Premiership abandons secondary sponsorship

The Premiership has handed pitch-side ad rights back to clubs, but this may harm smaller teams

The FA Premier League is to scrap its second-tier sponsorship system, handing back to clubs the right to arrange the bulk of their own perimeter advertising. The move has fuelled fears that smaller clubs could struggle without the revenue from the deal.

The Premiership launched the programme – which allowed brands to become associate partners paying &£2m to &£3m a year – four years ago.

The deal entitled the brands to about 55 per cent of perimeter advertising and some hospitality access at each of the 20 Premiership clubs This season, the sponsors include Nestlé’s Yorkie, npower and Siemens. However, from next season clubs will no longer have to accommodate these sponsors and will instead broker perimeter ad deals themselves.

The new arrangement does not affect Barclaycard’s three-year, &£48m lead sponsorship deal, which started this season. A deal with the British Tourist Authority will also run for an extra year. A deal with Sky Digital has two years to run.

One sponsorship manager says that the new plans have provoked “mixed feelings” among top-flight clubs. He says that his club will have “no problem” replacing the second-tier sponsors and adds that he will now be free to broker more lucrative deals. However, he warns that smaller clubs could find it difficult to maintain their revenue streams.

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