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The Nameless FA Cup

By Matt Peden

26 January 2015

I’m torn when it comes to the FA Cup from a sponsorship perspective – I’m sure I’m not alone.

The title sponsorship with Budweiser ended last season are yet to announce a replacement sponsor, which surprises me. Especially when we come off the back of a weekend where the ‘Magic of the Cup’ lives stronger than ever. Bradford, Cambridge and Middlesbrough caused huge upsets in a weekend where there was more drama in the FA Cup than the West End!

When I say I’m torn, I’ve never really considered the FA Cup a sponsored event like the Barclays Premier League or the Capital One Cup. In my opinion, the FA Cup is up there with the Ashes, the Master’s and Wimbledon – events that don’t suit a title sponsorship as the tournament itself is a more valuable brand.

The history, tradition and popularity of the Cup should attract brands galore but it’s not the first time the Cup has suffered in finding a sponsor. However, the naming rights don’t give as much as the title would suggest. The competition will, rightly so, be always known as the FA Cup.

From 1994-2002, the FA Cup was sponsored by Littlewoods and AXA respectively. Between 2002-2006, there was no sponsor before energy giant E.ON put their name to the competition.

If it was me as the rightsholder, I would be looking for more partners from a lower level investment to utilise the cup for what’s it known for – the real fans. McDonalds, for example, do some great work in the community via their relationship with the FA, although they are not listed as a FA Cup partner.

According to a piece in the Telegraph, the FA have all but given up on finding a sponsor for this season. It will be interesting to see what happens with the world’s most famous cup competition, but what we will continue to see is upsets, drama and giant-killings – as a fan, do we want anymore?