Jan 25, 2012 at 04:40 PM
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Why One League Passed On $1.5M To Give Away Its Title Sponsorship For Free

When your last title sponsor was paying in excess of $1.5 million a year, replacing them with a title sponsor that commits no cash may seem like a dubious move at best. That is, unless you consider the extra value that having that title sponsor adds to your other deals. That's the line of thought in the Rugby Football League's (RFL) latest three year title sponsorship deal.

In exchange for a no cash deal, European logistics company, Stobart Group, has committed to putting the newly-designed Stobart Super League artwork on 100 trailers of the company’s famous red and green trucks. Since a Stobart vehicle is passed, on average, every 4.5 minutes when driving on the UK’s major roads, league officials believe that this extra exposure will raise the value of its other commercial deals, ultimately making up for the extra revenue it would have gotten under normal circumstances.

“The Super League clubs turned down other offers and took a strategic view that the brand values of Stobart are closely matched to those of Rugby League," said Super League Chairman Richard Lewis. “The Super League clubs are excited by the multi-layered sponsorship that services the game and the competition on a number of levels in a way never seen before.”

“Eddie Stobart has become a Superbrand due to the public exposure of our 2,250 trucks, driving millions of miles each week," Stobart Chief Executive Andrew Tinkler said. “Now we can help build the Super League brand and promote Rugby League and its brilliant clubs through the exposure our fleet and Superbrand status offers.”

The deal, which may seem odd at first glance, could turn out to be a winner if it meets the league's expectation. The Guardian reports that the league could generate nearly $4 million in marketing value each year.

"We had lots of interest and there was more than one offer on the table but, without a shadow of doubt, the offer from Stobart was one the RFL and the clubs themselves thought was too good to turn down." RFL chief executive Nigel Wood said. "It's a positive, progressive partnership which will move the sport forward. This is a fantastic deal for the sport.