Rangers commercial chief James Bisgrove addresses Ibrox sponsorship deals and Castore kit contract

·3-min read
Tom Beahon (L) and Phil Beahon (R) with James Bisgrove
Tom Beahon (L) and Phil Beahon (R) with James Bisgrove

JAMES BISGROVE has revealed Rangers could look to strike another sponsorship deal for Auchenhowie as he confirmed potential naming rights opportunities at New Edmiston House.

The champions rebranded their training base on the outskirts of Milngavie four years ago as part of a deal with then kit manufacturers Hummel.

The agreement was short-lived, however, as the club became embroiled in further legal disputes regarding their merchandise arrangements and a long-term contract was signed with Castore last summer.

That deal will tie in with the building of a store within New Edmiston House as Rangers prepare to open their multi-million pound museum and events venue later in their 150th year.

Bisgrove has overseen a rise in revenues during his time at Ibrox and - speaking in an interview with Four Lads Had A Dream - the commercial director has refused to rule out the possibility of a move that could see Ibrox renamed.

"In short, yes," Bisgrove said when asked about the possibility of bigger and more profitable deals and potential stadium sponsorship in the future. "I’ve outlined previously that we won’t stop moving the club forward, and we have several significant commercial deals in the pipeline that will be announced during the course of this year.

"We also want to be innovative and progressive in our approach and, where it makes sense, will look beyond traditional sponsorship deals to grow our revenues and meet some of our broader objectives. We feel this is critical to our commercial success, especially given the SPFL market context in which we operate.

"This is why we’ve agreed the Harry Styles concert, opened a Soccer Academy in Abu Dhabi, bought the broadcast rights in India, whilst investing in RangersTV and are building new Edmiston House – to name a few examples.

"In terms of naming rights, I think this can take different forms and we might be prepared look at opportunities around The Training Centre and New Edmiston House.

"I think we should keep an open mind and for the right brand and right investment level, it’s something I would be prepared to take to the club’s board for consideration but only if its right for Rangers."

Rangers banked around £4million from the first season of their Castore partnership and fans would dig deep during a historic campaign that saw Steven Gerrard's side clinch a 55th league title.

The Liverpool-based firm - who signed a five-year deal with Rangers - have previously spoken of reaching up to £8million per annum but there is discontent amongst some supporters over issues with official merchandise.

Bisgrove said: "We all know the history of the kit and retail situation and I spoke at the AGM with great positivity about the Castore partnership and outlined how the deal has transformed our kit and retail operations, in a short space of time.

"The backing we receive from Castore, whose business is going from strength to strength, has been phenomenal. I speak with and meet the founders regularly and the relationship incredibly strong.

"The first year of the partnership had some fantastic highs but also threw up some challenges; Rangers Stores were closed more than they were allowed to open!

"The revenues generated, both through the partnership fee and sales royalties, have returned this commercial revenue stream to the level a club of Rangers stature should expect and are higher than the figure you referred to.

"I’m aware of the figures referred to by Castore, and we absolutely share these aspirations.

"As with any commercial partnership in football, when the time is right, I’d like to think we would sit around the table with Castore and discuss the prospect of a renewed deal, with the backdrop of a huge amount of shared success.

"Equally, if and when Rangers go back to the market, we will look completely different compared to 2020, given the history, and I would expect Rangers kit and retail rights to be in high demand."

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