Fire service fails to win sponsorship

The London Fire Brigade (LFB) has failed to secure a sponsor for its engines two years after it began looking to make up part of its &£10m yearly budget shortfall.

It blames competition from the Millennium Dome for the lack of interest.

However, one sponsorship broker claims that he has two interested clients prepared to sponsor the fire engines, and that one of them is now so exasperated with delays over a decision it may withdraw its offer.

Database Publishing sponsorship broker Murray Stott says: “This pitch has been run so diabolically it is heading for the courts if we don’t get quick results.”

The London Fire and Civil Defence Authority, which is responsible for the LFB, advertised in Marketing Week on July 17 1997, inviting “tenders for a consultancy assignment to secure sponsorship” across a “wide range of the authority’s assets and functions”.

The Central Office of Information (COI) was hired to find a sponsor, but failed during its nine-month contract. A COI spokesman says responsibility for the tender was then brought back inhouse.

LFB head of public relations Gordon White comments: “We have been up against some stiff competition, for example, from the Millennium Dome.

“A lot of sponsorship money has gone in other directions. I don’t think we could have done any more than we have.”

He insists the brigade has reached an advanced stage, with more than one potential sponsor, and says it hopes to finalise a deal by September or October.

White says 200 companies have been approached, with the aim of securing a three-year package worth about &£1m.

The LFB has 6,000 firefighters and 300 vehicles, which could carry the logo of a corporate sponsor.

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