A football story that was overlooked by many in mid-May is how the Premier League officially dropped the usage of the ‘Premiership’ name and changed the official title of the league to the Barclays Premier League (BPL).
To me, it’s a big mistake. While sponsorship is such a huge part of the game nowadays, it shouldn’t be included in the official name of the league. You don’t see the National Football League (NFL) changing their name to the Wal-Mart Football League (WFL).
While the EPL is the world’s most popular sports league, there is still huge potential to attract new followers (i.e. consumers) in China and the United States. When even the name of the league is confusing (is it the EPL, BPL, Premier League, Premiership?), it creates confusion in the marketplace. Sure, soccer fans will eventually catch on but consider how the NFL markets its league and how everyone speaks the same “language.” Repeat the mantra. NFL, NFL, NFL.
The Premier League’s challenge is if they continue marketing the league as the BPL (as they did in a press release with Fox Soccer Channel released earlier this week). What happens if Barclays fails to renew their contract when the sponsorship agreement expires? Will the BPL become the APL, VFL, DFL, etc?
At this point, I don’t see the Premier League changing their strategy. As long as massive corporations such as Barclays and others are willing to inject money into the game, then the Premier League will keep renaming the league to satisfy their greed.