Emirates and Arsenal is the “best fitting” shirt sponsorship in the Premier League, according to fans who took part in a Europe-wide study by research company Statista.
Almost nine in ten of the Gunners’ supporters told researchers they approved of the pairing – a figure that contrasts markedly with the 48% of Newcastle fans who believe betting brand Fun88 is a good match for the Toon.
Overall, four-fifths of Premier League fans were satisfied with their shirt sponsor ‘fit,’ despite the prevalence of betting brands, which represent almost half of the main shirt sponsors in the league.
It comes at a time when the appropriateness of betting partnerships is subject to considerable media and parliamentary debate.
The results were part of a European Football Benchmark study involving 3,000 fans, which also assessed the likeability of the brands involved.
Five of the ten least liked sponsors were gambling companies — ManBetX (Crystal Palace), M88 (Bournemouth), OPE Sports (Huddersfield), Sport Pesa (Everton) and Fun88 (Newcastle). Each scored less than 2% for “likeability” among football fans.
Virgin Media (Southampton) emerged number one on this measure with 28%, followed by Emirates with 23% and American Express (Brighton & Hove Albion) with 14%.
The same brands made up the top three for awareness among football fans, with Emirates at 78% and Virgin Media and American Express both on 75%.
At the other end of the scale, six shirt sponsors are known by less than 10% of football fans. Lowest-ranking OPE Sports, which sponsors Huddersfield Town FC, achieved only 3% awareness among the group.
Commenting on the findings, Alexander Kunst, Senior Researcher at Statista, said: “The perceived fit of a sponsor is closely related to how well the brand values of the sponsor reflect those of the club. When we look at the six shirt sponsors who have both high awareness with fans and are considered a good fit with the club, we see that they score well for the very same attributes the club has.
“For instance, Manchester City fans told us they see both their club and shirt sponsor Etihad as ambitious, genuine and international.
“It's clear that to create a successful partnership, it's important that both club and shirt sponsor consider how well their brand values match up.”