The re-formed Ibrox club was kicked out of Scotland’s top competition earlier this week (4 July) because of its financial problems. The club will now have to apply to play in the Scottish Football League, however it is not clear what division they will play in.
Despite the uncertainty, shirt sponsor Tennent’s, which also sponsors city rivals Celtic, says it is looking to continue its “long standing” relationship with the club and has initiated discussions to talk through the possibility of a new deal.
In a statement the lager brand said: “Tennent’s is a long standing investor in, and supporter of, Scottish football, most recently as Rangers’ shirt sponsor. We continue to monitor the situation closely and have initiated discussions with the owners of The Rangers Football Club with a view to continuing Tennent’s involvement with the club.”
Any renegotiated deals, however, are likely to be for less because of the diminished exposure commercial partners will receive as a result of not being in the top flight.
Increased media interest in the progress of the newly-formed club could provide an interesting narrative for brand activation activity.
Rupert Pratt, managing director of Generate Sponsorship, says while the club’s sponsors will not be getting the same commercial returns its brand value may encourage them to stay loyal in the short term.
He adds: “If I’m a sponsor I might take a three year view and say that if [the club] win every league every year and they are back in the premiership within that time then it might be worth it loyalty prospective sticking around, especially since I’m not going to be paying the same amount of money.
“The real challenge for sponsors is deciding how long do we stick around for but also its not just about the rights fee its about the investment and the activation around it.”
Coca-Cola, which signed a two-year deal with its sport drink Powerade to be the 54 times SPL champions official soft drink in December, says it will continue its relationship with “Rangers FC” but declined to comment on its future with the new club.
“Our partnership with Rangers FC continues. As a company we do not play a role in, nor comment on, the management or future of any organisation we have such agreements with”, it said in a statement.
Rangers FC entered in administration in February after accruing up to £134m in debts. The club was liquidated and has been replaced by a new company run by chairman Charles Green.
The exile of Rangers, a huge source of TV and sponsorship revenue for the SPL, could impact on the country’s other clubs given its Old Firm matches are huge contributor’s to the SPL’s commercial earnings. However, the clubs’ rejection of Green’s application came after the Scottish FA said that it would not sanction the inclusion of the newly formed Rangers club next season.