Leicester City triumph: £150m windfall as sponsors celebrate
The Foxes' owners, sponsors and even the bespoke tailor feel the benefits of an incredible season for Leicester
It wasn't just Leicester City's fans and players celebrating the club's astonishing Premier League triumph when the city centre came to a standstill on Monday night. The club's owners, commercial department and sponsors would also have raised a glass or two to Claudio Ranieri's heroes.
The Foxes' success has put the city on the map, turned a team of misfits into superstars and is certain to generate millions.
Various brands have been rushing to align themselves with the triumphant Foxes since they clinched the title earlier this month. Walkers, who have a long association with Leicester and the football club, immediately launched special edition packets of 'Salt & Victory' flavour crisps. They were handed out to fans before the final home game of the season and have now gone on sale in the city.
Captain Morgan's rum was quick off the mark too. It pledged to release a limited edition run with Foxes skipper Wes Morgan replacing the pirate on the label.
The benefits for the club's main sponsors are obvious. Duty free retailer King Power, the club's main sponsor, owned by the Srivaddhanaprabha family that brought Leicester City in 2010, has never had such publicity.
Even former sponsors have been given a fillip and the evidence was there at Monday's victory parade. "Everyone wanted to flaunt their allegiance," says Jim White of the Daily Telegraph. "Attics had been raided to dig out replica shirts of some heritage. Suddenly Ind Coope, Walkers and Topps Tiles were getting an unexpected bit of commercial exposure."
But other brands have also felt the benefit. McCann Bespoke, a London-based tailoring firm, signed up the Foxes' 'official tailoring partner' ahead of the current season providing suits for the players and manager. But owner Neil McCann did not expect to present Ranieri with a commemorative Premier League winner's jacket at the end of the season or see Riyad Mahrez pick up his PFA player of the year award in a specially-made dinner suit.
His outfits even found themselves at the centre of a minor controversy after the game against Everton. Daily Mail columnist Martin Samuel complained that it was unfair for Ranieri to be sprayed with Champagne during a press conference when he had clearly "donned his very best" for the occasion. "He's a dapper Italian gentleman... They like to dress up. They like clothes, they like style," he added.
And after such a successful season, demand for Leicester cuff links, ties and other tailoring merchandise has increased as well, says McCann, while his heightened profile has helped generate interest from other clients.
"We are proud to be part of the club's history," McCann told The Week, adding that although the triumph was not expected it did not come as a shock. The club was "fastidious" in its approach, he said. "That is the reason for their success."
Leicester's profile has sky rocketed during an extraordinary season and the title will "significantly increase its brand value", says Grant Feller of Forbes. "Brands will be flocking to the club, especially in light of the fact that, in the past three months alone, more than 2.5 million new fans from across the globe have started following the club on social media. Last year, Leicester’s total social media fan base veered between a million and 1.5 million."
All in all it should lead to a windfall of £150m, says marketing website The Drum. The club's fan base is increasing by 25 per cent a week, it claims, and with Asian owners the club is well positioned to capitalise in that part of the world, while also attracting interest from the US. With a title defence to come and Champions League football next season, the club's future, and that of its associated brands, looks rosy.