Tag Heuer Said to Pay $7.3 Million for Premier League Agreement

  • Watchmaker joins backers Barclays, Nike and Electronic Arts
  • Premier League abandons title sponsor for a slate of partners

Watchmaker Tag Heuer is paying about 5 million pounds ($7.3 million) a season to become a sponsor of the Premier League, which is embracing a new marketing strategy that includes many corporate partners instead of one title sponsor.

The value of the three-year deal was revealed by a person familiar with the terms who asked to remain anonymous because the league and the watch company have not made them public. Tag Heuer, which has agreements with Germany’s Bundesliga and Major League Soccer in the U.S., will be the league’s first official time keeper and watch partner.

"It’s probably our biggest sports sponsorship ever," Rob Diver, Tag Heuer’s managing director for the U.K., said at an announcement Tuesday in London.

The Premier League is in the final weeks of a 40 million pounds per season title sponsorship agreement with Barclays Plc. The league last year announced it had abandoned its traditional setup and would focus instead on developing a slate of top tier partners, as most professional leagues and events do, including FIFA’s World Cup, the National Football League and the Olympics.  

Soccer is the "biggest platform in the world," Diver said. The agreement, which calls for the watch company’s logo to be used in television broadcasts around the world and on the boards officials use to display substitutions and stoppage time, had been under discussion for about two years. It accelerated after the Premier League announced its new marketing strategy.

Barclays, Nike Inc. and Electronic Arts Inc. have already signed up to back the league. Premier League Managing Director Richard Masters said the aim was to get as many as seven new partners, with another announcement coming soon.

The Premier League is watched by the largest global audience of any soccer league, and revenues have surged since it started in 1992. The latest three-year domestic- and international-rights broadcast package that begins next season is valued at about 8.3 billion pounds.

Under its previous agreement, Barclays had "locked out" a lot of sponsorship inventory that clubs and the league could sell, according to Masters.

The new structure makes the league "extraordinarily more attractive," said Diver.

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