The 2023/24 Premier League season will see the triumphant return to the top level of English football for the historic Luton Town FC.
The last time the club played in the top tier was the 1980s, prior to the Premier League rebranding and the money that eventually came with it, so it’s fair to say that the top level now looks very different.
So, what can the players and fans of the Hatters look forward to in the upcoming season?
Money, Money, and More Money
Younger football fans may not be aware of how the Premier League started, but essentially the top clubs in the country wanted a way to make more money independently, from things like TV rights and sponsorships. Nowadays, even the lowest-finishing team in the Premier League can expect to bring in over £100 million in the season, which would certainly be a step up for a team that’s only twice ever spent more than £1 million on a player.
For the time being, Luton would be expected to maintain their current squad but if they want to compete properly in the Premier League, they will need to heavily invest for future seasons. There are already plans in motion for a stadium upgrade, so they’ll soon be ready on that front at least.
Currently, Luton has their main shirt sponsors as energy company Utilita and vehicle specialists Star Platforms, although apart from sponsors for the back of the shirts, that’s about it. Premier League clubs often sell sponsor space on shirts for the sleeves as well, and being in the top league will certainly open the door to offers.
One of the more common industries for sponsorship in all English leagues has been casinos and betting. To take one example, Watford FC just signed a sponsorship deal with casino MrQ for their 2023/24 campaign, which will see the brand appear around the stadium and on shirts with Watford players likely to form part of the site’s slots promotions over the next few years. Though the Premier League will ban betting sponsors on the front of shirts from the 2025/26 season, clubs like Aston Villa are still, somewhat controversially, opting for this route until then.
If Luton can find a local partner like that then they could look to maximizing the revenue they make from the season, even in the worst-case scenario of going back down again.
Playing in front of 10,000 spectators is one thing. Knowing that you’re playing in front of 2 million is something else, and that’s not even including the American viewing numbers. The vast majority of Luton’s players will be facing this for the first time and despite the fact that they are all professionals, the jump will almost certainly rattle the nerves a little.
Unfortunately, there’s not much that can be done to prepare for this besides some psychological prep work, and in the case of newly-promoted teams, it’s often a major factor in whether they get sent immediately back down again.
Luton does have one little bonus to help them compared to other teams, however. Their story of dropping from the top to the bottom and climbing back up is an inspiring one, and even opposition fans may be more welcoming of them than others. The Brits love an underdog story, after all.