Aug 05, 2011 at 11:25 AM
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Birmingham City Ditches Match-by-Match Sponsorship Scheme

Only a week after announcing it would give brands the opportunity to test the water into shirt sponsorship by offering placement on a match-by-match basis, it seems Birmingham City F.C. has found a company willing to jump in head first. The team says it has now cut a one year deal with foreign exchange and money transfer company, RationalFX, after initially pitching the company on a match-by-match sponsorship.

Less than 10 days ago, the Blues commercial manager Ian Dutton, explained the reasoning behind the match-by-match sponsorship strategy.

"We didn't want to devalue that by accepting an offer that wasn't suitable so after some careful consideration we opted to bring a new and unique approach to Birmingham City," Dutton said at the time. "This will give brands the opportunity to test the water into shirt sponsorship rather than taking a leap of faith by taking the full season."

In a quick reversal, a press release from yesterday reads "it was quickly realised that it was to the benefit of both companies to sign an initial one-year deal that has the scope for possible further extension."

From a merchandising perspective, the deal comes just in time as the team's home kits go on sale August 11th, though RationalFX jerseys won't be available until August 18th.

"RationalFX has just passed one billion pounds of Foreign Exchange, and we have also just launched a new online money transfer service - Xendpay," RationalFX Chairman and CEO Rajesh Agrawal explained. "So we feel that this is a perfect time to associate ourselves with a big club with silverware in the trophy cabinet and European football to look forward to!"

Though the deal is short in comparison to most jersey sponsorships and terms of the deal were not released, it seems Birmingham City's plan may have worked given their circumstances. While teams may give up some negotiating leverage with a tactic like this, a bottom up, create a mile wide sales funnel approach to sponsorship can informally open the door to conversations that might not have ever happened under traditional circumstances. In these times, that's a good thing. Getting a foot in the door with a wider pool of prospective partners can only provide a more fluid exchange of information, which in this case may have been used in the successful upsell.