'This bloke is the new sponsor of Ipswich Town' - Ed Sheeran posts throwback picture after shirt announcement
- Credit: Ed Sheeran/Archant
Suffolk's global music superstar Ed Sheeran will be sponsoring Ipswich Town's first team kits next season. STUART WATSON looks at the link-up.
ONCE A BLUE, ALWAYS A BLUE
Ed Sheeran posted a picture of himself wearing an Ipswich Town shirt as a child to mark the news that he will be sponsoring next year's kit.
Alongside the image of him wearing a home shirt worn by the team between 1997 and 1999, the 30-year-old wrote to his 31.9m followers on Instagram: "This bloke is the new sponsor of Ipswich Town Football Club. Do well."
It's more proof that our Ed is a bone fide supporter of his beloved home county club.
Just look at some of the games he's been spotted at in recent months.
He was in a Portman Road box to watch League One games against AFC Wimbledon (2-1 win in August 2019) and Coventry City (1-0 loss in March 2020) last season.
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In between that, he was also part of sparse crowds for EFL Trophy matches against Tottenham U21s and Colchester United, the latter an away game.
That's true fandom!
You may also recall Sheeran photobombing Norwich City favourites Grant Holt and Adam Drury with a sweary gesture at Carrow Road back in 2017 too.
SON OF SUFFOLK
Ed Sheeran has never forgotten his roots.
Though he was born in West Yorkshire, his family moved to Framlingham in 1995 and he very much classes himself as a son of Suffolk.
In yesterday's press release, the former Thomas Mills High School pupil was quoted as saying that "hopefully we can stop being sloightly on the huh!"
Ed's constantly put the spotlight on his beloved home county.
He describes 'Castle on the Hill' as 'a love song to Suffolk', while he included the lyrics 'I was born a misfit, grew up 10 miles from the town of Ipswich' when collaborating with rap stars Eminem and 50 Cent for 'Remember the Name'.
The auction which followed his 'Ed Sheeran: Made in Suffolk Exhibition' at Christchurch Mansion raised more than £400k for Suffolk causes, while he's donated items of clothing to Framlingham charity shops to sell.
And, of course, his record-breaking Divide tour concluded at Chantry Park in 2019, with more than 160,000 people flocking to the town.
Ed, who became a father for the first time last September, doesn't need this publicity. This is just him, once again, trying to give something back to his community.
The name 'Ed Sheeran' won't actually appear on Town's first team shirts (men and women). Instead it will be a smart looking logo made up of the symbols for plus, minus, equals, divide and mulitply above the word 'tour'.
All that has been said on that is 'all will be revealed in time'.
'Plus', 'mulitply' and 'divide' are the names of Ed's first three albums, so could it be that 'minus' and 'equals' will be the names of the next two?
And when will this tour be?
The global Divide tour lasted 893 days, broke all records and finished at Chantry Park. Could the next one include a few Portman Road gigs?
We shall see.
THE SPONSORSHIP DEAL
For now, this is a one season sponsorship deal.
Ipswich Town haven't disclosed how much it is worth, with director of sales Rosie Richardson saying: "It’s a significant investment, certainly the monies associated with it will just contribute towards the running of the club.”
The Blues may have big money behind them now under new American investors, but Salary Cap Management Protocol (SCMP) means they are restricted to spending 60% of annual turnover on wages.
So, in short, this sponsorship income come make a big difference to what manager Paul Cook can do during a big summer transfer window.
ENGAGING YOUNGER FANS
This may have all been agreed long before Ipswich Town's takeover in April, but it will be music to the club's new custodians' ears.
Co-owners Brett Johnson, Berke Bakay and Mark Detmer have a history of linking artists to football clubs.
At Phoenix Rising, they persuaded record producer Diplo and Fall Out Boy bass player Pete Wentz to become part of an eclectic investment group and looked to use their status and social media reach to engage a younger audience.
Ipswich, starved of success for so long, have work to do in terms of converting the next generation of supporters. This could help them no end.
Ed Sheeran has sold more than 150 million records worldwide, two of his albums are among the best selling in UK chart history, while his estimated net worth is around £200m.
As mentioned, he has 31.9 million followers on Instagram, while his Divide tour eclipsed previous attendance and total grossing records set by U2.
Music artists don't get much bigger right now.
Town’s deal with the Rank Group, the company behind online gambling firm Magical Vegas, expires this summer.
The Magical Vegas logo replaced the Marcus Evans Group on Ipswich shirts for the 2018/19 and 2019/20 seasons, before Rank gifted the final year of their sponsorship deal to the Carers Trust charity.
Previous shirt sponsors include: Pioneer, Radio Orwell, Fisons, Greene King, TXU Energi, Powergen and E.on.
WHEN ARE THE KITS OUT?
All the club have said is that pre-orders for the new home shirt are expected to start from early June.
It's understood the away kit for 2021/22 might not go on sale until July.