British Athletics Federation hunts new shirt sponsor as TSB pulls out

The TSB has pulled out of its deal with the British Athletics Federation (BAF), forcing the BAF to seek a replacement shirt sponsor.

The TSB has withdrawn because of its merger with Lloyds Bank, says the BAF.

Barry Snellgrove, commercial director of the athletics body, says it is now in talks with potential sponsors over a four-year deal, thought to be worth about 1m.

The contract will need to be signed before August 17, which is the British team’s first international challenge match this season.

Snellgrove says the BAF has so far signed 11m worth of event and kit sponsorship deals, stretching over the next three to four years.

The BAF signed a 4m four-year deal with Channel 4 to screen events, which will be fronted by former international runner Steve Cram.

Channel 4 also plans to launch a series of 12, hour-long Saturday morning magazine shows dedicated to the sport. The presenter for this programme has yet to be decided.

The relatively small TV deal reflects the sport’s drop in popularity since its Eighties’ heyday, when Steve Ovett, Steve Cram and Seb Coe dominated the headlines. The five-year TV deal was worth nearly 11m a decade ago.

In contrast, football’s Premier League signed a 743m deal with BSkyB and the BBC, while shirt deals with the big clubs are worth up to 1m a year.

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