How Do Sponsorships and Licensing Work In Different Sports?

How Do Sponsorships and Licensing Work In Different Sports?

For anyone who ever wondered where the eye-watering amount of money comes from in professional sports, look no further than sponsorships and licensing deals. Whether it’s the leagues, the teams, or the players themselves, billions in all kinds of currency change hands every week. Each type of sport handles deals a little differently, and here are a few of the most interesting examples.


Starting out with an individual sport, boxing is a prime example of the power of a single big name as a brand. The biggest boxers in the world can earn millions, in some cases just for showing up, but this tends to make only a fraction of their income. Their names and faces routinely get licensed for product marketing as well as media usage, although the most interesting doesn’t even technically involve real boxers.

In some cases, even media around boxing can get licensed, with the classic movie series Rocky being a prime example. The original franchise has spawned spinoffs, interactive media, and even online casino titles. We’ve only just seen Mega Fire Blaze: Rocky hit libraries of online slots, and that’s far from the first time the legendary character has appeared in slot form either.


The single most watched sport worldwide, despite the best American efforts, soccer holds the most powerful overall revenue possibility of any sport globally. The Premier League, the top-flight league in England, recently hit a revenue of over £6 billion between the clubs involved, and the European market alone brings in more than five times that amount.

Sponsorship is a lot more complicated here. Tournaments and organisations like FIFA have their own sponsors, with clubs then also having shirt, equipment, and stadium sponsors that can bring in millions. Individual players tend to have a lot less individual attention and personal sponsors are far more rare than with boxers, although the best of the best can still expect product tie-ins or even their own cosmetic lines in some cases.


For the longest time, the idea of having sponsors in cricket in the same manner as other sports was unthinkable. After all, the decorum and appearance of the game mattered almost as much as the matches themselves, and traditionalists resisted the idea of working with businesses overtly. While the most iconic version of the game has slowly opened up to sponsors, it’s in the T20 world that barriers are quickly being broken.

How Do Sponsorships and Licensing Work In Different Sports?

Source: Unsplash

Only second in the world behind soccer for viewership, companies saw the modern and consumer-friendly T20 format as a better way into the sport. Nowadays, global organising body the ICC proudly displays companies like Coca-Cola on billboards around cricket grounds, and while they still aren’t as prominent as in soccer, team jerseys now display logos far more prominently. Global revenues are rapidly approaching the billion-dollar mark yearly and that’s expected to increase as the sport expands further.

There are plenty of other sports that we didn’t have space to mention here, but most adopt a similar system to one of those above. The only thing they all share is the monumental amount of revenue they each contribute to!

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