Football League brings in commercial and marketing leads to lift sponsorship income

The Football League has hired its first marketing director and ended its long search for a new commercial director as it steps up efforts to generate more income from sponsorship in the Championship, League One and Two.

Skybet, football league sponsor

Skybet is the title sponsor of the Football League

Drew Barrand, a former Marketing Week journalist, joins from sports marketing agency Pitch where as associate director he is credited for delivering campaigns for FIFA and Football Association sponsor Carlsberg.

It is thought Barrand is the League’s first marketing director. David Malkinson as head of strategic marketing and partnership had been the most senior marketer but left in July last year.

Meanwhile, Ben Wright has been appointed commercial director. Wright joins from Spurs, where he was head of commercial and is a former sponsorship manager at the FA and brand manager at Carlsberg.

The commercial director role has been vacant since Richard Heaselgrave left to join Tennis Australia as commercial director in January.

In a statement, Football League chief executive Sean Harvey said the appointments “complete the restructuring of the commercial operation”. Calls and emails to the Football League for clarification as to the nature of the restructure were not returned before this article was published.

However, a report in the Daily Mail earlier this month claimed that nine members of the League’s team had been axed, a consequence of the slow rate of acquisition of new sponsors.

The Football League has a modest sized roster of commercial partners considering the access sponsors have to the millions of fans that attend games and watch on TV worldwide. Six partners are spread across the League’s three assets – The Football League three tournaments (title sponsor Sky Bet, match ball provider Mitre and Official licensees EA Sport and Sega), League Cup (Capital One). Football League Trophy (Johnston’s Paint).

By contrast, the Premier League has four official partners for just one league.

The contrast is even starker when you consider Sky Bet is said to being paying £6m a season, a deal that was finally secured at the 11th hour less than a month before the start of the 2013/14 campaign following a failed bid to sign B&Q at a higher price, compared with the £40m a season Barclays is thought to be paying the Premier League.

Harvey adds in the statement: “We have an important period ahead of us and the appointments of Drew and Ben complete a restructuring of our commercial operation that will enable us to meet the challenges of the future so that we can generate greater levels of income for our clubs.”

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