partnerships". It will also enable it to develop a "clean brand" in an international market where it sees itself in competition with the likes of the NFL and the NBA in the US for global viewers.
Sponsorship experts suggested that what will now presumably become known around the world as the "EPL" has lacked clear brand values and personality, despite "out marketing" its sponsor.
"If you ask consumers what the Premier League stands for, the overwhelming answer will be money," suggested Tim Crow, CEO of Synergy Sponsorship.
"This has been a tough place for Barclays to be, and a contributing factor in how they have struggled to leverage the Premier League in a meaningful way for most of their time as a sponsor," he told Marketing Week.
Rupert Pratt, co-founder of Generate Sponsorship, added that ending title sponsorship would remove a number of problems posed by the current arrangement.
"The practicalities of carving out an exclusive category with the clubs was always fraught with difficulty," he told Marketing. "Most clubs have their own sponsorship arrangements that need to be brought out. This meant that the incumbent banking sector was the only realistic category."
The EPL now has "a whole set of options available", he added. "If this works, the potential merchandising and licensing revenue globally will dwarf the sponsorship income."
Data sourced from Marketing, Marketing Week, The Independent; additional content by Warc staff