Middlesbrough FC settles Sportacus dispute

Middlesbrough Football Club has settled out of court with sports marketing agency Sportacus over a disputed “introduction fee” for the club’s shirt sponsorship deal with Dial-a-Phone.

Dial-a-Phone signed a three-year deal, worth about &£2m, to become the Premiership club’s shirt sponsor (MW July 11). At the deal’s announcement, both the club and the Internet mobile phone retailer credited IMG with negotiating the deal and made no reference to the involvement of Sportacus.

However, Sportacus claims it introduced the club to Dial-a-Phone and has been pursuing its fee since the contract was signed.

Sportacus managing director Stephen Pearson says that the matter was concluded in his favour last week. Pearson, a former commercial director of the FA Premier League, says: “A great deal of hard work goes into securing football club sponsorship, in what has been a very tough market.

“It’s a shame that legal steps were necessary to receive the contracted remuneration from the club. I now consider the matter dealt with.”

Dial-a-phone joint chief executive Jonathon Beck says he is “surprised” that Sportacus had negotiated a fee with the club: “In my opinion, there is no way Stephen Pearson introduced Middlesbrough to Dial-a-Phone.”

Middlesbrough commercial manager Graham Fordy adds: “Sportacus was working on the club’s behalf, but the deal was delivered to us by IMG. The matter is closed.”

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Tom Fishburne is founder of Marketoon Studios. Follow his work at marketoonist.com or on Twitter @tomfishburne See more of the Marketoonist here

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