Coke and Football League end sponsorship deal

The Football League is searching for a new title sponsor after negotiations with Coca-Cola broke down.

The soft drinks giant says it will end its current agreement, believed to have been worth about £6m a season, at the end of the current campaign.

It is understood that the two sides failed to reach agreement on an extension during the period of exclusive negotiations that ended Monday (30 September).

The Football League is believed to have wanted more money in the wake of this season’s new television deal, which added 10 live matches on the BBC and a weekly highlights show to BSkyB’s existing coverage.

The two are also understood to have failed to reach agreement on the structure of the deal and the package.

Stewart Thomson, commercial director of the Football League, told Marketing Week that the two “couldn’t get to a position where we were both in the same place”.

He says it will follow up a number of “unsolicited” approaches and will contact companies who have previously expressed an interest in partnerships, adding it is not looking at any particular sector for a title sponsor.

In a statement, Coke says that despite the end of its title sponsorship “both parties are committed to continuing discussions about an ongoing commercial partnership”.

Coke has been title sponsor of the entire Football League – The Championship and League One and Two – since 2004.

The company stresses it will continue to “invest in football at all levels”.

The soft drinks firm has a sponsorship deal with England and Manchester United star Wayne Rooney, Wembley Stadium and the UEFA European Championships.

It recently unveiled its marketing plans for the 2010 FIFA Word Cup in South Africa.

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