LONDON: The English Football League has ended its search for a new main partner after online bookmaker Sky Bet, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the League’s broadcast partner BSkyB, agreed a five-year deal to become its new title sponsor.
The agreement will take effect from the forthcoming 2013-14 season and run through to the end of the 2017-18 campaign
The Football League has been seeking a new main partner after energy company Npower’s three-year lead sponsorship deal expired at the end of the 2012-13 season.
Under the agreement, the Football League’s flagship competition will be titled ‘The Sky Bet Football League’. Greg Clarke, chairman of the Football League, said: “This agreement takes our long-term partnership with Sky to a new level and provides a genuine boost to clubs ahead of the new season.”
This may mean that Sky’s main rival for Premier League coverage, BT Sport, will be contractually bound to mention ‘Sky’ every time one of its commentators talks about the lower divisions.
The deal represents Sky Bet’s first ever off-screen football sponsorship and is aimed at building greater awareness of the company’s growing range of online and mobile betting services.
Richard Flint, managing director of Sky Bet, said: “This is a ground-breaking partnership for Sky Bet. Sponsorship of the Football League helps us engage with millions of football fans spanning all 72 league clubs. It was important for us that we are able to demonstrate our commitment to all Football League clubs and fans nationwide.
“The strength of our technology supported by a trusted brand that is part of the fabric of football means we’re ideally placed to add to the match-day experience of fans.”
In addition to title sponsorship of the Football League’s three divisions, Sky will also use its partnership with the Football League to explore opportunities to offer customers exclusive access to competitions and promotional offers, including access to match tickets.
In a separate agreement, also announced on Thursday, the Football League and Sky Sports have signed a new three year broadcasting rights agreement. The new agreement will begin in 2015-16 following the conclusion of the final two seasons of the current three-year deal
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