FA hunts 60m sponsors

The Football Association is in talks with a number of companies over a new sponsorship package, worth 60m over the next four years. It is the most expensive sponsorship in the UK to date.

The package, called Football Associates, runs from this summer to the World Cup of 2002 in Japan and Korea and combines all the major FA properties, such as the England team, the FA Cup, and the Charity Shield. It also includes grass roots ventures such as the FA Vase, women’s football, and a youth skills improvement scheme called The Charter For Quality.

The package guarantees TV break bumpers for a range of matches including for the first time England internationals, and media benefits such as three perimeter boards per sponsor at each FA match.

FA commercial director Phillip Carling says: “The idea is to get money flowing into the game at all levels.”

Football Associates, which will involve ten sponsors, is designed to simplify the FA’s sponsorship structure. At present this is split between a package called Team England, incorporating seven sponsors based around the sponsorship of the England team, and Total Football, which is an eight-strong group linked to existing FA properties.

The companies involved in these programmes include Coca-Cola, Mars, Carlsberg, and Littlewoods, although there are some such as Carlsberg which are in both.

These deals, along with the separate England kit deal, come to an end after the World Cup this summer. Football Associates will run from August 1998 until after the Korea/Japan World Cup in 2002. Depending on the level of involvement, the cost of each sponsorship ranges from 5m to 10m.

One sponsorship consultant comments: “This deal mirrors what the Champions League has done in recent years. It creates a hierarchy of major sponsors which the FA hope will sign again next time around.”

Carling would not comment on which companies he was talking to.

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