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Bolton Wanderers will play in the SkyBet Championship as Football League makes new sponsors official

Michael Steele

When we last checked in on the state of the Football League's naming rights back in April, there was no clear resolution in sight. npower's naming deal ran out this summer after three years at the front of the Football League. Over the course of those three years, npower paid a total of £21 million out to the Football League and the 72 clubs encompassed within. For the sake of comparison, the Premier League receives £27 million from Barclays every year.

With npower's deal running out, it seemed like the Football League were scrambling to find new suitors with reports naming the likes of Dominos Pizza and B&Q as the leading candidates. Reports had been adamant that negotiations had gone far with B&Q (the equivalent of Home Depot or Lowe's) for the sponsorship. A report from the Daily Mail emerged, saying that those talks had fallen through. Per the Mail, B&Q had "suddenly pulled out of negotiations" after having been expected to ink a three-year sponsorship deal. Again, according to the Mail, that deal was worth £21 million over the course of three seasons.

The Football League's new sponsors, SkyBet, are now official. The five year deal will run to 2018 and will of course mean new logos on shirt sleeves and printed numbers. The new name kicks in with the season opener on the 3rd of August.

Richard Flint, MD of SkyBet, spoke in an official press release:

"This is a ground-breaking partnership for Sky Bet. We know that having a bet on the match can make it even more exciting. In the past fans would go into a betting shop on the way to the ground, but with our industry-leading mobile apps and website they can place their bets quickly and conveniently whether going to the match or watching it on Sky at home.

"Sponsorship of The Football League helps us engage with millions of football fans spanning all 72 league clubs. It was important for us that we are able to demonstrate our commitment to all Football League clubs and fans nationwide. The strength of our technology supported by a trusted brand that is part of the fabric of football means we're ideally placed to add to the match-day experience of fans."

At least you can still "enjoy" the official pizza of the Football League.