It has emerged that Mike Ashley and his people have been in ‘lengthy talks’ with the FA.
Vauxhall are giving up their sponsorship as England team sponsors after the World Cup finals in Russia and the Newcastle United owner wants his Sports Direct branding to take over.
For various reasons it looks set to not go ahead.
The Mail revealing that Nike were worried that Mike Ashley would then have Sports Direct dictating the pricing policy of replica kit.
The newspaper adding that the FA would also prefer a ‘blue-chip company’ to partner with.
Yet another concern according to The Mail was having such a ‘controversial’ figure as Mike Ashley associated with them.
Finally, it is also claimed that having Ashley/Sports Direct involved would have gone down badly with England supporters.
The current Vauxhall deal sees the car manufacturer paying a reported £6m per season in their four year deal, having taken over from previous sponsors Nationwide, who paid £5m per year for the privilege.
When asked about turning down a deal involving Mike Ashley, an FA spokeswoman responded: ‘We never comment on commercial deals.’
It isn’t hard to see why Ashley would have been so interested in this deal, as Sports Direct are already the biggest retailer of England replica kit.
Having that greater association and exposure, as well as potentially more power when it comes to the retailing of the kit, would have most definitely appealed to him.
Sports Direct have a minimal spend on advertising compared to their turnover and of course Newcastle United play a key part in that.
Mike Ashley arranging for the football club to give completely free promotion/exposure to Sports Direct and other brands.
Not just on matchdays through advertising around St James Park – but every press conference carries the SD branding, as well as all training ground footage and whenever a player is signed. Plus the club website and everything else has SD branding.
Maybe Mike Ashley will now have Sports Direct pay the £6m or so per year that was set to go to the FA, into Newcastle United instead…
In April 2016, it was announced by Newcastle United that Sports Direct were going to start and pay a market rate for all the advertising and promotion that had previously been free, only for nothing more to be said and SD continuing to reap the benefits at NUFC’s expense.