Talks on League sponsor kick off

The Nationwide Building Society has opened negotiations to continue its sponsorship of the Football League.

An industry insider claims that the building society may have to pay up to £6m a year – double the amount of its current £6m two-year deal – in order to remain headline sponsors. Nationwide’s present sponsorship deal ends this summer.

Football League marketing director Brian Phillpotts says talks with other companies will start if Nationwide’s offer is unsatisfactory.

Phillpotts says: “We have started talks with Nationwide about renewing its sponsorship of the Football League.

“We are looking for a deal that will take into account the increased value of the brand on the market.”

A spokesman for Nationwide has confirmed talks are under way.

It has been reported that the Premier League is holding out for a £60m three-year deal to start at the beginning of the 2001/2 season. Bass-owned Carling is supposed to be making a £75m bid later this week to renew its existing £30m contract, which ends in May. The company is having to fight off rival bids from Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Siemens and Budweiser.

Nationwide has sponsored the Football League since the beginning of the 1996 season, when it signed a three-year deal worth £5.25m.

A further two-year deal was secured in 1999 at £3m a season. Nationwide is also the major sponsor of the England football team and the non-league Football Conference.

The present sponsorship deal includes the shared logo of the Nationwide Football League, which appears on match tickets, team shirts and on perimeter boards at all 72 league clubs in England and Wales.

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