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Universities United: New season higher education football sponsorship excitement

It may be the start of the term but it is also the start of the football season. Paul Greatrix rounds up this years' higher education sponsorship and partnership deals.
This article is more than 3 years old

Paul Greatrix is Registrar at The University of Nottingham, author and creator of Registrarism and a Contributing Editor of Wonkhe.

Now, more than ever, it is important that universities continue to make the contribution to the communities in which they are located. And for some there seems that there is no better way to signal this than through sponsorship of a local football team. As the new season gets under way it seemed timely to take another look at which universities are putting their logos onto the big team shirts.

We did report on this a while back following the news that University of Bolton was paying for naming rights for the Bolton Wanderers stadium. The good news is that the stadium still carries the University’s name, despite the footballing travails of the team.

Wolverhampton University is among most active sponsors of football teams. The most far-reaching arrangement it has is with Walsall FC (the University has a campus in Walsall) and a new sponsorship deal with the Saddlers was announced at the end of 2019:

The University of Wolverhampton has kicked off a new sponsorship deal with Walsall FC.
The University is a long term supporter of the Saddlers, and now sponsors the Academy team.
Sports students benefit from the partnership as they are able to work with players and coaching staff at the Club, as well as gaining expert insights through guest lectures.
The partnership also enables the football club to benefit from the University’s sports facilities at its Walsall Campus which have recently undergone an initial £1 million revamp.
This includes new hi-tech equipment such as cutting edge 3D motion capture technology, which was tested out by England Test cricket captain Joe Root during a recent visit to the University, and an environmental chamber to replicate nearly any climate on the planet.
The University’s branding also appears at the team’s Banks’s Stadium as sponsors of the away stand.

(And a nice reminder here too of the close relationship the University has with England test cricket captain and honorary graduate Joe Root.)

Another one we mentioned last time was the strong association between the University of West London and Brentford FC. This has recently been extended as this report from earlier this year notes:

UWL have been a long-standing supporter of Brentford FC and are our official Education Partner as part of a relationship that is in to its eighth year.
Their logo appears on top tier of the Brook Road stand at Griffin Park and on the back of First Team and B Team shirts and shorts as well on the Club’s LED perimeter advertising.
Professor Anthony Woodman, UWL Deputy Vice-Chancellor, said: “At UWL we take people with talent and ambition and provide them with great teaching, excellent facilities and outstanding student support so they can connect with successful and rewarding careers.

It’s all about the game

The other star players here come from all parts of the country.

Wrexham Glyndwr University was possibly one of the first to go down this road by acquiring the ground where Wrexham FC play.

The University of Portsmouth continues to support Pompey:

The University of Portsmouth came onboard as Portsmouth Football Club’s Main Club Partner and Front of Shirt Sponsor at the start of the 2018/19 season.

The Football Club and the University both play a huge role in the city with the University providing essential education courses that drive many aspects of the local economy.

The partnership is extremely successful with First Team players regularly attending outreach visits inspiring the next generation in local Portsmouth schools to work hard and achieve their goals as well as learning from setbacks.

In addition to this, the partnership offers current University students the unique opportunity to carry out valuable work experience, internships and placements as well as work on collaborative research projects with the First Team and Academy.

Swansea University has extended its support for its local team:

Northampton Town have continued their tie up with the University of Northampton who have their logo front and centre on the team shirts:


Meanwhile Staffordshire University (who used to have a named stand at Stoke, not certain if that is still the case) are now sponsoring the other big team in Stoke-on-Trent, Port Vale.

And let’s not forget the Boreham Wood FC in the National league who are sponsored by Barnet and Southgate College.

Top of the league

In the Premier League, where the big sponsorships tend to be out of reach for most universities there are nevertheless some strong relationships between institutions and their local teams.

  • Aston University for example, has a long-standing partnership with relegation escapees from last season Aston Villa.
  • Leicester City are fortunate to have De Montfort University as a partner, and Southampton have a partnership with Solent University.
  • Perhaps the most wide-ranging set of education relationships in the Premiership though is seen at Spurs – Tottenham have development partnerships with New City College, Hertford Regional College, Barnet and Southgate College and also, surprisingly, the University of Wollangong and, also down under, the distinctively-monikored Nudgee College.

I suspect there are more university football sponsorships out there – which new ones have we missed?

3 responses to “Universities United: New season higher education football sponsorship excitement

  1. My previous institution Bournemouth University has a wide ranging partnership with AFC Bournemouth. The BU logo made regular appearances on Match of the Day via the LED hoardings and the boards showing behind post-match interviews but more importantly there’s loads of good community work taking place too.

  2. Cardiff Met have their own team, currently 6th in the Welsh Premiership, hopefully it will be another season of success

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