Sky Sports this week announced a new deal to screen both Scottish Premier League matches and several SFL matches featuring five games with Rangers, thought to be worth around £60m, while ESPN has also agreed to screen 30 Clydesdale Bank Premier League games and 10 Rangers games, including three from Ibrox.
Last weekend saw the newly formed The Rangers Football Club, take to the field for the first time against Brechin in the first round of the Ramsden’s Cup, leading to a 2-1 victory after extra time. The game drew an attendance of 4,123 (a very good crowd for most teams in Scotland, let alone one playing in the fourth tier of Scottish football.)
The game is also thought to be the highest watched programme in the history of BBC Alba.
But now, with the new football season just over a week to go until the new season kicks off, AG Barr’s soft drink brand IRN-BRU has seemingly won a golden watch, having been sponsors of the lower leagues in Scotland for the last five seasons.
In 2010, the brand signed a three-year-extension to sponsor the three leagues, reportedly worth £3m. The fcat that Rangers have ended up in the SFL looks certain to entice Irn Bru to look beyond 2013.
Meanwhile, the sponsor is likely to having its branding spotted by an international TV audience from fans of the Ibrox club, and be in front of a potential home crowd of around 50,000.
An interesting fact about IRN-BRU is that it is the only soft drink brand to outsell Coca-Cola in a single country (Scotland, of course). It spends a lot less on advertising, but in the last thirty-or-so years, has become an integral part of the country’s culture. That it chose to tie-up with another aspect of that culture - Football - shows very good judgement indeed.
The Rangers factor will give the SFL more bargaining power when it looks at potential sponsors, but New Rangers also look set to do better than they might have expected from the media deals announced in the past week. Whilst their TV exposure may be less than before it will still give them pulling power way beyond any other side in the SFL as they look to rebuild their commercial platform.
All sponsors like success and with Rangers almost guaranteed three back-to-back promotions the New Rangers brand has plenty of selling points.