Football League eyes new League Cup sponsor

Update: Carling’s 14-year sponsorship of the Football League cup could end next year after the governing body for Championship, League One and Two clubs said it want to talk to brands that match its international ambitions for the tournament.

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The exclusive negotiating period that Carling’s owner Molson Coors enjoys has ended without an agreement to extend the current three year deal.

The Football League wants to talk to brands with “global aspirations”, which it says the UK-centric Carling does not have – to take advantage of the competition’s increased exposure outside the UK.

Greg Clarke, chairman of the Football League, says it will see if it can “put a value on overseas interest”. TV deals mean that more than half of viewers for League Cup games will be from outside the UK in the “near term”, he adds.

It is believed the current three year deal with Molson Coors deal is worth about £20m.

The Football League is trying to bolster interest in its core properties – such as the Championship play-off final and the League Cup – among broadcasters and prospective commercial partners across the world. It has launched the road shows around the world to promote the competitions and boost income.

The Football League is keen to bolster income to fill the £23m hole left by its reduced television deal earlier this year.

Molson Coors is keen to stress that it will continue to focus on backing this year’s tournament. The beer brand recently launched a bid to broaden its appeal with new positioning, packaging and a sub-brand, to try and boost sales.

Chris McDonough, marketing director of Molson Coors, says: “Carling’s sponsorship of the League Cup has been extremely successful and helped to reinforce its status as the UK’s best-selling lager and one of the leading supporters of football in this country.”

Negotiations are expected to conclude in about two months.

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