Germany leapfrog England in shirt sponsorship

Germany's Bundesliga has overtaken the English Premier League as Europe's top division for shirt sponsorship revenue, a report said on Tuesday. Total revenue from soccer shirt sponsorship deals in the six biggest European leagues has dropped for only the second time in 10 years but the finance and insurance sector remains the top sponsor despite the global economic crisis. The report by global sports marketing consultancy SPORT+MARKT showed the Bundesliga has generated 102.9 million euros ($132.5 million) from shirt sponsorship this season against the Premier League's 85.5 million. This is partly because of the weakness of the British Pound but also the Bundesliga's all-round appeal. "No other league has reached such a consistency of sponsorship deals for all teams," Hartmut Zastrow, executive director of SPORT+MARKT, said in a statement. Manchester United have been overtaken by Bayern Munich as the top shirt sponsorship earners, although United's drop from 20.8 to 17.7 million euros is due purely to the pound's loss in value against the euro. Bayern are receiving 20 million euros from their shirt sponsors, matching the figure from last season. Income has actually risen to 70.5 million from 54.6 two seasons ago for Italy's third-placed Serie A, said the report which is based mainly on official club figures along with some estimates. Total shirt sponsorship revenue across the six top European leagues has fallen to 393.2 million euros from 405.3 last term. Altogether, 34 financial or insurance companies are on the shirts of clubs in Europe's six top leagues -- only four less than last season. U.S. insurance giant AIG, Manchester United's sponsor, averted bankruptcy in September with a federal bailout. "As contracts are fixed over a long period of time, the jersey report proves that sport sponsorship is not affected by the financial crisis -- yet," Zastrow said. "While the financial sector, and for example the construction industry in Spain, will be forced to withdraw, other industries and markets, such as the betting industry, will be happy to fill this gap."