Can ISO 9001 raise the value of shirt sponsorship?

Dr Simon Chadwick of Birkbeck College, University of London, is presenting a seminar on the value of the ISO 9001 standard to address problems fooball clubs have in acquiring and retaining football shirt sponsors. Football shirt sponsorship contracts in England have been identified as being less valuable than those in other countries and there is also growing scepticism amongst sponsors about the effectiveness and relevance of shirt sponsorships.

"Organisations have indicated that some clubs are often unwilling to cooperate with them, fail to communicate openly or regularly, do not engage with the staff responsible for managing sponsorship programmes and frequently reject a collaborative approach to their relationship," Dr Chadwick wrote in his synopsis.

The ISO 9001 standard exists in order that an organisation can demonstrate its ability to consistently meet customer requirements. It also aims to enhance customer satisfaction through the effective application of systems, including processes for continual improvement of the system and the assurance of conformity to customer requirements. Amongst benefits attributable to the standard are improved levels of quality, safety, reliability, efficiency, inter-changeability and economy.

"This standard clearly has a role to play in ensuring that football clubs serve the needs of their customers, amongst them a club’s shirt sponsors. In particular, they identify that sponsors will inevitably seek to maximise their returns from a sponsorship contract and their assumption is that clubs applying for and securing the ISO 9001 standard will thus be able to more readily deliver these returns.

"The presentation will therefore contend that football clubs can retain their shirt sponsors for longer periods of time and secure higher financial values for these contracts than is currently the case, if they were to secure ISO 9001 accreditation. The award of this standard would mean the club setting down performance benchmarks for their relationship with a sponsor. As a result, it will be argued that sponsors should be more likely to trust clubs and therefore make a longer-term financial commitment to them," Dr Chadwick explained.

For further details on "Football shirt sponsorship programmes - is ISO 9001 a way to address retention and value problems?" (7 Dec), contact Sean Hamil, Department of Management, Birkbeck College. Email:

See also: MU and Vodafone split as shirt sponsorship soars (23 Nov)