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Rebrand or Debrand: The Premier League goes sponsorless

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In an interesting decision, the Premier League is going to be called...the Premier League.

They'll probably need a different trophy and some blank ribbons
They'll probably need a different trophy and some blank ribbons
Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

As we all know, the era of non-sponsored sports things is long since dead. With the notable exception of a few stadia here and there, pretty much everything associated with a sports team, or the playing and broadcasting of a sport, is now a sponsorable event - for instance, in soccer, stoppage time is often sponsored by a watch company, the starting lineups are brought to you by another company, substitutions by a different one, and even entire seasons are sponsored for some teams.

So it was no surprise in 1993-94 when, after a year of operation, the Premier League found its first title sponsor and became the FA Carling Premiership, a partnership with a super-awkward name that lasted until 2001, when the awkwardness was sold to the FA Barclaycard Premiership. In 2007, Barclays and the league renamed the league to the FA Barclays Premiership, and then somebody finally realized how awkward that was and renamed the league the Barclays Premier League.

But all that is about to come to an end. The deal with Barclays concludes after the upcoming season, and it was thought that a huge bidding war would take place for the right to sponsor the self-anointed Best League In The World, given how best it is and how much money it creates and spends.  But no! Just when we all thought the Premier League would predictably zig towards a trough full of money, they zagged towards a totally different thing - they're going sponsorless.

Apart from the fact that I hate (although can pretty easily ignore) corporate sponsorship-named things, the Premier League brand name is much better - the fact that it's the "Premier League" gives it its artificially inflated sense of self-worth, the fact that it won't be sponsored means it can more heavily promote itself in countries where the activities of a title sponsor's business sector may cause issues with the populace, and overall it allows the Premier League to be a "clean" brand that it can define however it wants to define it.

Does this matter specifically to Arsenal, or to any club in the league? No, not really, except they'll have to change their letterhead probably, unless the league provides them league-branded stuff. But it's a thing, and this time of year is devoid of things, so, this is the thing for today.