Everton Football Club is searching for a shirt sponsor following the withdrawal of Chinese mobile phone manufacturer Kejian from contract renewal negotiations.
Kejian was a surprise sponsor for Everton when the state-owned phone maker signed up to a &£1m-a-year deal in 2002, as the company does not compete in the UK market (MW August 1, 2002). The deal included the loan of a Chinese player, and was aimed primarily at the 93 million people who watch the Premiership in China every week.
One industry source says the club will find a shirt sponsor at any cost rather than risk starting next season with a blank shirt. It would not be the first time Everton has had to play without a sponsor as, prior to Kejian, the club’s sponsorship deal with One 2 One was cancelled prematurely following its rebranding as T-Mobile in 2002.
Everton faces competition to find a shirt sponsor, with Aston Villa already in the market for a replacement for MG Rover (MW December 11, 2003).