London Eye considers short-term sponsor to plug gap left by BA

Merlin Entertainments, owner of the London Eye, is seeking short-term sponsors for the attraction, while it considers approaches for a new long-term partnership.

The London Eye Company (TLEC) is parting company with long-term sponsor British Airways in February, as exclusively revealed by Marketing Week last week.

Merlin claims that it has been “inundated” with calls from interested companies. Virgin Atlantic has already declared it is keen to take over from BA.

The attractions operator, which also owns Tussauds Group, is not looking for a new long-term partnership to start before the end of 2008, to give the new long-term sponsor “a fair run-up to the Olympics and beyond”.

It says that it has already received interest from brands and companies looking for short-term tactical links during 2008. Merlin says it is looking at these opportunities “very seriously”.

Merlin has been the owner of the London Eye since its acquisition of the Tussauds Group in May last year. It is aiming to develop a clear marketing platform for the Eye and has been reviewing the potential for further development both in the UK and internationally.

The group has appointed Sports Marketing and Management Group to handle the negotiations for the sponsorship following a pitch. The Australia-based agency is handling the business through its London office.

Meanwhile, bookmaker Paddy Power is accepting bets on who will be the Eye’s next partner, making O2 joint-favourites at 8/1 with the London Olympics 2012. Virgin is at 10/1 along with Adidas and Vodafone. Outsiders include Specsavers at 50/1 and Facebook at 100/1.

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