Plymouth Argyle have several choices in decision over new main club sponsor

Club owner Simon Hallett has ruled out Plymouth Argyle having a betting company as their next shirt sponsor and principal partner.

Hallett confirmed they had ‘several choices’ open to them and ‘some quite interesting ideas that need to be discussed’ while the Argyle brand – and reputation – within the south-west is probably as high as it has ever been.

There has been a prevalence across football over recent years for betting companies to become club shirt sponsors.

Read more: Argyle season ticket price increase explained by club owner Simon Hallett

That is not for Argyle, though, with Hallett stating it did not fit in with their vision and values ​​as an ambitious club with the local community and fans at its core.

Argyle are seeking a ‘principal partner and front of shirt sponsor’ to replace Ginsters, the Cornish pasty and snack food company.

Hallett told Plymouth Live: “We have got several choices, some of which would be long-term solutions and some of which would be short-term opportunities. So we are just looking at them now.

“We have got some quite interesting ideas that need to be discussed but the brand, if I can use that ghastly word, has probably never been as strong so we can be pickier.”

Ginsters have had two spells as Argyle’s shirt sponsors and Hallett described the Callington-based company as ‘great partners’.

He said: “I have kind of got used to Ginsters on the shirts. I like it. Emotionally, as the owner of most of this club, I like being sponsored by a pie company – sorry, a purveyor of high quality hand held snacks !

“I think we can be more demanding in terms of the net (revenue) that we make from our front of shirt sponsor, and in the greater context of the club now it’s much less important so we can be pickier.

“Some of the ideas we have got are quite imaginative and probably won’t make us much money but would be a good thing.

“I think generally we are getting more interest in being associated with Argyle. There is still work to be done, it’s football and people are obviously a bit wary about football.

“It’s not good for getting sponsors when fans misbehave, but I think our standing in the area is as strong as it has been since I have been involved anyway.”

Shirt sponsorship deals have always been seen as key sources of income for football clubs, but with Argyle in good financial shape under the stewardship of Hallett and other income streams increasing that has not been the case so much.

Hallett said: “Financially it’s not such a big deal, as a percentage of our overall revenue it’s lower. I would like it to be higher!

Argyle chairman Simon Hallett before the League One game against Sunderland at Home Park on Monday, April 18, 2022 – Photo: Dave Rowntree / PPAUK

It’s very football but in the past a lot of sponsorship was associated with giving tickets away. So the net out of sponsorship in general is often a rather murky barter trade whereby you get one thing and you give stuff up.

“Now, giving up tickets when the ground is half full has zero marginal cost so you don’t mind doing that.

“When the ground is at full capacity every ticket you give away costs you what you could have sold it for so we have to be much more demanding about what our sponsors get, as well as about what they are prepared to pay.

“So we are looking to increase the net from sponsorship because we are at full capacity.”

Hallett gave an emphatic answer when asked whether it was possible a betting company would become the club’s new main sponsor.

“It will not be the case at Argyle,” he replied. “We have been very clear that we want sponsors whose activities are aligned with our values.

“Having said that, Argyle benefits from betting via monies that we get from the sponsorship of the English Football League (Sky Bet) so it’s a difficult one.

“I don’t bet myself but I realize it’s a legal activity and pretty heavily regulated. I’m not being critical of those who decide they do want betting companies on the front of shirts but we don’t want it at Argyle.”

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The United States-based businessman admitted the club had ‘a bias in favor of local or regional sponsors.’

Hallett said: “Our club vision says that we want to be supported or respected by everyone in the south west and many beyond.

“The national attention that we have had in the last couple of years does open the door to some national sponsors but our preference would be local – by local I mean Devon and Cornwall.

“We do tend to favor local suppliers. We love having St Austell Brewery as both a sponsor and a supplier.

“They competed to be our suppliers against global beer brands and they ended up winning – partly financial, but partly I love it that they are local.”

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