The Premier League is expanding it's sponsorship by looking for an official technology partner to increase revenue.
The new category will help the league increase revenue from sponsorship for the next three-year period, beginning next season, and is in keeping with its ability last year to attract increased value from UK broadcast rights despite the tough economic climate.
But although the league hopes the new category will attract another international sponsor, it believes growing popularity abroad has not been fully exploited. It has begun a strategic review, to be completed by the end of 2010, aimed at tapping global opportunities more successfully.
"There are parts of the world where the Premier League is more popular in percentage terms than in the UK. In many parts of the world we are the preferred league, and we are very interested to know why that is and to ensure that continues," said Richard Masters, commercial director.
Sponsorship makes up about 5 per cent of the Premier League's £1bn annual turnover, with sponsors including Nike, Lucozade, Wrigley, EA Sports, Topps Merlin and Sporting iD. Last year Barclays agreed to increase its payment to retain its title sponsorship, signing a three-year deal worth £82.5m.
Premier League officials want to capitalise on its growing brand value by exploiting the public appetite in the UK and internationally for football statistics, and using technology that, for example, tracks the performance of individual players.
Mr Masters said the league's future would be built on exploiting the digital arena and its global opportunities. "The kind of sponsors we are going to be attracting are those that can exploit the digital space and those with an international platform," he said.
The new technology category will be the first since the Premier League appointed Budweiser as its official beer partner in 2002.