Faced with the possibility of missing the European Championships in Austria and Switzerland, the English Football Association has already assessed the potential damage, which includes an immediate loss of $14 million for qualifying for the tournament. But the FA warns that that's small potatoes compared to the tens of millions it would cost in terms of the team's brand image.
England's has four chief sponsors that collectively pull in about $200 million for the FA: Umbro, Carlsberg, Nationwide and National Express. The latter two are set to renegotiate terms before the
2010 World Cup, and sources tell the Guardian that not qualifying for Euro 2008 could significantly erode the national team's "bankability" in their eyes. If England made a bad start to World Cup
2010 qualifying before the new sponsorships are sold, it could lead to a tremendous drop in revenue for the FA.
Not that the FA is going broke: Umbro, the national team's shirt sponsor,
has a contract that runs through 2014, worth a total of $400 million. Carlsberg has a nine-year agreement, although its sponsorship total was undisclosed. Meanwhile, FA executives insist the
organization wouldn't lose much by not qualifying: one spokesman said it might lose 3.5 percent of annual revenue.