London - Shirt sponsorship in Europe's top six leagues is now worth €830 million a year and is on course to top €1 billion within two seasons, according to a study released Wednesday.
The Repucom sports data firm said that English Premier League shirts are the most valuable -- overall deals haven risen from €244 million last season to €330 million in 2015/16.
Overall, shirt deals in England, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Spain have gone from EPL shirt sponsorship most lucrative in €736 million last season to €830 million in 2015/16.
"At its current rate of growth, we expect to see European football shirt sponsorship investment top €1 billion by the 2017/18 season, if not next season," said Jon Stainer, managing director, Repucom UK.
Manchester United signed a $600 million seven year deal with Chevrolet in 2012. Barcelona is reported to be negotiating with Qatar Airways to extend their deal with a similar amount.
Most of the cash to be featured on the front of shirts comes from countries operating outside of the target championship. The United Arab Emirates, with €163 million, is the leading foreign spender. Emirates airline sponsors Real Madrid for an estimated $40 million a year and Etihad airline has its name on Manchester City's.
Germany is the second highest spender across the six championships with €136 million followed by the United States with €87 million, mainly car firms, according to Repucom.
Gambling firms have also become major spenders, accounting for €42 million, the sixth biggest industry, up from 11th biggest.
"For brands, shirt sponsorship consistently returns the highest advertising values," said Stainer.
"The rise of betting companies across the leagues, for example, is something certainly worth noting, especially as we start to see markets like the Netherlands and Germany reduce the restrictions on betting sponsorship."
The travel and tourism industry is the biggest shirt investor on €199 millon in 2016/16, slightly down from €209 million last season.
After the English Premier League, the Bundesliga is the second biggest sponsor market with €168 million, up from €157 million last season.
Sponsorship in Spain's La Liga has dropped from €113 million to €105 this season, according to Repucom. But France's Ligue 1 has risen from €96 million to €103 million.
Italy's Serie A has fallen one million euros to €83 million, and the Netherlands' Eredivisie has fallen one million to €41 million.