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  • Mitre June 17

Football League Pizza deal gets mixed response as search for main sponsor goes on

According to the Football League's press release yesterday, 'Fans of Football League club's can look forward to a season of fantastic matchday meals following the news that the UK’s number one pizza chain, Papa John’s, who are to become the Official Pizza Partner of The Football League.

The agreement represents the first UK sport sponsorship by the world’s third largest pizza chain.

And with more than 200 stores throughout the country, fans of clubs in the Championship, League One and League Two are set for a large slice of the action.

The Football League’s Chief Commercial Officer, Richard Heaselgrave, said: “This is a partnership that will be really popular with fans.

"Like our clubs, Papa John’s are located in towns and cities across the country and they will reach out to supporters with a range of promotions and tailor made offers.

“We’re delighted to be working with a growing brand that has a proven track record in sports sponsorship over in the US where it is a long-term partner of the NFL and a number of its teams.”

Papa John’s is the Official Pizza of the NFL and is the Official Pizza of half its 32 teams.

“We are excited to become the Official Pizza Partner of The Football League,” said John Schnatter, Papa John’s Founder, Chairman and CEO.

“Papa John’s is known around the world for quality, which extends from our pizza to our partners.

"Much like the NFL in the US, The Football League is a premier brand in the UK, and we are delighted to be associated with the league and its passionate fans.”

Andrew Gallagher, Papa John’s marketing director said: “We are absolutely delighted to become the Official Pizza Partner of the Championship, League One and League Two.

But, the deal masks a bigger problem for the league, one highlighted on many fans forums at the news.

Taken from a well know Bolton forum lionof­vi­en­na­su­ite.­com

'There is less than a month to go until the 2013/14 Championship season kicks off. For the last three years, fans got used to referring to the competition as the npower Championship, due to the previous sponsor's deal. That agreement has now run out and the Football League has not yet found anyone to take over the naming rights.

Three years ago, the Football League agreed a sponsorship deal with npower worth a reported £21 million (which is a very paltry sum compared to the £27.5 million that the Premier League receives from Barclays every year). That deal came to an end this summer and no replacement has been named as of yet. What the Football League has done instead is found an "Official Pizza Partner" for the new season in American chain Papa John's.

The bigger story in all of this is that the Football League still does not have an overarching sponsorship and thus a lack of funds that would trickle down to the clubs. The issue first came up in April with the league still looking for someone to take over npower's duties. At that point, the rumored favorite was Dominos Pizza, who had taken the lead from B&Q.

The season kicks off on the 3rd of August with Bolton Wanderers taking on Burnley at Turf Moor.'

Non league fans were quick off the mark also:

'A bit disturbing when still no main sponsor has been announced, not very proper is it. And people say non league is tinpot.'was a leading thread on the conference forum http://­forums.­fo­ot­bal­lweb­pa­ges.­co.­uk/­forum.­jsp?id=­228&­thread=24397

Preston fans also had a dig, with a number bemoaning the fact that the nearest outlet is 40 miles away in Liverpool.


In truth, the league need to deliver the bigger prize to impress the fans and deliver a league sponsor not a pizza.




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