Premiership football club Middlesbrough is hunting for a shirt sponsor following the end of its £1m-a-year sponsorship deal with Dial-a-Phone.
Industry sources say that Middlesbrough, ninth in the Premiership, is eager to sign a deal before the summer so that its replica kits will be ready for sale before the start of next season.
The club’s previous three-year deal with Dial-a-Phone was marred by a dispute over who secured the deal (MW July 11, 2002). Sports marketing agency IMG brokered the deal, but rival Sportacus claimed that it had secured the introduction. The matter was eventually settled in Sportacus’s favour.
Prior to Dial-a-Phone, the club was without a shirt sponsor for some time after previous partner BT Cellnet axed its deal when it began trading under its new name, O2, which now sponsors Arsenal.
Other top clubs are competing for sponsors. Everton launched a search last month after Chinese mobile phone manufacturer Kejian withdrew from negotiations (MW March 23) and Aston Villa is also looking for a sponsor (MW December 11, 2003).