Shirt sponsorship gold rush: Brands compete to get names on soccer clubs' kits

    Story highlights

    • The English Premier League sees a 36% rise in shirt sponsorship income
    • European leagues have profited from a yearly increase of 20% in shirt deals
    • Even countries sponsor teams with Azerbaijan partnering up with Atletico Madrid

    (CNN)It's just secured a whopping $8 billion dollar TV deal and now the English Premier League is cleaning up in shirt sponsorship revenue.

    Driven by a contract with car manufacturer Chevrolet, Manchester United's $70m a year deal is a big part of the EPL's 36% rise in shirt sponsorship income on the 2013/2014 season, reports Repucom.
      Factor in a kit deal with manufacturers like Nike and Adidas and leading clubs can generate over $75 million a year from this revenue stream, according to recent data from Forbes.
      But it not just English clubs that are benefiting from these kind of deals to ensure brands' names are splashed across the front of their kits.
      Spain's Primera Division showed a 30% rise, Italy's Serie A was up 21%, with France's Ligue 1 and Germany's Bundesliga experiencing 13% and nine percent increases respectively.
      Only the Netherlands' Eredivisie bucked the trend as its shirt sponsorship income value dropped five percent to $47 million as European clubs reaped the benefits of sponsors forking out $777m to get their brand on the front of some of the world's biggest clubs' kits.
      "With investment in 2014/15 growing 20% over last season, the investment in shirt sponsorship has increased faster than at any time in the last 15 years" said a Repucom spokesman.
      It's an investment that's being fueled by oil-rich Middle East countries, with the United Arab Emirates and Qatar based companies -- Qatar Airway's logo adorns the front of Spanish club Barcelona's shirt -- spending $181 million this season.
      While the EPL likes to see itself as the "best league in the world," Spain's Primera Division tops the table for the percentage of income for these deals coming from foreign companies with 86% of all shirt sponsorship revenue coming from outside Spain.
      It's not just airlines and banks -- Standard Chartered's logo is on the front of Liverpool's shirts -- that want to be associated with football. Even countries are getting in on the act with oil-rich Azerbaijan's "Land of Fire" slogan emblazoned across the front of Spanish champions Atletico Madrid's shirts.
      "We are two traveling companions who embark on a common path that allows them to develop multiple joint actions," said Atletico president Enrique Cerezo at the time the deal was renewed until the end of this season.
      "In just one year, we have been able to project the image of Azerbaijan for the world and promote bilateral relations between our countries."
      Not that all kit sponsorship deals arguably work out so harmoniously.
      Newcastle United's partnership with payday lender Wonga attracted plenty of negative headlines as the deal sparked protests from fans' groups and debt campaigners. Wonga's logo on children's kits -- including those for two-month-year-olds -- will now be dropped in the 2016-17 season.
      Looking further afield, American newcomer MLS is also attracting big business with shirt sponsorships totaling $55.8m -- about $3m more than the Netherlands' Eredivisie, which perhaps is another signal of the strengthening of interest in football in the U.S.