Ladbrokes deal worth less than £47,000 per year for SPFL clubs


Glory, glory to Neil Doncaster. He has finally sold the sponsorship rights of the SPFL after three seasons of trying. However, despite all the PR rhetoric on how it is a great deal for Scottish football in my opinion the deal is chump change.

Bookmakers Ladbrokes, who will be the new title sponsors of the SPFL, have played a blinder here and fair play to them. They have secured a deal to sponsor all four senior leagues for £2 million per year – in a two year deal [although some media reports claim it is £2 million over a two year period].

If indeed it is £2 million per year then it equates to £47,000 per year for each SPFL club – although that is not taking into account the SPFL taking their cut and bonus payment to the chief executive.

Is the sponsorship funds distributed equally or do the top flight clubs get more in their pocket? Either way that deal is worth nearly as much as a two week salary of some players plying their trade at Celtic.

Yes it is great that a sponsor has finally been found after three seasons of Doncaster failing to do his job, but why should we be celebrating a deal that is worth less than what the Clydesdale Bank sponsored the Scottish Premier League alone for?

According to STV Sport, Clydesdale Bank’s ‘original deal [with the SPL]was worth £8 million per season to the SPL, with no figure given upon the contract’s extension in 2010’. Although BBC claims that the deal was worth £8 million over the four year deal. Who are we to believe? Well the SPFL site stated it was worth up to £8 million.

While the Scottish Football League was sponsored by Irn Bru for £3 million over three years.

Going by the STV figures – £9 million per season to sponsor all four senior leagues in Scottish football previously, yet now it is worth only £2 million per season? Can you say that is a great deal?

Even going with the BBC figures of £8 million over four years that works out at £2 million per year for just the top tier league. The same amount Ladbrokes now sponsor all of the senior leagues.

Has Neil Doncaster short changed Scottish football once more. Not only is he pulling in a wage that he should be embarrassed about [£200,000 per year] given his incompetence in the role over the years, he failed to deliver a sponsor for over three seasons, all the while peddling negative comments about the Scottish game and then he lauded his deal signed with sponsors QTS for the semi finals and final of the League Cup – worth a jaw dropping £100,000 for three games including the Glasgow derby between Celtic and Rangers.

If you are to believe the SPFL’s PR rhetoric, they claim that the deal is ‘the biggest ever of its kind in Scottish football’ – really? Sorry lads by I smell shite!


Lets make way now for a word from Doncaster announcing the deal this morning, he said: “We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Ladbrokes to the SPFL’s growing family of key sponsors and partners and look forward to working with them from season 2015/16 at this truly exciting time for Scottish football.

“As an established and respected leading brand in its very competitive marketplace, Ladbrokes is a perfect partner for the SPFL and we have a shared vision of a positive future for professional league football in Scotland. Ladbrokes’ backing of Scottish football is hugely valued and appreciated and I say that not only on behalf of the SPFL but also for all 42 member clubs.

“Today’s announcement is the result of significant investment of energy and effort and further strengthens our optimism about the future health of the game in Scotland.

“With all that positivity comes an opportunity to tell the story of a modern, engaging and exciting Scottish football environment and we look forward to doing just that with all our partners including new title sponsor Ladbrokes.”

Scotzine was sent information in 2014 which alleged Doncaster’s bonus scheme, would see the chief executive secure a payment of £40,000 if any League title sponsorship contract was worth between £1.5 million and £2 million; or a bonus of £60,000 was paid for a sponsorship deal over £2 million.

A cool 30% of his annual salary he will receive for finally doing his job – surely he should have been deducted 30% of his salary for every season he failed to find a sponsor? Aye that is just crazy thinking – he should have been sacked for failing to do his job.

You can take Doncaster’s bonus out of the money that the clubs will receive then.

This article is no slight on Ladbrokes as they are a business and as I said before have played a blinder in getting a superb deal for their money.

Ladbrokes’ Chief Executive Officer, Jim Mullen, said: “We love football so we are delighted to be working with the SPFL on one of the best opportunities in British sport.

“This partnership will help to propel Ladbrokes and the SPFL to new heights and will put us at the heart of Scottish football throughout the year. Getting people engaged with great sport and making sure they share our passion is at the very core of everything we are about.

“Our customers support clubs at every level of Scottish football from the professional leagues that we sponsor to the local Sunday League stalwarts. The Scottish game deserves a committed supporter and our financial backing will help to ensure every level of the game benefits from Ladbrokes’ involvement.”

Glasgow-born Mullen is paid an annual salary of £500,000 by Ladbrokes plus a an annual bonus of up to 170% of his salary – around £850,000. This is before you take into account the shares he receives and allowances.

Taking all of that into account it means the Ladbrokes CEO is paid more than what the company are paying the SPFL to sponsor all four leagues each year.As I said Ladbrokes have played a blinder.

What a great deal Neil take a bow as you cash in your £60,000 bonus – more than what the clubs will receive this coming season from this deal – but lets not forgot it is money they didn’t have in the first place.

Thanks Neil.


About Author


Andy Muirhead is the Editor of Scotzine and the Scottish Football fanzine FITBA. He is the Scottish Football columnist for The Morning Star and has written for a number of other publications including ESPN, Huffington Post UK, BT Life's a Pitch and has had his work featured in the Daily Record, The Scotsman and the Daily Mail.

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