Fulham Football Club is believed to be in dispute with its club sponsor, Pizza Hut, over extending its one-year deal. The restaurant chain is thought to want to pay considerably less than the asking price.
As Marketing Week went to press, the club and the pizza chain had yet to announce whether the deal had been extended, and both parties were unavailable for comment.
The &£2m deal ran from the start of the current season, following the club’s promotion to the Premiership. However, the club is now battling relegation – it is 16th in a division of 20, with four games to play.
It is understood that Fulham – which is using IMG to broker the deal – values the sponsorship at &£1.5m. Pizza Hut is said to want to pay no more than &£750,000. IMG is also selling naming rights for the club’s new stadium, to be built on the site of its ageing Craven Cottage ground.
The sponsorship market for football has softened considerably. Arsenal, which originally touted its shirt sponsorship for &£7m a year, is now said to be close to signing a cut-price deal with mmO2 (MW March 7).
One sports marketing source comments: “This is a reflection of how tough the market is. IMG would have liked to have cleared this up a while ago.”