A local radio station, fertiliser, beer... and now an online casino: Evolution of Ipswich Town shirt sponsors
Magical Vegas has been unveiled as Ipswich Town’s new shirt sponsor. We take a look at what went before.
Pioneer Corporation – electronics – 1981-85
Ipswich Town’s UEFA Cup success in 1981 was the final year in which the Blues did not have a shirt sponsor on their famous strip.
The 1981/82 campaign saw the club sponsored by Pioneer, an electronics company, which at one stage sponsored the club’s West Stand which is now known as the East of England Co-op Stand.
The business’s logo remained on the Town shirts until 1985, encompassing seasons when the club continued to compete in Europe and finished second in the league in 1982 but never managed to recapture past glories.
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Radio Orwell – local radio station – 1985-86
A one-season wonder. Radio Orwell took over as Town sponsor in 1985 and took its place on the red band stretching across the front of the club’s shirts.
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The radio station started as an independent one, broadcasting across the Ipswich and East Suffolk area from the Electric House studios in the town. It has been taken over on numerous occasions, becoming SGR and then by the group which owns Heart and Capital FM. Sadly, the one season of their sponsorship ended in relegation.
Fisons – horticultural chemicals – 1986-1995
A perfect marriage. During Fisons’ time as Ipswich Town sponsors, the Blues were promoted back to the top flight as second division champions in 1992 and took their place for the first season of Premier League football.
The iconic white collar and red laces shirt of 1992-94 has certainly gone down in history as one of Town’s best, although the final season of the Fisons partnership ended with relegation in 1995.
Greene King – brewery – 1995-2001
Another – and perhaps the last – iconic Ipswich Town sponsor came when Greene King took over following relegation to the First Division in 1995.
The Bury St Edmunds brewary’s first appearance came on the ‘dripping paint’ home shirt during the club’s first season back in the second tier and continued through to the shirt worn at Wembley when the Blues won promotion back to the Premier League.
Along the way, their Abbott Ale brand also appeared on a cream and black away shirt worn in 1996. Greene King gained real exposure when Ipswich finished fifth in the Premier League in 2000/01 in what proved to be the final year of the partnership.
TXU Energi – energy supplier – 2001-03
Greene King’s departure saw TXU Energi take over for Town’s second season in the Premier League, in a deal worth a reported £4million over the course of three seasons.
Sadly, the partnership saw Ipswich relegated from the Premier League and latterly enter administration, although the Blues did have the company’s logo emblazoned on their chests as they played Inter Milan home and away in the UEFA Cup in 2001.
Powergen – energy company – 2003-06
When TXU was sold to Powergen in 2002, the British-based company inherited and continued their sponsorship of Ipswich Town.
The Blues made the play-offs twice during this period, losing to West Ham on both occasions, before the final season of Joe Royle’s time in charge also brought about a change in sponsor.
E.on – energy company – 2006-08
Another sale and another company to inherit the sponsorship of Ipswich Town, E.on bought Powergen in 2002 and eventually absorbed the company and rebranded completely.
The sponsorship took in Jim Magilton’s first two seasons in charge, in which the Blues finished 14th and eighth in the Championship.
Marcus Evans – various - 2008-present
The takeover of the club by Marcus Evans in late 2007 saw a flurry of new signings and the logo of the Marcus Evans Group appear on club shirts at the start of the 2008-09 season.
The Evans group describes itself as a ‘global, multifaceted media, corporate marketing and information company’, with the logo appearing on Town’s home and away shirts, as well as throughout Portman Road, for a decade.
It will remain on the home jersey for the rest of this season.
Magical Vegas – gambling – 2018
Town announced their new sponsorship deal, worth nearly £2million over three years, with the sponsorship taking effect on the club’s away shirts immediately.
Managing director Ian Milne revealed other parties had been interested in sponsoring the shirts, but that the club is excited by the partnership with the online casino.
Asked if the club, who cannot put the logo on their children’s shirts due to FA guidelines, had considered the moral or ethical implication of linking up with a gambling firm, Milne replied: “Of course there were discussions about us being a community club and what have you, but betting is legal.
“Betting has to be done responsibly and it’s for adults only, that’s very important to stress. And I don’t think the logo is overly ‘gambling’.”