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The commercial numbers of the Premier League as season 2021/22 gets underway

The 2021/22 English Premier League season began this past weekend, with capacity crowds returning to stadia for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic.

Following on from a previous season which included the majority of games being played behind closed doors, it was a welcome commercial boost for clubs across the league.

According to Richard Masters, the CEO of the Premier League, clubs have posted major losses over the past 18 months, but financially those difficulties have been managed well overall.

“Across the Premier League economy in the last 18 months, we’ve lost about UK£1.5 billion plus in revenue and that creates some significant challenges for clubs to manage and they have done that,” he said in an interview with Sky Sports.

“So, it hasn’t been easy but what I can say is with fans back, with some of the broadcast agreements we have put in place, we have got a more secure footing.

“Not just for the Premier League but for the whole of the professional game who as you know we filter a lot of our revenue down to, into the pyramid and into grassroots. So, it’s good news to everybody.”

Some of those financial woes were self-inflicted however, after the embarrassing European Super League proposal led to England’s ‘big six’ clubs (Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal) incurring fines of US $30.4 million each for their role in the breakaway competition.

It is likely to be the end of such attempts after a new owners’ charter was introduced in May, preventing clubs from signing up to similar breakaway projects.

“I think the charter changes we agreed to in June are an end to this”, Masters told Sky Sports.

“I think it’s not an end to perhaps some of the issues that created it. It was a bad idea, poorly executed and it’s been consigned to the past I believe.

“We are in discussions with those clubs involved and we will put in place rule changes to make sure that these things won’t happen again. We had a lot of support from the government and in particular, from fans, everybody showed what they thought of the concept.”

What the Super League idea highlighted was the disparity between the leagues ‘big six’ and the other 14 clubs in the league.

A Sportico report outlined that the six big English clubs had a valuation of US$3.67 billion each on average last season, with the other 14 clubs in the league valued at US$3.7 billion combined.

According to multiple Sponsorpulse engagement reports, Liverpool was the most engaging club in the Premier League between late 2019 to mid 2021, with 45% of people in the UK engaging with the team at least once in the past 18 months. Manchester United were ranked 2nd with 42% engagement, ahead of Manchester City with 40% and Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea all on 39%.

Outside of the UK, the big six clubs continue to engage with a range of overseas markets, some more emphatically than others.

Liverpool’s top 3 overseas markets – by percentage of engagement are: Colombia (54%), South Africa (53%) and Indonesia (52%)

Manchester United’s top 3 overseas markets – by percentage of engagement are: Colombia (59%), Argentina (57%) and South Africa (57%)

Manchester City’s top 3 overseas markets – by percentage of engagement are: Colombia (58%), Argentina (57%) and Mexico (55%)

Arsenal’s top 3 overseas markets – by percentage of engagement are: Colombia (54%), South Africa (53%) and Indonesia (52%)

Tottenham’s top 3 overseas markets – by percentage of engagement are: Indonesia (50%), South Africa (47%) and China (46%)

Chelsea’s top 3 overseas markets – by percentage of engagement are: Colombia (56%), South Africa (54%) and Indonesia (53%)

The power of these six clubs continues to lift engagement in big markets such as China, India and Indonesia and make the Premier League what it is today.

These three markets all have more than a 50% engagement rate with the Premier League competition overall, which dwarfs Australia’s engagement rate which currently sits at 31%.

Philip Panas is a sports journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and industry matters, drawing on his knowledge and passion of the game.

FIFA’s commercial partnership structure unlocks opportunities

FIFA has introduced a new commercial partnership structure that will provide companies worldwide with increased opportunities to partner with soccer.

For the first time in eight years, FIFA has introduced a new commercial partnership structure that will provide companies worldwide with increased opportunities to partner with soccer.

Three partnership variables have been launched which include women’s football, men’s football and Esports/gaming. As a starting point, brands will now be able to negotiate dedicated partnerships with women’s football and Esports.

FIFA are building on their Women’s Football strategy implemented from 2018, by launching a dedicated women’s soccer commercial vertical to show their commitment to making soccer more accessible for women and girls across the globe. Their main aim from this vertical is to accelerate the growth and equality of the women’s game.

As for opportunities that provides for Australia, it could be a key driver for broadening the business side in women’s soccer, as well as the ever-growing Esports.

FIFA Chief Women’s Football Officer, Sarai Bareman:

“This marks a groundbreaking moment to maximise the growth of the women’s game and its marketing appeal, as we create equal commercial models across Women’s and Men’s Football for the first time,” she said.

“We’re excited about the opportunities for brands who want to support women’s sport, help accelerate women’s equality, and wish to align themselves with the unparalleled momentum around women’s football.”

A dedicated partnerships structure for Esports will allow FIFA to further broaden its gaming footprint. The structure provides exciting opportunities to participate in one of the world’s fastest growing markets.

Overall, FIFA’s new partnership structure includes the following:

  • All partners will receive extensive global commercial rights across national team tournaments.
  • Sponsors will receive global activation rights surrounding the FIFA Women’s World Cup, the FIFA World Cup and/or across all FIFAe competitions.
  • Tournament Supporters will be able to select territorial activation rights for any of the above listed tournaments.
  • FIFA partners continue to hold the highest level of association with global partner status and category exclusivity across competitions.
  • FIFA’s new commercial approach will enable brands to benefit from new opportunities to associate with FIFA’s brand for business-driven purposes

FIFA Chief Commercial Officer, Kay Madati, on the impact these changes will make:

“As we continually work to make football truly global, accessible and inclusive, we recognised the need for a nimble and customisable commercial structure that enables brands big and small, global and local, to connect with all aspects of the beautiful game,” he said.

“The new model will allow our partners to create more tailored programming and marketing activations that align directly with their strategic business goals, and connect them to the world’s most passionate fans, in the world’s most engaging sport.”

28 Australian Match Officials recognised by FIFA for 2022

Football Australia has announced that 28 of Australia's Match Officials have been appointed to FIFA's Panel of International Referees.

Football Australia has announced that 28 of Australia’s Match Officials have been appointed to FIFA’s Panel of International Referees for 2022.

The list includes Referees, Assistant referees, Futsal referees, and Video Match Officials – all of whom are enabled to officiate FIFA sanctioned tournaments and fixtures.

The list includes four new Australian match officials, featuring two match referees and two assistant referees. They are Daniel Elder and Adam Kersey from the Isuzu UTE A-League Men’s competition, and assistant referees Lauren Hargrave and Kearney Robinson respectively.

With all officials becoming debutants on FIFA’s esteemed list, it serves as recognition on a worldwide scale.

Football Australian Chairman and Chair of Football Australia Referees Committee, Chris Nikou:

“Australian match officials have always been highly regarded within the global football landscape and it is pleasing to see that FIFA has continued to recognise this through the appointment of 28 Australians to the Panel of International Referees for 2022,” he said.

“Congratulations to the new additions to the panel in Daniel (Elder), Adam (Kersey), Lauren (Hargrave), and Kearney (Robinson).”

Football Australia Chief Executive Officer, James Johnson:

“Refereeing remains a key focus for Football Australia, and it is pleasing to see Australian Match Officials once again recognised by FIFA. We congratulate all the 2022 Panel or their opportunity to represent Australian football on the global stage,” he said.“With the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ now just 11 months away and a home Women’s World Cup™ in 2023, it is an exciting time for Australian refereeing and football more broadly.”

Four other Australian match officials are also being acknowledged for their selection to officiate in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022. Referees Casey Reibelt, Lara Lee, Kate Jacewicz, and Assistant Referee Joanna Charaktis will represent Australia in India over the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, seasoned Australian referees Matthew Cream and Renae Coghill called time on their international refereeing careers at the end of 2021.

The full list of Australian Match Officials selected for FIFA’s Panel of International Referees for 2022 is below:

Name

Role

FIFA International Since

Kurt AMS

Referee

2019

Jonathan BARREIRO

Referee

2019

Christopher BEATH

Referee

2011

Rebecca DURCAU

Referee

2017

Daniel ELDER

Referee

2022

Shaun EVANS

Referee

2017

Kate JACEWICZ

Referee

2011

Adam KERSEY

Referee

2022

Alexander KING

Referee

2020

Lara LEE

Referee

2019

Casey REIBELT

Referee

2014

Ashley BEECHAM

Assistant Referee

2013

Joanna CHARAKTIS

Assistant Referee

2019

Ryan GALLAGHER

Assistant Referee

2016

Owen GOLDRICK

Assistant Referee

2018

Lance GREENSHIELDS

Assistant Referee

2019

Lauren HARGRAVE

Assistant Referee

2022

Sarah HO

Assistant Referee

2004

George LAKRINDIS

Assistant Referee

2016

Andrew LINDSAY

Assistant Referee

2019

Nathan MACDONALD

Assistant Referee

2012

Laura MOYA

Assistant Referee

2017

Kearney ROBINSON

Assistant Referee

2022

Anton SHCHETININ

Assistant Referee

2016

Andrew BEST

Futsal Referee

2017

Jonathon MOORE

Futsal Referee

2018

Ryan SHEPHEARD

Futsal Referee

2009

Darius TURNER

Futsal Referee

2013

Note: Match Officials listed in bold are recognised as FIFA Video Match Officials (VMOs).

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