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SBD Global/January 28, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Barclays Considering Ending English Premier League Sponsorship Deal

Barclays current deal with the EPL runs through the '15-16 season.
Barclays is considering ending its £40M ($66M)-a-year sponsorship of the Premier League after senior figures at the bank said it had "zero value" in the U.K., according to Kamal Ahmed of the London TELEGRAPH. The bank’s current deal runs until the end of the '15-16 season and members of Barclays’ leadership team "are concerned that rapid price inflation for sports rights will mean a much higher amount will be demanded by the Premier League for the next three-year deal." Barclays has been the sponsor of the EPL since '01 and agreed to pay £120M in '12 "for the present rights." That was 50% higher than the previous deal, which cost £82M. The move is part of a wider review of the bank’s business, which will mean pulling out of "glamour projects" and focusing instead on much higher levels of technology for customers, far fewer staff and fewer branches (TELEGRAPH, 1/25). In N.Y., Max Colchester wrote as well as football and tennis, "Barclays also sponsors the South African rugby team, a series of golf tournaments and golfer Phil Mickelson." Several of these flagship sponsorship deals were brokered under former CEO Robert Diamond "as the bank sought to raise its profile both in the U.K. and abroad." Following Diamond's departure from the bank, "Barclays's new management has sought to present the bank in a more sober light and cut costs" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/26).

FLY ON THE WALL: In London, Ben Rumsby wrote Barclays was accused of allowing its sponsorship of the Premier League to become little more than "wallpaper" after it emerged it was considering ending its association with the EPL. M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment CEO Steve Martin claimed that Barclays "had failed to fully exploit an association with one of sport’s most recognisable brands." Martin: "It’s become a bit like wallpaper. There’s been less innovation coming through it, it’s still a bit of a badging exercise, and it doesn’t surprise me it’s not particularly working, because I’m not sure they’ve worked particularly well on it" (TELEGRAPH, 1/26).
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