Leeds United Football club has casts doubt on its relationship with Bulmers’ Strongbow brand, after it opened discussions with several companies about its shirt sponsorship.
The Premiership club is in the final year of a &£5m three-year deal with the beleaguered cider manufacturer. Leeds head of marketing Roy Gardner says the club is in “active and positive” discussions with Bulmers. “It has been a successful partnership in terms of the way the company has integrated us into its marketing.” But he adds that he has been meeting other companies in case Bulmers chooses not to renew.
This does not bode well for the continuation of the deal, as in most cases where brands are committed to continuing a shirt-sponsorship deal, the extension is arranged without a pitch.
Most clubs aim to have deals in place by April, to enable them to manufacture shirts in time for pre-season matches and before launching a marketing campaign.
Bulmers says it has not yet decided whether to renew the sponsorship. In December, after pursuing over-ambitions expansion plans, it reported interim losses of &£34m. In September, it parted company with its finance director and chief executive.