The likes of Barcelona have had to take a commercial hit to renegotiate their deal with shirt sponsor Rakuten, a clear demonstration of how no club has been immune to the economic ravages of the coronavirus pandemic.
While Liverpool, too, will likely see the effects of COVID-19 reflected in their financial statements in early 2021, they do appear to be better positioned to weather the storm.
Fenway Sports Group’s more reserved and longer term approach has meant that Liverpool have robust commercial deals in place and no heavy burden of debt, as is being experienced by the likes of Manchester United and Atletico Madrid.
Shirt sponsorship has been key to commercial revenue, the Reds even managing to get an uplift of around £2m per year from their previous sleeve sponsorship deal with Western Union when they made the switch to Expedia in October for a deal worth around £10m a year to the Reds.
To get an increased commercial deal done during a global pandemic and economies in deep recession is no mean feat.
The Expedia deal adds to that of the main front of shirt sponsor, Standard Chartered, who inked a new deal with the Reds in 2018 for £160m, Liverpool receiving around £40m a year from the agreement. That’s around £50m per year combined in shirt sponsorship.
But how do they compare with another one of European football’s top leagues?
Italian newspaper La Gazzetta Dello Sport has released the financial sums accrued by teams in Serie A, a league that has had to wrangle plenty with the impact of coronavirus this year.
The value of commercial deals in Italian football’s top tier is, as you would likely expect, heavily geared towards the top sides.
Juventus are the biggest earners but still short of the Reds, pulling in £43.5m from their deals with Jeep and Cygames, certainly buoyed in no small part by Cristiano Ronaldo’s marketability.
Juventus – £43.5m (Jeep, Cygames)
Fiorentina – £24m (Mediacom, Estra, Prima.it)
Sassuolo – £16.3m (Mapei)
AS Roma – £14.5m (Qatar Airways, Hyundai, Iqoniq)
Inter Milan – £10m (Pirelli)
AC Milan – £9m (Emirates)
Napoli – £8.2m (MSC Crociere, Lete, Kimbo)
Atalanta – £6.3m (Plus 500, Radici, Automha, Gewiss)
Torino – £4.5m (Beretta, Suzuki, N.38 Wuber, Edilizia- Acrobatica)
Cagliari – £3.6m (Regione Sardegna, Ichnusa, Arborea, Tiscoli)
Bologna – £2.3m (Facile Ristrutturare, Selenella, Scala, Illumnia)
Udinese – £2m (Dacia, Vortice, Bluenergy, Prosciutto San Daniele)
Parma – £1.9m (Old Wild West, Cetilar, Canovi, Viva la Mamma)
Genoa – £1.36m (Banca Systema, Synlab, Lease Plan)
Benevento – £1.36m (LVPC, Rillo Costruzione, Don Peppe, Pastificio Rummo)
Verona – £1.36m (Winelivery, Sinergy, Trivellato, Vetrocar sec Ponteggi e Scaligera Arradamenti)
Crotone – £0.9m (San Vincenzo, Envi, Vumbaca, Biemme)
Sampdoria – £0.9m (Very Mobile, Ibsa)
Spezia – £0.6m (Ten, Iozzelli Piscine, Pediatrica)
Lazio – £0.45m (Frecciarossa)
Next, and rather surprisingly, is Fiorentina whose three deals with Mediacom, Estra and Prima.it rake in just short of £24m per year.
Another surprise is Sassuolo appearing third, their partnership with Italian chemical company Mapei bringing in £16.3m, while AS Roma is next at £14.5m thanks to sponsorship from Qatar Airways, Hyundai and Iqoniq.
Inter Milan’s deal with tyre firm Pirelli brings in £10m while Emirates brings in £9m for AC Milan, the two traditional forces of Italian football lagging behind when it comes to commercial power at present.
Serie A as a whole brings in £153.1m per year through shirt sponsorship deals, Juventus accounting for 28 per cent of that total.
Compare the strength of commercial deals with the Premier League and Serie A falls well short, English football’s top domestic competition seeing clubs bring in a collective £344.5m, although that figure is down around £9m on the previous year owing to the weakened pound and the impact of coronavirus.
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Among the clubs to see a drop in what they could command for shirt sponsorship was Manchester United’s deal with Chevrolet and Burnley’s deal with Love Bet.
While United saw a fall of £4m per year from their previous deal with Chevrolet, the Old Trafford side still have a lucrative £60m per year deal in place.