Standard Chartered and Liverpool: Who is the Winner of the Premier League 2020?

Back to 10 years ago, in 2009, Standard Chartered Bank (“Standard Chartered”) agreed a four-year deal for the bank to become the Liverpool FC (“Liverpool”) main sponsor – the largest commercial agreement in Liverpool’s history with estimated amount of USD133M. In 2010, Standard Chartered ranked 44th in Top Bank in the World 2009 in terms of total asset with USD516.5Bn asset amount while Liverpool ranked 2nd in Premier League with nil Champion in Premier League history.

Writer was exactly a Standard Chartered staff back to 2009. The only feeling of mine about the sponsorship to Liverpool is “Gosh, my year-end bonus is gone”. I believe a lot of people had similar feeling back on that day as year-end bonus substantially contributed the total compensation in banking back to the old day. Today, my feeling to the sponsorship is “Standard Chartered is the winner of recent Liverpool dominated global football era”. How Standard Chartered could make a good deal and foresee Liverpool would get a premier league champion and entitled a UEFA Champions League winner after 10 years?

Liverpool is not just a football team in English Premier League, it is one of the teams with long history since 1892. The Red won 11 Champion in 20 years between 1972 to 1990 in the top league in England. However, since Premier League inception, the club never win any league championship, the sponsorship from Standard Chartered was commented as a disaster from news in 2010 given that Standard Chartered major focus in UK was Corporate Banking and Institutional Banking but not Retailing Banking.

Future Maker

Peter Sands, group chief executive of Standard Chartered, said in news that markets like Asia, Africa and the Middle East were emerging from the global downturn more quickly than the West, “This sponsorship will drive brand recognition in our key markets”. After the financial tsunami, banking industry suffered from the criticism that banks are the source of problem for financial tsunami in 2008 due to the greedy profit-making strategy. Nonetheless, Standard Chartered net profit had not heavily tumbled down from the global crisis in 2009.

The only reason of Standard Chartered signing the sponsorship may be the future vision they believe in Liverpool for future development. Liverpool, as mentioned above, was hegemon of global football market but wane in 1990s. The Red rebounded for short term in 2000s and won the UEFA championship in 2005 yet to be the champion of top league again. Nonetheless, Liverpool has substantial number of fans in Asia accumulated since 1980s. One interesting observation, fans of Liverpool are not only enthusiastic in the Red but their enthusiasm to Red are long lasting, most of the fans follow the Red for more than 10 years or even longer. As mentioned among Liverpool fans “Once a red, always a red!”. Standard Chartered signed a four years sponsorship with Liverpool in 2009 is a risk-taking decision for their brand building but the foundation is solid.

Ultimate winner of Premier League

In 2009, Premier League was the Manchester United era. Unlikely Manchester United would pick a 44th top bank in the world as their sponsor. Therefore, it is true as Managing Director of Liverpool FC stated in 2009: “we believe we have the ideal partner to move forward and help develop our global ambitions for the club.” Today, Standard Chartered have been being Liverpool sponsor for 10 years and will be continuous till 2023. In the last 10 years, Standard Chartered have enjoyed the recovery of the hegemon, showing their logo across the world from Premier League, UEFA Champion League to FIFA Club World Cup and cross selling the marketing activities to their high net worth clients. Align with the bank’s development strategy, this long-term relationship brings them a huge return on investment on brand building over the sponsorship. In season 2019-2020, as of today, Liverpool highly likely will entitle the first Premier League Champion and writer has high confidence the good performance will last for few years. Other than the fans of the Red, Standard Chartered would be the one very happy to see the result of Premier League 2019-2020. The intangible branding value of the sponsorship on Liverpool will further increase along with fantastic result in coming years. Other than the Red, from the long term investment vision, Standard Chartered may be one of the economic winners of the Premier League Championship.

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