Lucrative SPFL title sponsorship deal on the cards

By Sarad Bade Shrestha  |  December 30, 2014
Lucrative SPFL title sponsorship deal on the cards

Scottish Professional Football League’s search for a new sponsor to finally end.

A Dawn of a new era

The SPFL are closing in on a new title sponsor. The commercial director of a mobile gaming brand named Fruity King confirmed;

“I can confirm we’re in talks with Mr Keith Campbell – Head of Partnerships at the Scottish Professional Football League for the title sponsorship of the four Scottish leagues”

“It is an opportunity to position our brand as the focal point of the national game, and the most prestigious prize in Scotland.”

It is clear that Fruity King have a huge budget to spare and sources at Winner Sports can reveal that the Mobile Gaming Giants are “in discussions with a number of different bodies”.

The financial details of the potential agreement has not been disclosed as of yet but it is believed that SPFL will be in line to receive a lucrative long term deal.

When the Scottish Premier League and the Scottish Football League merged to form the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) back in June 2013, it was expected that such an initiative would strengthen Scottish football as a whole.

The move certainly did make a positive impact initially, as it averted the threatened breakaway from Division One clubs after the SPFL agreed to adopt a fairer financial distribution model – which helped the sides in the lower echelons of Scottish football receive a much needed cash injection.

 Neil DoncasterThe SPFL was expected to have a positive impact in Scottish football

While the merger may have helped avoid the creation of a rebel league, the SPFL faces a huge financial crisis of its own. Since the inauguration of the SPFL, they have been unable to find a financial backer while the Scottish top flight is also without a major sponsor after their contract with Clydesdale Bank expired at the end of the 2012/13 campaign.

After going the entire 2013/14 season without a sponsor, it was widely expected that the SPFL would finally be able to find a sponsor for the current campaign. However, much to the dismay of many fans, the organisation once again failed to find a suitable financial backer for the 2014/15 season.

The SPFL is currently associated with soft drink company Irn Bru and has struck a media rights deal with Chinese network PPLive TV but the absence of a title sponsor is hitting the organization hard financially.

On top of their inability to find new sponsors, the SPFL have been handed another huge blow this season due to the Scottish teams performing poorly in Europe, which in turn is set to hamper Scotland’s UEFA coefficient rankings for next season.

“Disgraceful”

Despite the debacle, SPFL secretary Iain Blair remained relaxed and had stated at the start of the season that the they are in no rush to strike a deal unless they find the ‘right’ sponsorship.

Blair had said back in August, “The way these things work, people tend to have longer-term plans for their budgeted spend for sponsorship. We only got to grips with it this time last year and although people think that’s an awful long time, with this kind of expenditure companies plan significantly in advance.

“Also, we want to get the right kind of sponsorship so it’s not just a case of getting someone at any price. It’s not simply a case of looking for someone who wants to publicise something – we want someone to partner with us. We need someone we’re comfortable working with.”

 Barry HearnBarry Hearn had branded the SPFL leadership as disgraceful

The lackadaisical attitude of the SPFL and the lack of urgency to secure a principal sponsor has certainly shocked many well wishers of the Scottish game and none more so than former Leyton Orient chairman and sports impresario Barry Hearn.

Hearn had recently launched a scathing attack at the culture of the leadership in the Scottish game and had branded them as being ‘lazy’ and ‘disgraceful’.

Heard said, “Look at Scottish football and see a nation with its head down looking at its shoelaces. When I started off with the darts and snooker we were way down – but we believed in ourselves and had a bit of a passion.

“Sometimes organisations get into that mode of “that’s how it is”. They are totally lazy and set in their ways. The fact you’ve got a Scottish Premiership without a sponsor. Do you know how long you’d work for Barry Hearn if that was the case?”

Reprieve

There could well be light at the end of the tunnel for the SPFL after all, as it can now be revealed that Mobile Gaming giants Fruity King are expressing an interest in becoming the official sponsors of the League.

Fruity King have been dominating headlines over the past few weeks after declaring their intent on making an entry into British football in an attempt to facilitate the growth of their brand and have expressed an interest in securing a record breaking kit sponsorship deal with the likes of Aston Villa, Leeds United and Celtic.

 Iian BlairIain Blair and SPFL to finally end their search for a new sponsor

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