Market in football-branded financial products set to soar

If you thought football was all about 22 blokes kicking a ball around for 90 minutes, think again. The revolution in financial services means that a soccer fan can buy his or her home, obtain a loan to buy a car, insure the vehicle and even take out a pension - all through their football club team.

If you thought football was all about 22 blokes kicking a ball around for 90 minutes, think again. The revolution in financial services means that a soccer fan can buy his or her home, obtain a loan to buy a car, insure the vehicle and even take out a pension - all through their football club team.

In fact, according to a report out today, the number of people who insure their home through the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal will rocket more than five-fold over the next five years.

Datamonitor, a market research firm, found that there are 430 different financial products linked to sports bodies, predominantly football clubs. These are currently being promoted to a potential market of almost 10 million sports fans.

Datamonitor found that although 350 sporting bodies market a credit card, only 411,000 fans have so far taken up the offer.

"The game is not over," said Godfrey Sullivan, senior analyst. "There are big opportunities for sports clubs to use their expertise in offering credit cards."

Datamonitor's report forecasts that the biggest-growing markets are in pensions, life assurance, motor and household insurance and mortgages. All of these are predicted to grow by about 40 per cent a year.

But even this rate of growth will have little impact on the overall market. Despite a forecast 40 per cent annual growth in pensions, the total number of customers will be just 11,000 in five years' time. The number of people with a sports-branded household insurance policy will rise to 23,600 by 2005 from today's 4,200.

"There is a degree of scepticism about how many football fans will be influenced by their loyalty to a club when taking out high-value products such as mortgages and pensions," said Mr Sullivan.

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