Premiership name set to change with £57m Barclays deal

LONDON - The UK's biggest sporting property will get a new name next year when the title sponsorship of the English Premier League switches from Barclaycard to its owner, Barclays, in a £57m deal.

An announcement will be made later this afternoon at which the chief executive of the Premier League, Richard Scudamore, will unveil Barclays as the competition's new backer from next season.

The deal will cost Barclays £19m a year. Running until the end of the 2006-07 season, it will allow the Barclays group to use the Premier League across a much broader range of brand marketing activity.

Bucking the trend of a sponsorship market that has seen the value of many sporting properties plunge during the economic downturn, the Premier League sponsorship remains highly sought-after because of English football's worldwide popularity. The current three-year deal, which was signed after the previous sponsor Carling ended its association in 2001, is worth around £16m a year.

The launch of the Barclays sponsorship will coincide with the advent of the Premier League's new £1bn TV rights deal, which is under scrutiny from the European Commission after BSkyB won the right to show an unprecedented number of live matches.

It will also reunite the Barclays brand with the top tier of English football after more than 10 years. Barclays was the title sponsor of the Football League for four seasons before the Premier League was founded in 1992.

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