The Emirates FA Cup?
The Football Association have denied that a deal has been reached with Emirates Airlines to sponsor the FA Cup, but it is looking increasing likely. A mouth watering £30m over three seasons is on the table. The FA failed to find a sponsor this season after the expiry of a deal with Budweiser.
Up to now the FA has always preferred to use 'in association with' or 'sponsored by' in relation to its various FA Cup sponsors, others being Littlewoods, Axa and E.On. It is now proposed to have a direct naming rights deal as already applies to the Premier League and the Football League.
Emirates has been looking for new ways to invest in football beyond its relationship with Arsenal after it decided to end its commercial deals with Fifa, partly out of principle, partly because of reputational damage.
The FA insists that no agreement has been signed and that it remains in discussion with a number of parties. It is doubtful whether any of them can come up with such a good offer. The amount of money made available as a result for grass roots football should offset the concerns of traditionalists.