West Brom Albion chairman Jeremy Peace has not given up hope to find a football shirt sponsor despite the huge popularity of the sponsor-free shirts.
West Brom players have worn sponsor-free shirts this season after failing to secure a deal to replace T-Mobile, whose 4-year deal was terminated at the end of last season.
Since then, LDV, Ladbrokes and Kia have held talks with the club, but no-one has yet matched Albion’s valuation.
West Brom Albion is willing to run with a sponsor-free kit, as shirt sales are ahead of target since the new Umbro 08/09 home-and-away kits were launched. Peace would, ideally, like to reach an agreement with a multi-national company.
“We need the right match and I’m quite happy to stand back and not have a sponsor,” the chairman told the Birmingham Mail.
“We are in a strong financial position, which means we can pick and choose.
“The current economic climate won’t help either – people will have generally budgeted for their spending.
“But also, if the right company came along, then we wouldn’t rule it out.“We’ve got ongoing discussions but it’s whether they come to fruition.
“If it doesn’t happen this year then fine. We’ll go with someone next year.
“Shirt sales are ahead of target which, given the current climate, is extremely good. They are collectors’ items.
“When you sell a sponsorship package they demand hospitality and ad boardings yet we’ve sold that out already. Anecdotally the fans appreciate the shirt.”
Football shirt sponsorship rates varies between £400,000 a year for Championship or lower-end Premier League clubs, up to the reported £12million Manchester United get from their sponsor AIG.
“We took a conscious decision, back in the summer, that the sponsorship of a Premier League club had access to about 600 million people worldwide,” added Peace.
“There’s a price at which we’ll do a deal and a price at which we won’t.
‘‘I feel very strongly about that.
“We had a number of companies who came to us who could pay a certain price, but not an international price.
“What we don’t want is a more localised partner who can’t afford to pay us the money and doesn’t need the international exposure.”