Premier League Sleeve Badges 1992/93 – 2015/16
The English Premier League EPL was inaugurated with 1992-93 season. It was a new structure and a new organization centered around the already existing clubs. But in a more modern edition than the old Football League. The potential to tap commercial revenue sources better was at the heart of the new structure. Especially when it came to negotiating TV deals. But also smaller revenue streams would be exploited to a higher extent among those the name and number kits worn by the players on the pitch.
Premier League badges were introduced already from the start to promote the new league. One patch attached to each sleeve. But it was not only the season 1996/97 that the standardized letters and numbers emerged. And it was not until the season 1997/98 when the process of adoption among all clubs in the league was fully implemented.
The first badges were produced by Chris Kay and Metro Sports + briefly at a later stage by a Dutch company. Chris Kay and Metro Sports were later acquired and merged by ITW and turned into a new company called Sporting ID which as of today holds the exclusive rights to produce the printing. However, back in the days Chris Kay and Metro Sports used different processes for the printing. So in fact there would be a flock product as well as a plastic product available in the market.
Chris Kay did the flock Lextra product which has almost a cloth like feel to it. Metro Sports would do a thinner plastic style product.
as you can tell from the plastic backing the product is in Lextra and is produced under US patent laws with a license from fiberlok.
Click here to learn more about Fiberlok!
Click here to learn more about Sporting ID!
The badge is one dimensional and does not have any 3D effects at the front with an elevated lion or the like.
Compare this product to the plastic product also available in the market.
Much thinner and a completely different product material.
Already at an early stage the idea with Champs badge was introduced. Thus before the uniform name and number kit came along the reigning champs would wear a badge notably different from that of the other clubs.
At the time there was also this duality in the vocabulary. Premiership, Premier League. Presumably the Premier League being the league structure with the Premiership being the tournament in play and thus one would win the Premiership title in the Premier League. Since this distinction is rather fine and largely incomprehensible to the majority of fans the “Premiership” has now disappeared as a concept and there is only one and the same Premier League. Full stop. Period. Punto finale.
The Champs badge at the early beginnings might have been slightly lacking in finish compared to the more elaborate badge being introduced in 2007 and beyond. Again the material is Lextra.
Until 2007 only replica size badges and printing was available for retail. The player’s size badges and printing was reserved for the clubs.
With few iterations the uniform name set and the sleeve badges would go on until 2007. Good English conservative style. Why change a concept that obviously works ? But even in the UK it is time for a change from time to time. Thus in 2007 the newly founded Sporting ID thought it was time for an upgrade.
The new material used for the sleeve badges is called Senscilia and is similar in style to the Lextra but without the license fees due to the US licence holder Fiberlok.
2 different sizes are now available in the market. Replica size and player’s size. Can be hard to see the difference in size in the image due to the fact that the photo is taken from a slightly backwards angle in order to avoid reflections from the electrical light above.
A cleaner design with more elaborate details. Premiership being replaced by Premier League. All in all a step forward while being true to tradition.
Also when it comes to the Champs badges there has been a notable upgrade.
In this photo it is easier to spot the size difference since it is taken more directly from above the badges placed on the table.
These badges are produced in Senscilia and are 3D badges in the sense that the lion as well as the Barclays Premier League titles are separate pieces applied on the gold background.
From the back the badges do not look like much fun but this surface is just some adhesive which will be released once the badges is subjected to high temperature and pressure and eventually will make the badge stick.
The plastic version has now disappeared and the dimensions of the new badges slightly bigger.
Next major change comes in 2013 when a new type of plastic letters and numbers are introduced. PS Pro. At the same time a new material is introduced for the EPL badges: Pro S.
The Champs badges remain the same both designwise and when it comes to the material used. The Pro S badge is a bit different and has a different feel to it compared to the predecessor the Senscilia badge. To the left hand side the player’s size badge are displayed while to the right hand side you will see the replica size badges.
and then seen from the front. Player’s size to the left. Replica size to the left.
The current contract expires after the season 2015/16. No doubt that Sporting ID will also acquire the rights to produce the Premier League names and numbers and badges beyond that. The question is at what price ? The new EPL broadcasting deal has seen a 70% price increase over the previous deal which was already very expensive. Will the price for the name and number kits go the same way ? if so the bill to foot will surely be passed on to the fans through price increases. Another question is whether a new design will come out ? Though the 2013 change saw a new product material the design from 2007 was left unchanged. So maybe it is time for a design update ? Maybe a new material will be introduced ? for either letters, numbers or badges ?
Interestingly the Premier League is the only major league in Europe which has introduced a uniform name and number kit adopted by all clubs in the league. The French league might have a system where the LFP logo is used in the numbers but the font , style , and size varies from club to club. In Spain, Germany, Italy the only thing which is the same by all clubs is the league sleeve badge worn on the right arm sleeve. In the Premier League there is a badge to each sleeve the other leagues stick to just one league badge and on the right arm sleeve.
And in order not to bloat the size of the blog post if loaded on a mobile device with scarce bandwidth additional pics of the badges ordered as a timeline will follow in separate blog posts:
Click here to see more detailed photos of the EPL Champs badges 1992-2016!
Click here to see more detailed photos of the standard EPL badges 1992-2016!
The Spanish League the LFP tried to introduce a uniform name and number set for the entire league back in the season 2003/04 but since Real Madrid did not wish to participate. Opted out and struck a separate deal with Chris Kay the experiment only lasted one season and never had all La Liga club involved. This kind of symbolizes the difficulties in Spain or creating league wide unity and thus create a common framework for the greater good. TV broadcasting deals with revenue share is perhaps the most talked about example but the above example serves as an indication that it is not the only issue. It is essentially rather difficult for the Spanish clubs to reach some sort of league wide compromise and unity.
Premier League Sleeve Badges 1992/93 – 2015/16