Southampton’s shirt sponsors LD Sports could pull out of their three-year deal with the club two years early, according to reports.
Via the Daily Mail, the fact that Chinese companies are growing wary of political tensions between the UK and China, whilst also contending with financial problems produced by the Coronavirus, could prove problematic.
Saints’ agreement with LD Sports was said to be the biggest sponsorship deal in the club’s history and valued at around £7.5m per season – £22.5m in all across three years.
If this report is to be proven true, a new sponsor will need to be found to ensure that as little income is lost as possible in an already testing time for the club.
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Saints do still remain in a separate sponsorship deal with Virgin Media who were the last shirt sponsors before LD Sports and they would still retain this vital finance.
If a change were to be made, it would only throw the relationship between the club’s majority shareholder Gao Jisheng and the fans into more confusion.
Gao is involved with LD Sports but has not been an active owner at all. He has visited the club just a handful of times and has only given one interview to the English press in which he said the Saints as a club were “not a pig to be fattened”.
His vision for the club remains unclear and it appears that he will not be investing much of his own money.
Ultimately, Saints fans will not care who is in charge at the very top if Ralph Hasenhuttl is able to build a strong team and compete in the upper reaches of the Premier League. It would certainly be nice to hear more from Gao though.
We must await official word about the future of LD Sports’ relationship with Saints but the current situation may well throw the agreement into some sort of doubt.