The sponsorship of the Football League has been thrown wide open, after Nationwide Building Society failed to reach an agreement before its exclusive negotiation period ran out on March 8.
A three-year sponsorship period starts in the summer and will cost at least &£10m, some reports even suggest the figure could be as much as &£6m a year.
A Football League spokesman declined to name potential bidders but adds: “We are aware there is a lot of interest from other companies which want to sponsor the Football League. The door is open for them.”
A spokesman for Nationwide adds: “Negotiations are continuing. We are hopeful of an agreement.”
Nationwide has sponsored the Football League since the beginning of the 1996-97 season, when it signed a three-year deal worth &£5.25m. A further two-year deal worth &£3m a season was signed in 1999.
Nationwide is also a sponsor of the England Football team and the Football Conference.
The deal includes the logo of the Nationwide Football League which appears on match tickets, team shirts and perimeter boards at all 72 league clubs in England and Wales.
Nationwide is the country’s largest mutual building society. In September it appointed PR agency Band & Brown to its football sponsorship portfolio. Band & Brown was asked to raise the profile of the building society’s backing for the English and Welsh football teams as well as the Football League.