As Stobart Deal Collapses, RFL 'Confident' In Super League Sponsors
The Rugby Football League has "already received expressions of interest" in taking over the sponsorship of the Super League next season, according to Andy Wilson of the London GUARDIAN. The interest comes after the RFL agreed with trucking company Stobart to write off the existing three-year agreement "as a disastrous mistake." The deal with Stobart was "controversial from the start as it did not involve any cash," with the 14 Super League clubs split and only the strong backing of RFL Chair Richard Lewis persuading a small majority of them to vote for it ahead of the alternative offer from Betfair. With Lewis now gone and the "growing discontent at Stobart's lack of visibility as sponsors left little or no enthusiasm for keeping the fleet of several dozen trucks that have been advertising the Super League competition and its clubs on the road." Significantly for the RFL and the Super League, the early signs are that "the damage done by giving away the naming rights to the flagship competition for free can be contained." The long-term sponsorship of the Challenge Cup by Leeds Metropolitan University under its Carnegie brand "also expires this year." Super League Commercial Dir James Mercer confirmed that "initial discussions have already begun over securing new backers for both competitions" (GUARDIAN, 7/31).