Premier League scores spectacular own goal with new Barclays sponsorship deal

The Premier League just doesn’t get it, does it? The world is crashing around Barclays ears: its chief executive Bob Diamond has just been forced to step down by the Governor of the Bank of England; its chief operating officer Jerry del Missier has quit; its chairman Marcus Agius will be exiting in the coming months; and Bob’s top team of investment bankers face a mass clear-out (if, that is, they had anything to do with BarCap between 2005 and 2008, which is highly likely).

And what does the Premier League do? It inks another sponsorship deal with Barclays Bank, this time for a whopping £35m a year over 3 years (or so Brand Republic tells us).

Granted, when scandal strikes, the boot is usually on the other foot: it’s the sponsor that  assesses the collateral brand damage and, if necessary, does the firing. For instance: Coca-Cola repudiating its association with Wayne Rooney, after the latter consorted with a prostitute while his wife was pregnant; everyone junking Tiger Woods once his elaborate sexual gymnastics came to light; Vodafone shaking a big stick at McLaren Mercedes (but not much else) over cheating on the F1 track; and Emirates Airline threatening to drop its World Cup sponsorship because of FIFA chief Sepp Blatter’s limp-wristed approach to racism on the pitch.

But the scandal now engulfing Barclays is of such epic proportions that even the Premier League – not normally known for its ethical sensitivity – should carefully consider whether it is prudent to continue its association with such a blighted brand. Let’s face it, it doesn’t look too clever, does it? ‘We’re a wholesome family sport, happy to take money from anyone – cheats and spivs especially welcome’.

Of course, the Premier League commercial negotiators have been unlucky in their timing. Little were they to know that, as protracted negotiations were nearing their conclusion, international financial regulators would hit Barclays with a £290m fine for manipulating the interbank lending rate. Even so, a suspension in the negotiations would now be the intelligent way forward – while the Premier League looks for an alternative commercial partner; and Barclays does the decent thing by withdrawing its offer. Tip for Premier League negotiators: try sectors other than financial services. It will save pain later.

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One Response to Premier League scores spectacular own goal with new Barclays sponsorship deal

  1. Hugh Alford says:

    Not sure that Barclays Capital is associated by most who follow football with Premiership – more the retail bank.

    I remember when Barclays were supposdly seen on the wrong side of the South Africa situation.

    I remember County NatWest’s failed issue of Stock of Blue Arrow 873 million in 1987. Blue Arrow were cleared of any wrongdoing and the NatWest name survived

    Image is reinvented time after time.

    Now that Tiger has beaten Jack Nicklaus in a number of titles, maybe Accenture ( I remember Anderson Consulting by the way!) will drop their animals and return to Woods.

    Perhaps they can leverage the image of ‘riding the rough times as well as the smooth’ ?

    Maybe the fines of football and the fines of Barclays have a kind of congruence – a good match for each other.

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