BKT to stay in French soccer with Ligue 2 title sponsorship
BKT, the Indian tyre manufacturer, was today unveiled as the next title sponsor of French soccer's second-tier Ligue 2, maintaining its ties with the LFP, the domestic league, which had been due to end with the scrapping of the Coupe de la Ligue, the league cup competition.
BKT will put its name to Ligue 2 from 2020-21 to 2023-24, succeeding Domino’s, the pizza delivery chain, which had been title sponsor since 2016-17, paying around €1.4 million ($1.56 million) per season.
The LFP said that "following the termination of the Coupe de la Ligue", BKT "wanted to continue its association with French professional football by becoming the title partner of another emblematic competition."
BKT only became the title sponsor of the Coupe de la Ligue ahead of the 2018-19 season, signing a six-year deal with the LFP worth €3 million per season.
However, last September clubs voted to scrap the competition from next season as there was no domestic broadcast agreement in place.
Pay-TV's Canal Plus currently shows the Coupe de la Ligue, while public broadcaster France Télévisions offers the top match of each round, from the round of 32 onwards. Those deals, which expire after this season, are worth a total of €23.9 million per year.
Neither showed strong interest in the tender launched in November 2018, with France Télévisions still looking to sell on rights to the competition and the Coupe de France in a cost-cutting exercise.Didier Quillot, LFP chief executive, said today: “We are very pleased to continue our partnership with BKT. It is also a new major sign of the growing attractiveness of French professional football, which sees a large Indian company renewing its confidence in the LFP to build its notoriety with the French public. This agreement will also be an opportunity for the LFP to strengthen its ties in this strategic territory."
Lucia Salmaso, chief executive of BKT Europe, which is also title sponsor of Serie B, Italy's second-tier, and a global partner of Spain's elite LaLiga, added: "We are already title sponsors of the second Italian football championship, which is played in cities where agriculture - our primary market as manufacturer of off-highway tires and especially for agricultural vehicles - is among the most developed sectors. From next season we will do the same also in France, getting closer and closer to our users, the farmers, and not only on the agricultural field, but also on the pitch, sharing with them the passion for football and sport."
Ligue 1 will also have a new title sponsor from 2020-21 in the shape of Uber Eats, the food ordering and delivery app, which is replacing Conforama, the chain of French furniture stores.
That agreement was signed ahead of the 2019-20 season, in which it is an official partner of Ligue 1.