The Guardian has today reported that the FA Cup is on the verge of attracting a major new sponsor, which would result in the competition becoming rebranded.
Global airline Emirates are thought to be keen to sponsor the cup tournament in a deal worth a total of £30 million over three years.
The £10 million-per-year revenue would exceed the previous £9m annual deal with Budweiser, but is likely to see the competition rebranded as the Emirates FA Cup.
The reputable newspaper claims that members of the FA have travelled to Dubai to conclude the deal with the airline, which has a stadium and shirt deal with Premier League side Arsenal.
Interestingly, a host of secondary sponsorship deals could well be agreed in the fallout of the new rebranding.
Having a company as reputable as Emirates as a sponsor will be a boost for the FA and the tournament – especially given that it had no sponsor this season.
As the FA looks for a total of six sponsors to commit to the competition, the news seems positive for two main reasons.
Firstly, if the FA invests the recuperated funds into grass-roots football it can only be good for the English national game.
The figures mentioned exceed previous deals and would allow the governing body to further the development of young players across the nation.
Secondly, with the FA Cup’s popularity and appeal dipping over recent years due to the rise in prominence of the Champions League and Premier League, the investment could well help market the competition to the next generation of young fans.
Youngsters may well have been captivated by Europe’s top tournament and will be unaware of the glorious history of the FA Cup, with the governing body responsible for making the competition appealing both on and off the pitch.
With television deals with both the BBC and BT Sport for the next couple of seasons also, the FA Cup seems poised for a renaissance of some degree.
Defending holders Arsenal can make it consecutive triumphs this season, as they face Aston Villa in the competition final next month.