The Premier League’s 20 Weirdest Sponsorship Deals (and what they say about each team)

Soccer Lists

You might think the Premier League is all about high-profile sponsorships with major sports manufacturers like Nike, Adidas and Puma, and humungous corporations like Etihad Airways, Standard Chartered and Chevrolet. But Premier League clubs don’t exceed a combined £3 billion in revenue based on just the big deals. Some of that money comes from smaller deals with companies you’ve possibly never heard of.

Until today.

Let’s take a look at some of the Premier League’s more interesting partnership agreements, and what they may indicate about each team.

1. Arsenal
Regional partner: Imperial Bank
In May 2013, Arsenal signed an agreement with Imperial Bank (a commercial bank headquartered in Nairobi) to produce cobranded debit cards throughout Kenya and Uganda.

Arsenal is one of the Premier League’s most talented clubs when it comes to balancing the books, so it makes sense for the club to partner with commercial banks. However, if the card is to truly reflect the traditions of Arsenal, it will need to be very flashy and only be good for one big purchase every year.

2. Aston Villa
Official home assistance partner: Homeserve
Homeserve is an emergency home repair company, selling insurance plans to cover you for burst pipes, blocked drainage, broken heaters and all that bad stuff. Though the company appears to be gaining customers, it was fined £30.6m by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority in February 2014 for mis-selling insurance policies and mishandling customer complaints. Villa fans whose hopes raised by the team’s excellent start to the 2014-15 season may feel similarly duped.

3. Burnley
Official club partner: Totally Wicked
Totally Wicked is a big player in the electronic cigarette market, and (per the company literature) was “established with a mission to provide the best quality nicotine fluids, electronic cigarettes and the best possible customer service and support.” More importantly, the partnership may represent a strategically significant first step in luring world-class talents/notorious smokers such as Jack Wilshire, Mario Balotelli, Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov to Premier League minnows.

4. Chelsea
Destination Tourism Partner: Barbados Tourism Authority
Chelsea signed a three-year deal with the Barbados Tourism Authority in order to help, “promote the island of Barbados to a wider audience across three key territories – North America, the Caribbean and the UK.” The island country of Barbados represents an obvious tourist destination, and boasts a favorable climate, pristine beaches and a land mass roughly equal to half the size of Roman Abramovich’s yacht.

5. Crystal Palace
Corporate Sponsor: Aqua Blue Cleaning and Support Services
As noted on the club’s website, Aqua Blue Cleaning and Support Services is a contract cleaning company located approximately four miles from Selhurst Park, Crystal Palace’s stadium. Amongst other services, Aqua Blue carries out many specialized cleaning tasks, including commercial deep cleaning. I assume this is the coded language for what the company actually does for Palace, removing the copious layers of hair gel from Marouane Chamakh’s scalp each day.

6. Everton FC
Official Partner: Eleia Pure
There’s water, there’s purified water, and then (evidently) there’s Eleia Pure water. As pointed out by the corporate press release, “Due to the sophisticated filtration the water undergoes, it reaches the highest level of purity, leaving only pure water molecules. The lack of impurities can also benefit those with kidney problems. Mersey Kidney Research, a leading kidney research foundation has partnered with Eleia due to its ability to ease the pressure on the organ.” It’s little wonder then that everyone loves Roberto Martinez as much they seem to; he isn’t content simply to play beautiful soccer. He will only be satisfied if he’s playing lovely, possession-based soccer, while simultaneously working to indirectly cure kidney disease.

7. Hull City
Main Partners: All the Medicine in Hull
The scrolling feed on the bottom of the official Hull City homepage lists the following organizations as main partners: Scientific Laboratory Supplies, City Health Care Partnership CIC, and Smith and Nephew (provider of surgical devices and advanced wound care products). In addition, the site also lists MKM Building Supplies, Burflex Scaffolding, and Ideal Boilers as corporate sponsors. So, either the Hull City medical staff is so busy keeping its players alive and functioning that it can’t afford to physically purchase its own equipment, or the entire club is actually some kind of front for a hospital construction syndicate.

8. Leicester City
Official Club Sponsor: Pukka Pies
Every newly promoted club has to do what it can to survive a season in the Premiership. When Stoke was promoted in 2008, Rory Delap’s long throws were instrumental in the team’s overall success. Last season, Crystal Palace relied on the managerial experience of Tony Pulis to help stay in the top flight. Leicester, I assume, will be taking a page out of Diego Maradona’s book, and will use Pukka Pies (a nationally-branded company headquartered in Leicester) to effectively drug its opponents. Indeed, just a few bites of the “All Steak Pie” or the “Steak and Kidney Pie” and even the most physically fit player will need a nap 30 minutes into a game.

9. Liverpool
Official Partner: Subway
PSLiverpoolSubway.jpg10. Manchester City
Official Energy Drink Partner: Jaguar Energy Drink UK
Depending on your geographic location, Jaguar is one of two very different things. In some post-Soviet countries, it’s an alcohol energy drink. In the UK, however, Jaguar is alcohol free and is instead marketed as a health beverage. Regardless, I would pay a significant sum of money to see an advertising campaign featuring a can of Jaguar Energy Drink, City manager Manuel Pellegrini, techno music, and some sort of dancing mascot. If, however, Jaguar were looking for a more effective campaign, the company could just film a spot featuring Jesus Navas and those beautiful blues making 30 seconds of unbroken eye contact with the viewer. Jaguar’s sales would overtake Red Bull’s almost instantaneously.

11. Manchester United
Official Noodles Partner of Manchester United for Asia, Oceania, and Middle East: Mamee
Manchester United really took the whole concept of corporate sponsorship to the next level, as evidenced by the club’s long list of global partners. A cynical mind might think that United’s partnership with a major Malaysian food and beverage manufacturer might be an effective way to dip into lucrative new markets. I prefer to think that Louis van Gaal is just a huge fan of the “Burning Hot Kari” flavor of noodles, and demanded they be stocked in the Carrington kitchen when he implemented his sweeping changes at the club.

12. Newcastle United
Official Pizza Partner: Papa John’s
Nothing says “athletes in peak physical condition” like a 2,640-calorie circle of buttered dough, molten cheese and salted meats. I like to imagine Newcastle players drowning their sorrows in stuffed crust pizza after the latest uninspiring team talk from Alan Pardew, or gorging themselves on the new Frito Lays pizza after the newest terrible decision by owner Mike Ashley. In fact, the phrase “mediocre pizza” (long synonymous with the offerings from the Papa himself) might be the best possible metaphor for Newcastle under the ownership of Ashley: initially met with excitement, increasingly difficult to get through and ultimately disappointing.

13. Queens Park Rangers
Official Supplier: EQ8 Natural Energy Drink
With the inclusion of EQ8, there are now two energy drinks on this list. Manchester City, the club with the highest average squad age at 29, also has an energy drink sponsor. QPR has the fourth oldest squad in the Premiership with an average age of 28.3, indicating that perhaps aging players like Rob Green (34), Clint Hill (36), Richard Dunne (35) and Bobby Zamora (33) might need a quick pick-me-up before, during and after each match. At 36 years of age, Rio Ferdinand also qualifies as an older player, but he of course derives all of his energy from his own publicity.

14. Southampton
Main Sponsor/Official Partner: Sunseeker International
Luxury yacht manufacturer Sunseeker International is … well … a purveyor of luxury yachts. A quick check of the company’s website reveals that Sunseeker sells a variety of models, including the Predator Series, which is described as follows: “As powerful as they are attractive, a Predator uses its exhilarating performance to impress and exceptional style to seduce.” I believe that was also the original description for reserve goalkeeper Artur Boruc on his Wikipedia page until he was replaced by England international Fraser Forster. At the very least, the partnership with Sunseeker will allow the club to easily transport its homegrown players to their respective new clubs once they are inevitably sold for absurd amounts of money.

15. Stoke City
Official Club Partner/Corporate Sponsor: Brown Recycling Limited
According to the Brown Recycling website, “We are a family-run business with over 80 years of experience as a waste management company.” Fittingly, the site also notes, “Most people may not realise that there is a legal responsibility for all companies and organisations to ensure their waste electrical equipment is disposed of and recycled properly.” This practice mirrors Stoke’s approach of purchasing and then redefining names like Peter Odemwingie, Peter Crouch, Charlie Adam, and (most recently) Bojan Krkic.

16. Sunderland AFC
Official Asian Betting Partner:
I really don’t know what’s more revealing: that I can’t access the company’s website from the United States, or that the page telling me I can’t access the site looks like this:


Either way, Sunderland is getting a fair amount of money from a company that, according to, “has grown rapidly over the last few years and is now one of the best-known sportsbooks and casino brands in the Asian online gaming industry.” And, to be fair, what negative thingshave everbeen associated with Far East gambling syndicates?

17. Swansea City
Business partner: Education Staffing Solutions
Swansea’s website features a list of local business partners, so fans can “support the businesses that support the Swans.” Education Staffing Solutions, a substitute teacher referral service, caught my eye because it’s essentially a loan system for educators. Perhaps if Michu’s loan to Napoli doesn’t work out, Swansea can send the Spaniard into local schools instead.

18. Tottenham Hotspur
Official Partner: Bosideng London
Spurs might not be the most consistent team on the pitch, but off of it the club is certainly one of the league’s most stylish. Tottenham was an early adopter when the “tight jersey” trend first began, and identified Under Armor as a legitimate kit provider before many other teams. In addition, the club tends to employ young, stylish and attractive managers. So, it’s a logical step to partner with Bosideng London, a provider of, “men’s clothing and down wear that is elegantly designed and beautifully crafted whilst exuding innovation and sophistication.” The agreement means that Tottenham will once again earn the award for “Best Dressed Team that Didn’t Qualify for the Champions League.”

19. West Bromwich Albion
As far as I’m aware, West Brom is the only Premier League with an official higher education partner. But that’s not the weird thing here. The weird thing is that West Brom’s higher education partner is The University of Wolverhampton, located in … you guessed it … Wolverhampton, home of the Wolverhampton Wanderers, West Brom’s fiercest rivals. Which means West Brom are encouraging their fans to head deep into enemy territory for their education.

20. West Ham United
Official Club Partner: Lycamobile
The official West Ham site describes Lycamobile as providing, “low-cost high-quality international calls to over 30 million customers across 17 countries” and has worked to achieve “greater coverage of the European population than any other network operator”. In addition, the service provides an easy method for Sam Allardyce to cheaply and easily phone the many fans that called for him to be sacked and remind them that the veteran tactician is now a candidate for manager of the year.

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