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Nowadays we take it for granted that a team’s training gear will feature a sponsor’s logo, whether that be the same as the one on the match jersey or a different brand altogether. But just 10 years ago that wasn’t the case at all; training kit sponsors were largely unheard of in club football.

The club that started the trend was Manchester United, who struck a £40m four-year kit sponsorship deal with logistics company DHL in 2011. The first of its kind domestic kit sponsorship deal was actually worth more than all but five main jersey sponsorships in the Premier League at the time and around half of the yearly fee paid by United’s main shirt sponsor, Aon.

But why would a brand pay so much to sponsor a training kit?

As in all sponsorships, one of the main reasons is exposure. Even though the matchday jersey steals most of the limelight, being broadcast to fans all over the world, the training kits is what the players will be wearing throughout the rest of the week. That means that photos and videos of training and press conferences that appear in the media will all give a large amount of exposure to the training kit sponsor as well as helping to associate the values of the club with those of the brand.

Another important factor is the ownership of broadcasting rights. Official match footage often belongs to the league or broadcaster and not necessarily to the club, which can make it more difficult for sponsors to share such content on their social media channels. Training ground footage belongs exclusively to the club, however, making it much easier for sponsors to use footage and content for their own purposes on social media. This is key because social media exposure is so easy to measure. Sponsors can get a precise breakdown of the number of views and level of engagement of posts featuring their logo, all of which can be used to determine a ‘media value’ of the expsosure gained.

Author: Gareth Thomas (@gareththomas54) / Twitter