British Athletics loses key sponsor as Sainsbury's pulls out, by Ben Bloom for the Telegraph (UK)

Part of the confusion with our sport is that efforts such as running a sub four minute mile, or hurdling high hurdles can look effortless. There are many years of work and focus that go into such performances. 

So it is with sports marketing. In Great Britain, FastTrack, under the careful encouragement of Alan Pascoe, in fact, saved UK Athletics (now British Athletics) from disappearing into bankruptcy. With a team that included Alan Pascoe, Jon Ridgeon and Ian Stewart, Fast Track developed a portfolio of clients for British Athletics that made the federation the envy of federations across the globe. 

Fast Track's 55 million pounds sterling deal for British Athletics was, with AVIVA, at the time of the deal, one of the largest deals done in the sport. 

However, good deeds do not always get rewarded. British Athletics cut their ties with FastTrack in 2012. It seems that management thought that they could get the same marketing deals and pocket the fees. Problem is, just as not everyone can run a 13.30 110 meter hurdles, not everyone can sell 55 million pound Sterling marketing packages. 

But British Athletics' Neils de Vos, perhaps, thought he could do better. After the loss of AVIVA, British Athletics has had mixed results in the marketing department. They lost BBC coverage of events (seven to four), and now, Sainsbury's. 
British Athletics has lost a key sponsor in Sainsburys, who has pulled out two years early. That is not a good sign. Perhaps Neils de Vos needs to reconsider his plan of the care and development of marketing partners. 

British Athletics loses key sponsor as Sainsbury's pulls out

Sainsbury's has decided to exercise break clause at the halfway point of contract and withdraw its support less than a year out from the Rio Olympics

British Athletics loses key sponsor as Sainsbury's pulls the plug
Live well for less? Sainsbury's will no longer be sponsoring British Athletics to the tune of around £5 million per year Photo: PA

British Athletics is facing the prospect of hunting around for a new chief sponsor amid a background of global doping scandals in the sport after Sainsbury's decided to end its partnership two years before its contract was due to run out.

The supermarket was announced as British Athletics' major events partner with much fanfare in 2013, agreeing to put its name to the biggest domestic meetings for a fee thought to be around £5 million per year. That deal was supposed to last until 2017, but the contract included a break clause at the halfway point, which Sainsbury's has decided to exercise and withdraw its support less than a year out from the Rio Olympics.

While Sainsbury's insist the decision has been made as part of a "strategic review" and has nothing to do with recent negative stories associated with the sport, the decision leaves British Athletics with the prospect of attempting to find a new sponsor after a summer of doping stories.

Sainbury's insists withdrawal has nothing to do with recent accusations
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